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Soldiers not dying for freedom

Dear Editor:

While many families of fallen soldiers cling to the notion that their loved ones died for a noble cause, Cindy Sheehan’s courageous refusal to accept that rationale shows some are willing to admit our soldiers are tragic victims of an administration that abused government power for personal gain. By demanding that President Bush explain exactly what her son died for, Cindy Sheehan has exposed his worst lie yet; that our soldiers are dying for our freedom.

Americans throw that word “freedom” around quite loosely, without even realizing what it means. Our freedom can never be threatened by terrorists or other nations. Not a single soldier has died for American freedom since the Revolutionary War. American freedom, fought for by those early patriots and guaranteed by our Constitution, is the freedom from control and interference by our own government, and is threatened more by the Patriot Act than any foreign entity.

U.S. military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq have done nothing to protect American lives or freedom. The majority of troops in both places are being used to guard and escort private U.S. contractors, whose job is to set up corporate operations that will benefit neither the Iraqi, Afghan or American public. If you want to know who will benefit, follow the money. It leads straight to the White House.

If you need more proof that our soldiers are not dying for our freedom, just look at current recruitment practices. Recruiters no longer urge young Americans to join the military “to protect our freedom,” instead they lure them with money and benefits. This assures that the majority of those who die are not patriotic heroes, they are poor, desperate victims of corrupt U.S. policies. But if potential recruits were told the truth ” that they would be trained to kill people in countries that have never threatened or harmed us so that rich people in this country could become wealthier ” even the poor and desperate would think twice.

The U.S. military was created to protect us in the event of attack or invasion. Regardless of whether they joined for benefits or duty, we dishonor our military men and women by condoning their use as mercenaries for corporate interests and perpetuating the lie that they died for our freedom.

As painful as it is, we must honor their deaths with the truth, and demand an end to the slaughter for profit in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Sue Gray

Carbondale


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