The previous post reminded me of the total prostitution of the word “freedom” by the warmongers who have dominated our foreign policy steadily since World War II, and pretty often before that.
Which reminded me of those golden days of yesteryear — 2003 actually — when the Congressional dining room was serving freedom fries, and when I served up this:
From the New York Times:
“On a day that the Russian foreign minister, Igor Ivanov, said the American-led war was ‘doomed to fail,’ the administration struck a small blow at France, another ally that has parted company with the United States over Iraq. The menu on Air Force One this morning featured ‘stuffed freedom toast topped with strawberries’ — a new name for French toast.”
Once I had recovered from this droll bon mot I got to thinking about poor old freedom, and how our everloving warleaders, Democrats and Republicans alike, have sent it out on the street to turn tricks for them.
The other day, for example, I heard a Nevada man tell a radio reporter that his Marine son hadn’t died in vain: instead he had sacrificed himself for, you guessed it, freedom.
The poor man was hardly alone. An extraordinary number of otherwise sensible citizens apparently believe that Mr. Bush has invaded Iraq to bring freedom to that country — never mind that it wasn’t remotely “free” even before Saddam Hussein.
And never mind that Iraq will not be free after him, either. There are words to describe what the country is likely to be, but “free” is not among them. The words are instead “military protectorate,” and “occupied territory,” and “dependency,” and “colony.”
Iraq, that is to say, will remain free of freedom. Those who keep it so will now be Americans instead of Iraqis, of course, but this only looks like an improvement from our side of the fence.
This corruption of “freedom” did not occur overnight. Ronald Reagan unblushingly used the term “freedom fighters” to describe such despots and butchers as Jonas Savimbi in Angola and the Contras in Nicaragua.
No doubt Mr. Reagan was unconscious of the absurdity, as he was unconscious of so much else. To him, free and freedom were words which applied to any leader, any movement, any nation, that appeared willing to take orders from Washington.
Freedom meant subservience, as indeed to many Americans it always had. During the Vietnam War, for instance, the Fort Dix stockade was used to confine deserters, draft dodgers, and other objectors to the war. A sign over its front gate read, “Obedience to the law is freedom.”
Once we grasp this concept, such phenomena as John Ashcroft and Admiral Poindexter become understandable and even admirable. When Mr. Bush's men strip away our civil liberties one by one, they are only killing to cure. The loss of freedom is the price of remaining free.
The price for the people of Iraq will be even higher. They must be colonized by smart bombs and the Third Infantry Division, so that Exxon and Halliburton may free their oil fields at last from the chains of Iraqi ownership.
Surely then, praise be to Allah, all the nations of Araby will rise in joyful song and clamor, each in his turn, to be washed in the blood of the Bush.
And if my aunt had wheels, she’d be a tea cart.