Perhaps no holiday is accompanied by as many lies as Memorial Day. Just look at the opening paragraph of President Biden’s Memorial Day Proclamation:
On Memorial Day, we remember the patriots who gave their lives in the service of America, in the service of freedom, and in the service of justice. They made the ultimate sacrifice to defend our Constitution and our democracy. We are free because they were brave, and we live by the light of the flame of liberty they kept burning. They are all heroes, and our Nation is forever grateful.
Simply serving in the military doesn’t make you a patriot or a hero. In many cases it just makes you employed. U.S. soldiers who died in unjust foreign wars did not give their lives in the service of America, freedom, or justice. They died in vain and for a lie. Their deaths were not a sacrifice, and they did not die to defend our Constitution or the democracy that we have never had. Their deaths were senseless and avoidable. We are relatively free compared to most other countries in spite of the actions of U.S. soldiers. There is very little that U.S. soldiers do that we should be grateful for.
Among all the military idolatry on display this past Memorial Day weekend was the theme that U.S. troops protect us. This is major tenet of both American religion and American civil religion. And it’s not just conservatives who repeat this canard, those on the Left like comedian Jon Stewart who is always whining about the government not doing enough for veterans, are also guilty of military idolatry.
When Americans say that U.S. soldiers protect us or keep us safe, they never say just what it is that the troops are protecting us from. What they are usually implying is that U.S. soldiers keep us safe from terrorists, insurgents, jihadists, extremists, and enemies of the United States.
I hate to ruin the memories of your Memorial Day festivities, but nothing could be further from the truth.
How do tens of thousands of U.S. soldiers stationed on bases in Germany, Italy, Japan, South Korea keep Americans safe? Is there even one American that these troops keep safe?
How do hundreds of U.S. military bases on foreign soil help to protect us? Must be all those U.S. golf courses on Okinawa that are keeping the hordes at bay.
How did U.S. soldiers fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan protect us? None of the 9/11 hijackers were from Iraq or Afghanistan. Most of them were from our ally, Saudi Arabia. Is there a single American who was in danger of losing a fingernail at the hands of anyone in Iraq or Afghanistan?
How did the United States bombing Somalia, Yemen, Pakistan, Libya, and Syria since 9/11, and Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, and North Korea before then, keep Americans safe? Was any American ever in danger of being harmed by anyone in these countries?
How do U.S. soldiers protect us when they make widows and orphans, engage in offense instead of defense, fight unjust and unnecessary wars, carry out a reckless, belligerent, and meddling foreign policy, and maim and kill foreigners who never threatened any American?
The terrible truth is that it is not assorted foreign bogeymen that Americans must be kept safe from. It is from other Americans that Americans must be protected. Murder, robbery, burglary, larceny, and assault are on the rise. The U.S. murder rate is now the highest it’s been in 25 years. In Chicago alone, in 2021, there were 797 homicides recorded.
Although I don’t want to see federal security at schools any more than I want to see federal security at airports, a U.S. soldier armed with an M-16 stationed in front of every school would do more to protect Americans than any U.S. soldier stationed overseas.