But Now You Know

The search for truth in human action

How, Exactly, Are They Defending Our Freedom?

neo-con-war-shortWhen people object anything relating to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, neocons claim that they should be quiet and comply, because the criticism hurts the feelings of “the troops”, who are busy “defending our freedom” over there.

I do appreciate that the soldiers feel like they’re serving America…but defending our…freedom?

Our freedom? We Americans, here in the United States?

When I’m faced with this argument, it is hard to give a clear, coherent response for or against, because the claim makes no sense to me, whatsoever.

This is an honest question, not sarcasm:

What, exactly, does the conquest of Iraq have to do with American freedom?

Did we conquer Iraq for American freedom?

  • First, we built up momentum to attack because Hussein was supposedly involved in 9-11.

But then it became more widely understood that Hussein was one of Al Qaeda’s mortal enemies. In fact, one of the things bin Laden demanded was that Hussein, whom he referred to as a socialist infidel, be removed from power. So…

  • Second, when we actually attacked, it was supposedly because of Weapons of Mass Destruction. We knew Iraq once had WMD, because we openly sold Hussein the technology for them, in the 1980s, and claimed we thought they still had somehow kept some, despite the years of inspections.

But it turned out, after we got there, that we had known he didn’t have the WMD any more at all, so…

  • Third, we retroactively decided we were there to remove Saddam Hussein from power. He is a dictator, killed hundreds of thousands of people, imposed tyrannical laws, et cetera.
Donald Rumsfeld shaking hands with close American ally Saddam Hussein, in the 1980s

Donald Rumsfeld shaking hands with close American ally Saddam Hussein, in the 1980s, shortly after the US acknowledged Hussein had been using WMD against civilians.

Of course we supported him doing ALL of those things, including the mass murder, for decades, we even sold him WMD tech months after acknowledging that he was slaughtering innocents with it, but let’s just pretend that’s why we invaded, anyway. It sounds good.

The problem is that NONE of those things have anything to do with American freedom.

The Warfare Facts

  • First, 9-11 wasn’t an assault on American freedom. Al Qaeda was attacking in order to change our foreign policy (giving money to Islamic tyrants, occupying Saudi Arabia, killing a million people in Iraq with economic sanctions, backing Israeli war crimes).

…in fact, the only 9-11 related assault on freedom was domestic, like the PATRIOT Act.

  • Second, American freedom wasn’t going to be threatened by Hussein having mustard gas, or anthrax, or even nuclear bombs. Nobody ever seriously suggested he could conquer the US with his mighty navy of 16 wooden patrol boats and his deadly force of a few dozen short-range SCUD missiles, no matter how many WMD he loaded on them.

Liberty depends on economic freedom…whomever controls your life needs, controls you. This war has crippled the US economically, which had turned into an assault on our freedom of choice. By the way, why exactly did we sell him WMD technology in the first place?

  • Third, that’s barely even a fight for Iraqi freedom, since they’re voting as much against freedom now as anyone who knew about the region would have expected. The laws passed are on their way to becoming more repressive than under Hussein’s secular government. These include a move to make burqas mandatory, and growing bans on freedom of expression. Certainly overthrowing Hussein has nothing to do with freedom here in America.

Actual Assault on American Freedom

Because we’ve been “on war footing” for six years, BOTH parties have used the “don’t criticize the government during a war” argument, dramatically attacking American freedom of expression. We have had “free speech zones“, warrantless wire tapping, demands that we not criticize foreign policy lest the troops feel bad, secrecy regarding torture and other violations of American principles, et cetera.

Oil Prices, Real and Adjusted, from 1990 to mid 2008

Oil Prices, Real and Adjusted, from 1990 to mid 2008

We have had economic malaise caused by both the huge deficits and diversion of wealth-production the war produced, and the 700% increase in the price of oil that attacking or threatening four different oil-producing nations caused. And this resulted in a depression that Bush and Obama have used to expand government massively into our personal lives, and to loot our future to pay off failing multinational corporations, perhaps the most vicious of the attacks on our freedom.

