Michelle Obama's convention speech was not extraordinary in any sense, but it was well-received by most who tuned in to listen. One particular part of her oration evoked mixed feelings for me.
"The military families who say grace each night with an empty seat at the table. The servicemen and women who love this country so much, they leave those they love most to defend it."
Those servicemen and women do exactly that -- at least that is what they want to do, and what they sign up to do. The problem is that in many instances they are misused and sent to do things that have nothing to do with defending the country and families they love most.
One thing that we Americans have to do is quit saying that we are in Iraq to defend America. It has nothing to do with patriotism, and it is not unpatriotic to state the obvious truth.
A true patriot loves his country enough to say when his country is wrong. It is very much like parenting. A parent loves her child enough to correct the child when his behavior is unacceptable. The parent who cannot see beyond the veil of love and pride that he feels for his child in order to provide the proper guidance and discipline necessary for healthy development is a hindrance to that development and ends up creating an unruly, selfish, arrogant brat who will most likely be a burden and a detriment to his community.
We can't continue to pretend that wars like Vietnam and Iraq are "defending our country" or "fighting for our freedom." We can no longer say, "Our boys are fighting over there so we can have freedom of speech here."
We are not "protecting our liberties" or "ensuring our safety."
In Orwell's most famous novel, 1984, slogans and propaganda are so endemic to the totalitarian surveillance society of Oceania that the common proletariat can see the truth with their very own eyes and still believe the exact opposite of what they saw when those in control tell them what the "official" truth is. On one day, the newspapers and televisions are full of stories about the crucial war being waged against Eastasia, and the extreme importance of Oceania's alliance with Eurasia. The next morning's news is full of stories about the vital war being waged against Eurasia, and the indispensible alliance between Oceania and Eastasia. And the stories tell them that Oceania has always been at war with Eurasia.
...no written record, and no spoken word, ever made mention of any other alignment than the existing one. At this moment, for example, in 1984 (if it was 1984), Oceania was at war with Eurasia and in alliance with Eastasia. In no public or private utterance was it ever admitted that the three powers had at any time been grouped along different lines. Actually, as Winston well knew, it was only four years since Oceania had been at war with Eastasia and in alliance with Eurasia. But that was merely a piece of furtive knowledge which he happened to possess because his memory was not satisfactorily under control. Officially the change of partners had never happened. Oceania was at war with Eurasia: therefore Oceania had always been at war with Eurasia. The enemy of the moment always represented absolute evil, and it followed that any past or future agreement with him was impossible.
Does that sound familiar? The United States provided Saddam Hussein with money, chemical weapons, and small arms to fight Iran. We had always been at war with Iran. All the sudden, we had always been at war with Saddam.
WAR is PEACE
FREEDOM is SLAVERY
Remember that National Intelligence Estimate that said that Iran has had no nuclear weapons program since at least 2003? (They didn't have one then, either; they had only considered the possibility of acquiring the technology.) What happened after that NIE? All the Democrats said, "See, we told you." They threw a fit. They were justified in doing so.
IGNORANCE is STRENGTH