Open Forum: Freedom

Posted: June 18, 2013

I attended the Memorial Day service at Shenandoah Memorial Park. It was a very humbling experience.

I was reminded of all the young lives that have been sacrificed since World War II in the name of freedom — of keeping our nation from harm’s way and of all the sacrifices made in the name of peace. The theme: Freedom is not free.

Well, that’s true. Freedom is not free. But then again, couldn’t it be made a little less costly?

Since the great war, most wars (all?) have been propagated by one individual convincing his backers that a war was necessary to protect America.

Did the Korean War protect America? I really don’t know. Did the Vietnam War protect America? I think not.

My two tours saw the slaughter of young Americans and Vietnamese children on a grand scale. Fifty-eight thousand Americans, millions of Vietnamese was the final score.

Who won? Who protected whom? Did the Iraq War make America more safe? If it did, I beg to know how. Iraq was a relatively peaceful nation except for the differences with Iran until GWB (the pilot who disappeared when called to duty in Vietnam) decided to do away with the nation’s leader. Since, Iraq has been in perpetual civil war and slaughters are carried out daily — mostly of innocents.

Has the war in Afghanistan made America safer? I think on the contrary. I believe it has propelled us further into harm’s way by alienating millions of Muslims around the world. Killing is never the way to win friends, to create peace. Certain small groups are always looking for excuses to hate us, and we supply them daily with our slaughters and our drones around the world.

Since President Nixon abolished the draft, the haves have been excluded from harm’s way, and they can start wars any time and any place knowing that only the have-nots will carry the burden. Congressmen and the elite will never see their sons and daughters participating in the unnecessary wars that have been dreamed up by one or more of them. No, sir, not my son, not on your life!

If the draft were reinstated, these unnecessary wars would be abolished. The haves’ sons and daughters would be serving in the military alongside the sons and daughters of the have-nots, and you can bet the next war would only occur if America appeared to be overrun.

Our belligerent/bellicose warlords in Washington could then return to trying to manage the welfare of our nation, which is in dire need of some extremely sensible management (of which they have certainly forgotten how to do) before we all go down the drain. Did I say all? Well, of course, just the haves will never be threatened — just the have-nots need fear.

Of course, I’m dreaming. Members of Congress are so at war with each other that you’d think they were cats and dogs instead of Republicans and Democrats. I fear they will never again capture the dignity and common sense necessary to manage a nation of our abilities and resources in an amiable fashion.

Their abilities seem to be agreeing to wars and from the minute they are elected to hit the trail to get re-elected. The welfare of America and its citizens has escaped them. (Unless you’re a have).

Reinstitute the draft and the brave souls we cherish for protecting America will not be joined by brave souls who were extinguished due to the whims of those who seek wars for their own benefit.

W.P. Kerkhoff Jr. is a resident of Winchester.