Wars Are Not Fought To ‘Protect Your Freedoms’

A number of years ago I was at an antiwar protest in St. Petersburg, FL where one of my fellow protesters was holding a sign that said, "The U.S. military is killing innocent people in Iraq."

Within moments, a person who said he was in the Army began screaming at the protester saying, "I just came back from Iraq where I was fighting for your freedom. Without the military you wouldn’t have the right to protest." The protester, himself an Army veteran, replied, "you look good for someone who is over 200 years old, because that was the last time the US fought a war for freedom."

The returning soldier tried to argue that the attacks on 9/11 were a threat to the Constitution, but his argument was weak and he eventually scurried off. I don’t know if he really felt he went to Iraq to protect free speech, or he was just angry that we were protesting something he believed in (which would have been ironic), but he wasn’t the first or last person I’ve heard claim that the US fights wars overseas to protect the rights of US citizens.

In fact, I’m hearing it a lot today in the context of players in the NFL taking a knee while the National Anthem is played before games. "You’re disrespecting the military – the men and women who are fighting for your right to protest" is the ultimate rationale offered by those who disagree with the players peaceful protest. Sadly, many in the NFL take the bait and say, "I thank the military for their service and for giving me the right to protest." The US war machine couldn’t hear sweeter words as NFL players are unwittingly being used by the war machine to glorify the military, thus normalizing US wars abroad. (As a side note, NFL players’ protest is not actually covered by the First Amendment – it only applies to public space, not privately-owned spaces such as NFL stadiums.)

In the first eight months of his presidency, Donald Trump’s military has dropped bombs in seven countries. Can anyone explain to me how any of those bombs were dropped to protect American’s First Amendment rights? (Note: Barack Obama’s military also dropped bombs in the same seven countries: Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen, Syria and Libya.) Does anyone really think that Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Laden, Kony, al-Shabab, Muammar Gaddafi, or even ISIS had/have the intention, let alone the ability to invade the United States, take over the government and shred the Bill of Rights? If so, I’m open to listening to the reasoning.

Yet somehow to this day it appears that this misguided believe remains the norm. It can be argued that the US military fights overseas for empire, for oil, or for corporations. But I’m still waiting for a logical argument that the US military fights wars in foreign lands to protect the rights given to Americans in 1791.

Chris Ernesto is the webmaster and co-founder of St. Pete for Peace, a non-partisan antiwar organization providing peace oriented education events and services to the Tampa Bay, FL community since 2003.

13 thoughts on “Wars Are Not Fought To ‘Protect Your Freedoms’”

  1. No, if you’ve paid attention to the Deep State events occurring from (at least) 1913, wars are contrivances to enrich the global plutocracy, create a pretext for greater police state control, weaken the public’s resolved to protect their democratic/ecclesiastical institutions, thus bringing about the Satanic New World Order global governance under the plutocracy’s UN contrivance.


    1. None, and worse, none who are interested in being there to protect the American people, rather than themselves.

  2. First of all, most NFL facilities are not “privately-owned.” They were paid for–and are financially sustained and “owned” by–the public: via taxpayer funds, provided involuntarily.

    My more important point is this: It is more blessed to give a knee–specifically, a well-directed one to the offender’s crotch–than to “take a knee.”

    Whoever made up the latter phrase is only marginally more idiotic than those who mindlessly and interminably repeat it. I invoke my scare-quotes to absolve myself of this gross rhetorical offense.

    1. Though taxpayers supplement many NFL stadiums, they are still owned privately by multi-millionaires, and they are not considered to be “public” spaces.

      1. Yes if they were considered “public places”, the Cowboys would have to share the stadium with local tiny-mite 5-7 year old pop warner football teams.

  3. And ironically the losses to our civil liberties e.g. suspension of habeus corpus and so on have been perpetrated by our own government.

  4. i refuse to stand for the pledge or the anthem for a myriad of reasons and done such for years…The knee fad is not my thing. i refuse to honor dishonor and i eschew all flags because they are exclusive and usually are used by the people in charge to rally the plebes to do their bidding…

    1. The flag has been usurped as a symbol of military might at least when it is not politicized by some politician wrapping himself in it. The anthem has always been a celebration of war power.

  5. If the military was sincerely “fighting for our rights,” then they would be deployed to Washington, DC.

  6. And if you accept what was written earlier, in 1776, these rights are granted us by our Creator- not the U.S. Government nor its military.

  7. Before Wilson, everyone understood that wars had nothing to do with “rights” or “democracy”. Wilson created the new lie, which opened the door to our modern insanity. WW2 was the last honest war for USA. We talked some about “rights”, but we understood and acted on the basis of defending territory. We were working with Russia, which was not “democratic”, and we were fighting against Japan and Germany, both “democratic” in the same way that we are.

    The Wilsonians grabbed control again in 1946 and haven’t yielded to sanity since. All of our wars since then have been for “democracy”, which is an impossible goal. Working for an impossible goal enables you to justify infinite expenditure, which is the whole purpose.

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