You know, there may be a country closer to home than Iraq, where our troops should be fighting a government that is attacking American freedom…

Anyway, I definitely need someone to explain what is the “defending AMERICAN freedom” part of invading, conquering, and occupying Iraq.

Words of the Sentient:

A thing is not necessarily true because a man dies for it.

— Oscar Wilde, A Portrait of Mr. W.H.


August 16, 2009 - Posted by | International, Politics, Society | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. 1st off – Iraq was liberated – democracy cannot be imposed – in fact despotism HAS to be imposed.

    As far as the inappropriate, weak, incredibly short sighted and boring word play here about neocons, freedom and Iraq perhaps it’s best to zoom out of Iraq and consider the big pic.

    How did Tony Blair put it?


    “The universal values of the human spirit, and anywhere–anywhere, anytime ordinary people are given the chance to choose, the choice is the same: freedom, not tyranny; democracy, not dictatorship; the rule of law, not the rule of the secret police.

    “The spread of freedom is the best security for the free. It is our last line of defense and our first line of attack.

    “And just as the terrorist seeks to divide humanity in hate, so we have to unify around an idea. And that idea is liberty.

    “We must find the strength to fight for this idea and the compassion to make it universal.

    “Abraham Lincoln said, “Those that deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves.”

    “And it is this sense of justice that makes moral the love of liberty.

    “And then reflect on this: How hollow would the charges of American imperialism be when these failed countries are and are seen to be transformed from states of terror to nations of prosperity, from governments of dictatorship to examples of democracy, from sources of instability to beacons of calm?

    “And how risible would be the claims that these were wars on Muslims if the world could see these Muslim nations still Muslim, but with some hope for the future, not shackled by brutal regimes whose principal victims were the very Muslims they pretended to protect?

    “It would be the most richly observed advertisement for the values of freedom we can imagine.

    Comment by courtneyme109 | September 16, 2009 | Reply

    • Iraq was not “liberated”. Iraq had one government, that we did not like, removed…a government we helped put in power and support, for decades. A government that Bush’s dad went out of his way to KEEP in power in 1991. But we then required that the replacement government meet our criteria. They were not free to choose their own government. If they had, they would have split the country into three separate parts, and two of those three parts would have chosen less “democracy” than they had forced on them by the Bush administration.

      What they ended up with, in essence, was a puppet government imposed by America. This is why everyone agrees that it will fall when we finally pull out, which we should have done long ago.

      And no, it’s foolish and self-destructive to “zoom out of Iraq”, ignoring the very violation of principles that is the long-term cause of our international problems, especially of the terror war. It is the insane violation of other countries’ sovereignty that has support for terrorism at an all-time high. We created this problem…it’s what the CIA has long called “blowback”.

      Blair was a fraud. He headed the party supposedly against military interventionism, his entire country opposed the war, and he admitted there was no reason to be in the war at all, until Bush paid him a visit, then miraculously reversed himself. Imagine what bribes were offered under the table…well, no, don’t imagine, consider the long list of unusual new benefits “coincidentally” given to Britain by the US in the years following this strange upheaval in British foreign policy.

      The most hypocritical part of the “we’re freeing Muslims from tyranny” lie is that Bush and Blair increased their support of repressive, evil Islamic regimes the world over. Not only did the US continue to give Egypt two billion dollars per year in support, but it expanded its support to two countries both MORE tyrannical and repressive than Hussein’s Iraq; Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.

      What’s more, those two “ally” countries are the two top state sponsors of terrorism. It is not a coincidence that the 9-11 terrorists were mostly Saudi, nor that the Taliban were backed by Pakistani troops in their takeover of Afghanistan.

      If we were going to attack tyrants, freeing their people, why not invade Tibet, or Chechnya? Or, since Bush is too much a cowardly bully to attack countries so strong, why not Saudi Arabia and Pakistan? Or why not at least cut off funding from those two tyrants, plus Egypt?

