An Email Exchange
The other day, I had the following email exchange with a friend. To preserve their anonymity, I will call this person, "Jennifer". Jennifer is a self-described Christian Conservative, presumably Republican, and apparently, pro-war. The exchange began with a chain email forwarded to me about "supporting the troops". The chain email, and the ensuing exchange is below.
Jennifer: Regardless of whether you agree in principle if our men and women in the Service should be stationed in the Middle East, they are. They are stationed there as they believe their personal sacrifice ensures the freedoms that we as a society have become accustomed. Several of my brother's friends and acquaintences are stationed in the Middle East and later this year, he will find himself there as well.
So I am forwarding this email from a solider...
i know this doesn't apply to all but if u feel guilty when reading this, don't be. just think before u start complaining about how hot it is in the states or how bad your job sucks or whatever to any soldier fighting for your freedom. no matter how bad u think u have it, though some may have it bad, i guarantee those of us are sucking pretty bad here and we can't just quit... not til the missions over. like i said, this is not to gain sympathy, only to make some think.
You stay up for 16 hours
He stays up for days on end. ____________________________________________________
You take a warm shower to help you wake up.
He goes days or weeks without running water. ____________________________________________________
You complain of a "headache", and call in sick.
He gets shot at as others are hit, and keeps moving forward. ____________________________________________________
You put on your anti war/don't support the troops shirt, and go meet up with your friends.
He still fights for your right to wear that shirt. ____________________________________________________
You make sure you're cell phone is in your pocket.
He clutches the cross hanging on his chain next to his dog tags. ____________________________________________________
You talk trash about your "buddies" that aren't with you.
He knows he may not see some of his buddies again. ____________________________________________________
You walk down the beach, staring at all the pretty girls.
He patrols the streets, searching for insurgents and terrorists. ____________________________________________________
You complain about how hot it is.
He wears his heavy gear, not daring to take off his helmet to wipe his brow. ____________________________________________________
You go out to lunch, and complain because the restaurant got your order wrong.
He doesn't get to eat today. ____________________________________________________
Your maid makes your bed and washes your clothes.
He wears the same things for weeks, but makes sure his weapons are clean. ____________________________________________________
You go to the mall and get your hair redone.
He doesn't have time to brush his teeth today. ____________________________________________________
You're angry because your class ran 5 minutes over.
He's told he will be held over an extra 2 months. ___________________________________________________
You call your girlfriend and set a date for tonight.
He waits for the mail to see if there is a letter from home. ____________________________________________________
You hug and kiss your girlfriend, like you do everyday.
He holds his letter close and smells his love's perfume. ____________________________________________________
You roll your eyes as a baby cries.
He gets a letter with pictures of his new child, and wonders if they'll ever meet. ____________________________________________________
You criticize your government, and say that war never solves anything.
He sees the innocent tortured and killed by their own people and remembers why he is fighting. ____________________________________________________
You hear the jokes about the war, and make fun of men like him.
He hears the gunfire, bombs and screams of the wounded. ____________________________________________________
You see only what the media wants you to see.
He sees the broken bodies lying around him. ____________________________________________________
You are asked to go to the store by your parents. You don't.
He does exactly what he is told even if it puts his life in danger. ____________________________________________________
You stay at home and watch TV.
He takes whatever time he is given to call, write home, sleep, and eat. ____________________________________________________
You crawl into your soft bed, with down pillows, and get comfortable.
He tries to sleep but gets woken by mortars and helicopters all night long.
Libertarian Jason: The funny thing.. objective reality and truth exists, whether we recognize it for what it is or not. Just because they _think_ they are fighting for my freedoms, doesn't actually mean they are. I'd prefer to honor people who actually - in reality - are fighting to protect my liberty. Bottom line: George W. Bush and Hillary Clinton are bigger threats to my liberty than Osama bin Laden is. Oh well.. agree to disagree.
Jennifer: Although making the statement that "objective reality and truth exists" implies that only your view of "objective reality and truth" would be the correct vein of thought with regard to what truth is. Which would seem a rather dogmatic way to view "truth".
Seems the adage of there are multiple viewpoints to all situations and somewhere in the midst of the viewpoints truth exists...not wholly in one line of thinking might be correct.
I doubt that those who perished in 9-11 would agree that George W. Bush or Hilary Clinton are bigger threats to their liberty than Bin Laden.
Again, whether one agrees with where those in the military are stationed (and they did not have a role in choosing their assignments), many (not all or even most) of them have chosen this route in life for the altriustic reason of serving their country and protecting its "liberties". That being said, they are certainly not the only individuals fighting for "liberties". There are many in society that each and every day choose to take an unpopular stance to ensure that many of the rights we should each be entitled to as "humans" are upheld...better working conditions, health care for all, the right to a decent education.
LJ: I may have implied that "only" my view is correct, but what I _actually_ said was that the view that soldiers are fighting to protect our freedoms is completely false. It is not supported by any evidence - empirical, logical, historical, or otherwise.
Furthermore, to insist that the existence of truth is somehow affected by the number of viewpoints attempting to unravel it, is flawed reasoning. While multiple viewpoints about what is proposed to be true may exist, the value of each viewpoint can only be measured by its approximation to what is indeed true. For example, I could say the sky is blue, and you could say its green. The fact that we have differing opinions on the sky's color is completely and totally irrelevant to the truth of the matter...which is that the sky is blue. The opinion that the sky is green is false, no matter how desperately we want to cling to the comforts that idea may bring us. But, if you assert that truth lies somewhere in between "the sky is blue", and "the sky is green"...then what you are saying is that the sky is not blue, but rather a blue-green color, and, taken to its logical end... the truth of the sky's color is dependent upon, and can be changed by, what particular idea we happen to hold on any given day. At its core.. this is a denial that objective reality and truth exist at all, and is merely a subjective and relative concept.
Also.. I think you are confusing "liberty" with "security" (or "safety") regarding those who perished in 9-11. But even here, you are completey off the mark on a number of fronts. For example, those who died on 9-11 did not have their natural rights to self-defense taken away from them by Osama bin Laden. No.. the passengers on those planes were barred - by laws passed by Bush, Clinton, and co (lets refer to them as B-C Corp) - from being allowed to carry whatever sort of weapons they felt necessary to secure their own safety. Further more, the FedGov and the FAA even prohibits the airlines - the very companies who have the greatest stake in airline safety - from setting their own rules and requirements for security. So... B-C Corp strips Americans of their liberties, jeopardizing their security...and yet, we say that B-C Corp, by ordering our troops into battle, is doing so to protect our liberty? Isn't that a contradiction?
I'm not making an issue out of the actual location of where our military is stationed...(although, to be sure, anywhere not on actual U.S soil, is completely and totally illegitimate, unconstitutional, and frankly, immoral, IMHO)... I am taking issue with the propaganda that says that our military is "fighting to protect our liberties", when its not even remotely true..as everyday, our liberty - AND our security - is being stripped from us by politicians who no longer feel constrained by the limits of the constitution. Those people who joined the military with the naive assumption that they were "serving our country" are sadly, sadly mistaken.
Are you sure this topic wouldn't be much more lively over a cup of coffee? :)
At that point, the conversation veered off course to more mundane matters. Apparently, my State-Worshipping friend could not - or would not - rebutt the arguments being made, and opted to deflect the conversation. It is ironic to note that this Conservative embraces the concept of positive righgts.. that people have a right to certain things, and its the government's job to point a gun at other people and force them to give up their property in order to provide others with these so-called "rights".