As in the past, during the game we were constantly told to respect those who play in the game as well as the students at both academies. Why? That is because graduates of both academies will soon be joining each other as brothers in arms defending our nation in a time of war. Our freedoms, we are told, will be defended by the students at both academies as they put themselves into the position of making the ultimate sacrifice.
Certainly the willingness of the Cadets and Midshipmen to risk their lives should be respected. But what we should vehemently oppose is using the valor of these academy students and that of all servicemen as a moral shield for our foreign wars. That is what is being done when we are redirected from examining reasons for why the President sent our troops to war to admiring the qualities of our servicemen. We are told that the honor of our troops implies that whatever war they are fighting in is just. It is as if we had forgotten the lessons from the Vietnam War.
What were the lessons of that war? One obvious lesson was that despite the sincerity of our troops, those fighting in Vietnam were not defending our freedoms. This was proven when losing the war did not cost us any freedoms--though the human costs were horrific. The question that should be asked is whether our troops are defending our freedoms in the wars in Iraq or Afghanistan?
To defend our freedoms, we invaded Afghanistan after we played a major role in creating the monsters who attacked us. They attacked us because of U.S. policies that killed hundreds of thousands of children in Iraq and our support for a brutal occupation against the Palestinians. Before we invaded, we asked the Taliban to hand over Bin Ladin. The Taliban requested evidence that linked Bin Ladin to the 9/11 attacks. We responded with a partial proxy invasion. This invasion was partly proxy because we employed the Northern Alliance, a group of warlords, to do most of the fighting for us. And while we secured Afghanistan's capital city, these warlords used murder and terror to rule over the rest of the country. In the meantime, we have installed a President with ties to our energy companies in order to secure access to energy resources. Afghanistan's latest election was easily shown to be fraudulent. What we should note is that Afghanistan is called the "good" war.
We should also note that it was not the surge that was successful in Iraq, it was the paying off of our enemies that brought peace. In other words, we followed SOP. How long can this bought peace last? While we wait for an answer, American and British Oil companies are securing contracts to Iraqi oil fields. So who are our troops fighting for?
We could paraphrase St. Augustine as he described the importance of justice to a nation in "The City Of God." He said that without justice, a nation is nothing more than a gang. It would follow then that its battles and wars are relegated to being gang wars and battles over turf to see which gang can enrich itself with the most income and power. Is having wealth and power worth enough so that we are willing to become a gang?
Back to football and the 2009 Army-Navy game, the game and the academies are currently being used to win over our hearts and make us mindless. The fine qualities of the Midshipmen and Cadets are being used to sell and secure support for the wars. This occurs when we praise their willingness to fight and put their lives on the line. However, both the Midshipmen and the Cadets also provide examples of how automatic obedience to authority is highly praised. Their knee-jerk reaction to uncritically follow orders is neither a useful nor honorable.