Thursday, May 25, 2006

This Mindset Really Disturbs Me

So as I was making my run through the blogs today, I was reading a few postings over This is a well run site by a couple of active duty officers who deal with military issues with some politics thrown in when the situation gets that way.

Most days, I think they make some good points. However, today, in one of their posts, I think that they went a bit off their rails. What the writer wrote is this,

Beautiful. The War on Terror isn't gay marriage or stem cell research or abortion. It isn't a topic that should be debated during high school forensics matches. We have a category here at Op For called "One Team, One Fight." Charlie and I are constantly searching for examples of one America, one war, one fight. It's how things should be, but aren't. There shouldn't even be a need for a category that recognizes something Americans should be doing in the first place.

Not taking into account what your position on the war is, this is a scary statement. We live in a democratic republic. As citizens, members of this society, we have a responsibility to question, debate, and argue over the course of our country. It does not matter where you come down on the issues, its part of being a citizen to participate in the discourse. Otherwise, we cease to be the country which we are.

Americans have fought amongst themselves over every major decision this country has had, even before this country existed. There is not one war that this country has entered where there was not an opposition to it. Were people wrong to oppose some of the wars? Depends on your view now and then. Did it make them wrong to do so? As long as it was in their interests as a citizen, then no they were not.

Are all forms of this discourse proper? Personally, I think not. I am outraged at the acts of some groups, most notably the one that protests at the funerals of soldiers who have died in combat. However, at the same time, I am uncomfortable with legislating restrictions on people's right to protest.

Countries where discourse was discouraged invariably will fall. Going back to ancient times, the Persian/Achamaenid Empire was continually stymied by the quarrelsom Greeks. The colonists in the 1776 quarreled continually amongst themselves, but eventually persuaded enough of their fellows colonists of their position and created the present system we have inherited today. Germany and Japan in the 1930's discouraged discourse. Neither of those political systems survived long after that.

Am I equating the present administration to either of those regimes? No. What I'm saying is this: we must argue over all of these issues. At our core, this country moves forward by getting the agreement of its people, not the obedience. So the authors of OpFor, I say, there needs to be that category.

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