      Why give billions to the most evil of the world’s tyrants, while attacking one FAR down on the list?

      Comment by kazvorpal | September 16, 2009 | Reply

      • YAWN. Must. Stay. Awake.

        “…attacking one far down the list…”

        LOLZ! Hop on the way back machine for a sec. ‘Member how Sec Gen Powell speeched to the UN about Saddam’s 18 suitcases of Ricin? Remember how Great Britain needed a 2nd Reso to go to war?

        Then – the Manchester Ricin bust occured – suddenly Great Britain couldn’t WAIT to go to war. Most likely because one of Saddam’s 18 suitcases made it Great Britain – used by al Qaeda!

        Look, feel free to rewrite history and twist things beyond repair – but defeating the largest Arab army in history in 20 days paid a bonanza – like Khadaffy freaking out and fessing up about his WMD, NIE2007 reveals Mullahopolis lost precious time on the nuke front because they feared they were next, Syria ran out of Lebanon and Kim il Jong hid in his bunker for a year.

        And blaming neocons in the very first incredibly fact free sentence of such a strawman quiz is not helping your case, risible yes – enlightening – no.

        In fact – most of your ideas should be directed against the corrupt ammoral cult of stability – realism/realpolitik – not the daemoneocons who reject moral equivilence and diss despotries any opportunity.

        Comment by courtneyme109 | September 16, 2009 | Reply

        • Defeating the largest Arab army in 20 days was the act of a bullying coward. It’s as if an MMA champion were bragging about beating the crap out of a state champion high school wrestler.

          But cowardice is something Bush does well…like his draft dodging in the Vietnam war.

          As for some magical fear we put into other weak countries because we showed ourselves willing to violently attack without provocation, note too that this is when North Korea and Iran ramped up their nuclear programs, NK even announcing they had a nuke prematurely, just to show they’re strong enough to put off the cowardly bully.

          Of course it worked, too. Cowardly Bush immediately started giving North Korea money, instead of implying we were going to attack them.

          And the neocons are the very worst of the moral relativists in US politics. They spout bold-faced lies about hating tyrants only when they’re warmongering, while actually giving more support to worse tyrants than the ones they are bullying.

          Again I point out that Saudi Arabia is far more repressive and tyrannical than Hussein was. In fact, Russia is more murderous and repressive than Hussein was…why wasn’t Bush staring lovingly into Hussein’s eyes, while attacking that mass-murdering slimebag Putin, instead of vice-versa?

          The neocons certainly loved Hussein even while the US was acknowledging he was slaughtering civilians, in the 1980s.

          And, as I already pointed out, we actually support the Pakistani military that PUT the Taliban in power in Afghanistan, and that overthrew the elected Pakistani government.

          Moral relativism is a definitive trait of the neocons…which is hardly surprising, since they’re “former” Marxists, who have retained all of the sociopathic End Justifies the Means philosophy.

          Comment by kazvorpal | September 17, 2009 | Reply

  2. […] Crosspost from But Now You Know […]

    Pingback by The Peace Freedom & Prosperity Movement » Blog Archive » How, Exactly, Are They Defending Our Freedom? | September 14, 2009 | Reply

  3. If I want to go down to the bar with my 20 year old girlfriend (a responsible adult) and order up a few beers to celebrate “freedom” should I contact the Joint Chiefs of Staff for authorization?

    Comment by Alex | September 3, 2009 | Reply

    • I’ve never seen any sane, much less arguable, defense for why people who are legally mature enough to volunteer to a multi-year contract of indentured servitude in the military are not treated as competent to decide whether to temporarily drink alcohol.

