So we had to give speeches in class today with the goal of informing the audience about any subject of our choosing. The girl who gave her speech before me talked about the marines, their codes of honor and ethics, and how she wanted to become one. My speech criticized the military for their lack of constraint, reckless government spending, killing of civilians and journalists, and employment of torture against their own fellow soldiers. If you're wondering which speech was better received by the class, I point to the title of this post.
Since 9/11 the military has seemingly been immune from any type of critical analysis. Any time a fact might turn out to be unpopular with the military's vast ocean of support, dissidents will face a backlash of rage lacking any type of finesse usually boiling down to idiotic slogans such as "support our troops." They will never try and refute criticism, mostly because these people don't pay enough attention to foreign affairs or the government budget to make a stand.
When people cite the numbers from the Iraq War, they will most likely bring up 4000, the number of troops that were killed. They do not mention the 66,000 deaths of Iraqi civilians though. In comparison to the soldiers, we generally tend to think of the civilians as unpeople. The Iraqi's don't count. Neither do the Afghans, the Libyans, Vietnamese, the Koreans, or the Japanese.
They will not get a massive wall with their name engraved upon it, or 21 bullets shot into the air, any decorative medals sent to their family, a welcoming parade to their homeland, a free education to any school of their choosing, free healthcare for the rest of their life, separate and faster waiting lines for their convenience, 10% off discounts at their local grocer. Let alone immunity for any war crimes they may have committed.
Every other branch of the government is free to be criticized. The White House, Supreme Court, Congress, Department of Education, Department of Health, The Peace Core, Child Protective Services, you name it. The people will agree with you full-heartedly. The second you scratch the branch of government that intimidates foreigners with lethal force though, then they will stare at you with death in their eyes.
They will often recite the motto "freedom isn't free." If it wasn't for the military, I wouldn't have the freedom to criticize them, let alone do anything. However as a friend of mine said today, underneath the last 10 years of military action, our freedoms have been greatly eroded by things like the PATRIOT act, NDAA, and now this latest H.R. 347, reffered to as the "Federal Restricted Buildings and Grounds Improvement Act of 2011" which prohibits public protests near any official with Secret Service protection. Yeah, freedom isn't free, so why isn't the military protecting them? Why are they actively trying to erode them? Why do we pay them if they do not protect our rights?