Posted by Brad @ 9:47 pm on May 27th 2007

This Memorial Day… (Counterpoint)

The Washington Post does a ballsy and correct thing in putting, among their Memorial Day editorials filled with the usual bland deifying of the American military, this piece, titled “I Lost My Song To a War I Oppose. We Were Both Doing Our Duty” by Andrew J. Bacevich. It’s enormously powerful. I’ll put up a quote, but read the whole thing please.

Memorial Day orators will say that a G.I.’s life is priceless. Don’t believe it. I know what value the U.S. government assigns to a soldier’s life: I’ve been handed the check. It’s roughly what the Yankees will pay Roger Clemens per inning once he starts pitching next month.

Money maintains the Republican/Democratic duopoly of trivialized politics. It confines the debate over U.S. policy to well-hewn channels. It preserves intact the cliches of 1933-45 about isolationism, appeasement and the nation’s call to “global leadership.” It inhibits any serious accounting of exactly how much our misadventure in Iraq is costing. It ignores completely the question of who actually pays. It negates democracy, rendering free speech little more than a means of recording dissent.

This is not some great conspiracy. It’s the way our system works.

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