Friday Firesmith – On War and Freedom

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If you did this as the first step towards the unleashing of war, well then, it is evident that nothing else is left to us but to accept this challenge of yours. If, however, you have not lost your self–control and sensibly conceive what this might lead to, then, Mr. President, we and you ought not now to pull on the ends of the rope in which you have tied the knot of war, because the more the two of us pull, the tighter that knot will be tied. And a moment may come when that knot will be tied so tight that even he who tied it will not have the strength to untie it, and then it will be necessary to cut that knot, and what that would mean is not for me to explain to you, because you yourself understand perfectly of what terrible forces our countries dispose.

I have participated in two wars and know that war ends when it has rolled through cities and villages, everywhere sowing death and destruction.

Message From Chairman Khrushchev to President Kennedy

Back before the war in Iraq started I was accused to treason by many people for my opposition to that conflict. I am, first and foremost, a student of history when it comes to war, and I know that war isn’t like cutting off a dead limb, or removing a rotten plank from a house. War is something that lives and breathes, and it becomes something no one thought it would, and it goes where we do not suspect it will, and it kills without regard. The consequences of war are always greater, much greater, than anyone suspected in the beginning.

Had England realized the Colonies would be free, and had the Colonists continued diplomatic methods, two wars might had never been fought, but neither side knew how long and how bloody that war would become. France bankrupted herself helping finance the war, which led to the revolution in that country, which led to a lot of bloodshed.

In hindsight, we now see that the War Of Northern Aggression would become a nightmare for this country and the Confederacy. It was like many wars as it should have never be fought. The people of The South were deceived by the dream of Southern Nationalism, and there are some today that still buy into that illusion, and a war long, and rightfully, lost.

The Spanish-American War was all about expansion, and getting other countries away from our borders but it left Cuba as a vassal state to us, a position that it would not accept forever. That war would haunt us much later in history as most do.

The first World War was one everyone could have sat out, but no one did, and it set the table for a conflict that no one saw coming. When Hitler rose up from the ruins everyone assumed he was not the threat he appeared to be. Japan was running wild in Asia, but the British were

there to hold them back. No one, no one on earth foresaw what was going to happen, and how it would end. Some of the most brutal fighting in the history of our species took place in that war. Stalingrad: where there was no retreat from either side and squads of men fought each other to death in building with their bare hands until one side or the other was dead. Iwo Jima: where thirty thousand Japanese soldier were killed and only a thousand surrendered in what is likely some of the most brutal no quarter fighting since the first gunshot was fired. And in the end, we were rescued from more hell by the atomic bomb. What does that say about the conflict? What does it say about who we, as a species are, when we can only stop fighting when total destruction is the only alternative to peace? Have we traveled far from that point? Do we know?

We tried partial war as opposed to total war, in Korea, and then in Nam. They were both disasters, and we hoped that the futility of war would finally be exposed. But time passed, and after 0-11, we had a president who sought to do something, anything, that might in some way, make up for the attack on that day. The invasion of Iraq was likely the biggest foreign policy mistake by this country ever. The invasion of Afghanistan was perhaps the most needed military move we made, but how to get out again is anyone’s guess. We cannot stay there and hope for peace, and we cannot leave until there is some resolution.

Yet we do fight wars for reasons good, bad, and terrible. This country could not exist at all in its present form without war. Freedom is not given to us by men in suits; it is taken from the forces of oppression by men in uniform. Men with guns, men who are willing to fight, kill, and die, are those responsible for how we live our daily lives. This country has not been invaded by another since 1814 not because we are a shining beacon of hope for the rest of the world to follow, but because we are well defended. We are defended by the men who fought at Bunker Hill, at New Orleans, at Vicksburg, at Chonan, at Hamburger Hill, at Fallujah and Tora Bora.

I make a good case against the application of military use yet there cannot be a state that exists without the knowledge the state, and people, are guarded by a military that is well trained, and dedicated. The dedication of our armed forces is shown in each war, in each timeline, in each conflict, no matter the cost or cause, they all go forward, each of them carrying the tradition of the past with them.

We have been failed many times by men in suits who for reason we cannot understand, have thrown our military into conflicts without clear reason. Yet out men and women in uniform have never failed us. They have never faltered. They have never stepped back in horror from a task that history teaches us is pure hell. Throughout our history, each generation has given to us Sailors, Marines, Airmen, and Soldier that put on the uniform, strapped on their weapons, and stood at ready. We have sent them into the jungles and into the deserts. We have sent them into the air and under the waters. We have sent them to places far away from their homes, their families, and at times, far from reason. We have sent them into ice and into flame. We have sent them into darkness where some of them have never returned, but will never be forgotten.

Freedom is not free. Freedom is guarded not by men in suits, but men, and women, in uniform. Each breath I have ever taken, each word I have every written, and each day I have ever awaken to see the sun as a free man, was paid for, with the blood of the American military.

Thank you,


Mike writes regularly at his site:  The Hickory Head Hermit

Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the management of this site.

4 thoughts on “Friday Firesmith – On War and Freedom”

  1. Just to add a note: American invaded Canada, sparking the War of 1812, which resulted in the aggressors being beaten bloodily back and then counter-invaded to learn them a lesson.

    A terribly large number of Americans forget that they started that one.

    • The War Of 1812 was started when the Brits started kidnapping Americans from American ships on the high seas and pressing them into service. President Madison took a bill of war to congress stating the recent bombardment of an American ship by the British, along with 19 other points, was indeed enough to declare war.

      We did indeed first the first shots in the invasion of Canada but that was not by far what sparked the war.

  2. As with most military conflicts, the means are always justified for political ends and not military ones. We haven’t had a real military leader as President since Ike. Look at where we wound up due to decisions by Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Carter, Clinton, Bush and maybe Obama.

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