      Comment by kazvorpal | September 3, 2009 | Reply

  4. You’re right,kaz. It makes no sense why we’re there. Sadam was an evil ruler, indeed. Even without evidence, his position of power was likely to introduce us to trouble in the future. We took care of that problem. Trying to install any type of democratic system in Iraq is “haram” (blasphemous) in accordance to the dictates of Islam whether Sunni or Shiite (Although some Sunnis would disagree.) In my uneducated little mind, I also see why the government is not willing to exit Iraq for fear of certain corruption regaining power. However, this is only another infinite problem. The state of affairs with the Iranian people verses Iran’s regime makes these points clear. 1) The rulers of muslims are always corrupt with few exceptions and 2) Democracy doesn’t mingle well with Islamic regimes. Their so-called democracies are only ‘fronts’ to appease public opinion (and probably a bunch of other agendas for which I am not knowledgeable.) Speaking of Iran, it would have made more sense to oust that president rather than Sadam. At least there, the people truly want democracy, while their dictator professes to having the keys to annihilation of all infidels world-wide.

    For muslims countries, it would seem, there really never is a solution except to let them kill themselves over ideologies the rest of civilization simply cannot comprehend. It’s no wonder we so often hear the term, “Just nuke ’em.” in quietly disgusted voices.

    Comment by bobon | September 3, 2009 | Reply

    • To claim that Islamic countries can’t evolve their own flavor of liberty and well-being is to ignore that Christianity was the main source of the myth of Divine Right, for over one thousand years, and yet a country whose population was almost entirely Christian, the US, became the first to outgrow this.

      It is not impossible only to impose liberty by force on Islamic countries, but on any nation, in general. It is also more evil to try, than not to.

      The very premise of FORCING freedom on others is pretty obviously self-contradictory, on its face.

      I note, too, that the farther you get from European colonization, the more justice and liberty you see in any country with an Islamic population, and that you see the same pattern among Christian nations colonized by Europe, as in Africa and South America.

      But, at the very least, you appear to agree that the troops in Iraq are not “defending American freedom”, as you’ve made no case for it, not even sarcastically.

      Comment by kazvorpal | September 3, 2009 | Reply

  5. Whatever rights and freedoms we have were ours before the wars began. If we attained additional freedoms- it was not because of the troops, the war, foreign policy, or anything happening overseas.

    If we cut out the bogus “fighting for our freedom”- an attempt to justify or validate foreign policy- things might get tricky- we might struggle for an honest understanding of why we send “The Troops” and the flag to distant lands.

    An honest understanding of why we send the troops to far away places isn’t what we’re about though.

    Comment by Alex | September 1, 2009 | Reply

    • To be fair, I think they claim is that they are fighting to defend our freedoms, not add new ones.

      Nobody, so far, has offered me the slightest explanation as to how that’s being accomplished in Iraq, though.

      I mean, not even one that I disagree with, or find invalid.

      So far, nobody has offered any explanation for how the troops in Iraq are fighting for American freedom, at all. Nothing…zip…nada.

      Comment by kazvorpal | September 1, 2009 | Reply

  6. We did not conquer Iraq. Iraq is governing itself and we’re helping to stabilize them. Have you talked with those who have actually been there? I have.

    Also, there are a myriad of issues so far beyond what you’ve addressed here that do show why it was pertinent to our freedom and way of life to stop the spread of the terrorist regime. What came out publicly was put in language people easily understand, because as deep as the real issues are, most would never follow it.

    Comment by LK | August 29, 2009 | Reply

    • Then explain it, here.

      So far, you are making a claim you cannot support.

      As for not conquering Iraq, we overthrew their government…a government we acknowledged as legitimate for decades…and required that they set one up of the type we prefer. We prop it up with our troops. It is very much a puppet government. The very people claiming we need to stay, or that we belonged there, most stridently assert that if not for our troops, that government would fall.

      The only way it could have been more puppet is if we’d hand-chosen the leaders, ourselves.

      Which, by the way, is exactly what we did for the first couple of years. The government of Iraq, for that period, was specific American bureaucrats…who should have been brought up on charges, instead of given the medal of freedom.

      Comment by kazvorpal | August 29, 2009 | Reply

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