Thursday, March 08, 2007

Heroism - "Serving Our Country"

I'm having a lot of difficulty accepting the purported Heroism of our soldiers in Iraq and elsewhere. In saying this I'm not saying that our soldiers aren't necessarily sincere, nor questioning their feelings that may be called "patriotism" by themselves and others.

Though it is an exaggerated and not similar example, I think of a gang member who saves the life of his comrade through pulling him away from a bullet that might have killed him. Such a young man (or woman) is doing a good deed and saving the life of another.

One may argue that being in a gang isn't "patriotic" and that being in the military is. I will agree with the former statement, but disagree with the latter one.

One of the biggest problems our country has faced over many years is its irrational support of military, rather than diplomatic solutions to problems it sees. If Iraq (or for some Vietnam and Iraq) were the only "mistakes" and if "mistakes" weren't Simply because: "we didn't win", but rather because the cause was wrong, then I might see things differently.

The United States Government does do some good around the world. We also have a history of invading and otherwise controling the economic interests of others through the world where we have economic interests. For a long time this meant The Americas as we dominated in many smaller countries. Increasingly things like oil and other valuable resources become more and more important in other parts of the world.

I don't see the legitimacy of the current government in Iraq. It serves at the pleasure of the U.S. I don't see how we are "doing good" in our entire operation in Iraq. Certainly some good things are done for the people, however at least as many bad things are also done. I don't see how we can know who should legimately rule this country. Unfortunately we've created such a mess that the Iraqis may go through a lot more pain until they figure out how to run their own country, assuming that we even let them do that at some point in time.

We have a clear responsibility to do our best to make peace in Palestine - The West Bank and Gaza. The U.S. has interfered with peace efforts that the Israelis have made and helped make peace much more elusive. We could help end the losses of life and economic oppression as well as the lives of fear that both Israelis and Palestinians have today.

We aren't doing this now! The U.S. is clearly allied with the Israelis and against the Palestinians. A "neutral stance" and pressure could help both sides find peace.

I think that we have many heroes among us! Many incredible people help children, adults and elderly people be educated, be physically and mentally healthy, as well as doing many other things for others. Some famous people like like the actor Danny Glover help push for a society free of oppression.

For me a lot of the true heroes don't seek fame and often don't get it. Men like Paul Kivel of Oakland, California, commit themselves to issues of racism, sexism, and even progressive Judiasm and help all of us and our children. Far, far more women such as Alice Walker and Marion Wright Edelman have helped millions of people in the U.S. and elsewhere have better lives.

Our soldiers mean well. Far too many of them are in Iraq because they need the money from their service and because they have had a faith in the leadership of this country. I admire Ehren Watada and others who at least in part resist what they see as wrong.

Patriotism comes from building our country and the world to be a better place! I know that most soldiers want to think and some do think that they are doing this in the military.

I believe that building peace and love and caring and a world free of oppression is the true way we can serve our country and be a hero.

Thank you!

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