You "fought for my freedoms"? which ones?

In these days of polarized war talk, there’s a line of thinking I’ve been hearing a lot lately and it has crawled into my subconsious and taken root. Generally it comes from someone who is pro-war and/or pro-Bush, but definitely pro-military.

It goes something like this: “Well I/we/they fought in Korea/Vietnam/Iraq to defend your right to say such a thing about what our President is trying to accomplish over there.”

Actually I don’t think so. I don’t recall any of our freedoms being really under attack in Korea and Vietnam and Iraq - unless you mean the freedom to drive big honking SUVs. In the case of Vietnam, I would venture that many of our freedoms were under attack right here at home, much like today. Korea was a faraway police action and the “domino theory” has been proven wrong and discarded.

Now if you are a veteran of WW2 or the Civil War (either side) or the Revolution, then yes, I would say, you fought for my freedoms (particularly the latter). 1812, yes, you too I guess. WW1 vets, probably not. The Indian wars? they fought for land, which I suppose brought some degree of freedom though not of the “rights” variety, unless you mean “property rights”, which our Native American citizens might differ over. And so on.

So I invite all those who unilaterally assume that every serviceman and woman is out there “defending my rights and freedoms” to consider for a minute which of my freedoms are and have been under assault, and by whom. Isn’t the rationale that one is “defending American freedoms” in many cases just a jingoistic catchphrase? Does anyone have any thoughts on this?

Yes–that by serving the same government that fought for your freedoms during WWII and the Civil War and the War of 1812 and the the Revolution, they are by extension participating in that government’s defense of your rights and freedoms.

The same way that today’s Supreme Court justices are fighting for your civil rights, even though none of them may have personally participated in, say, Brown vs. Board of Education.

Great answer, DDG. Also, Korea and Vietnam (mistaken though it was) were part of a war to prevent world domination by the Soviet Union. Winning that war did indeed preserve the freedom of Americans. It also gained freedom for around a billion people.

december, how did the Korean and Vietnam Wars gain freedom for 1,000,000,000 people?

I think the idea is that they “thought” they were fighting for our freedom. Even if the domino theory is now considered wrong, back then it wasn’t, and when those troops were sent into Vietnam and NK, they were fighting to keep the communists from spreading their influence all the way to your homeland.


I think you need to think about your position in a little more depth. If we don’t fight in Korea and Vietnam then we haven’t just lost South Korea and Vietnam, we’ve also lost Laos and Cambodia (remember that Vietnam considered itself to be the proper rulers there). But we’ve also sent the message that we won’t fight. So you can almost certainly kiss Taiwan and West Berlin goodbye and very likely Japan and West Germany.

France and Italy also had pretty strong Communist Parties, with a little help from the Soviets, and remember we won’t fight, they could easily have ended up in the Soviet Bloc as well. The same could be said for the Philippines and Indonesia. And if the Vietnamese and Koreans proved as willing to send troops to Africa as Cuba was, why then you can pretty much kiss the better part of Africa goodbye too.

One way or another we either had to fight at some point or else you’re looking at a world dominated by the Soviet Union. And the argument that we would have fought over Japan or France because they were somehow important while Korea and Vietnam weren’t doesn’t wash, after all, we didn’t fight over China or Czechoslovakia and a lot of folks would argue that they were pretty important. A line had to be drawn somewhere and we just happened to draw it in Korea and Vietnam.

But how would a Soviet dominated world affect our “rights and freedoms?” Couldn’t we just keep the same “rights and freedoms?” Maybe, as long as the Soviets didn’t object too strongly. But maybe the Soviets would object to a “freedom of speech” which allows newspapers to write some pretty nasty things about the Soviet Union. Maybe they would look at our ““property rights” as an anachronism in a modern “civilized” “Soviet” world. And remember, they don’t necessarily have to invade to change things. “You wanna import titanium from Africa? You gotta do things our way.” And maybe our leaders would have “compromised.”

Now I realize that this probably seems like a pretty far-fetched fantasy. But maybe that’s because we did draw a line and we did fight. And I, for one, am glad we did. And I, for one, thank every single one of those who sacrificed in the effort.

1812, that’s where you declared war on Canada, wasn’t it?
How was that invasion “fighting for your freedom” again?

The entire containment policy, started by Harry Truman and completed by Ronald Reagan, did result in freeing all those living under Soviet domination. Korea and Vietnam (flawed though they were) should be viewed as a part of that effort.

I think he meant that the Korean and Vietnam Wars were part of the larger Cold War and that the “victory” by the US in that war freed a billion people. Even in that context I question the number, but it’s a less atrocious statement than the Korean and Vietnam wars freed the billion.

I just question the fact that December said that the USA “won” the wars…

Vietnam was lost. Korea was a draw to be diplomatic, with no peace treaty EVER agreed upon. Technically, N. Korea is still at war with S. Korea…


You are right. It is a far-fetched fantasy.

Actually your whole argument is identical to the “domino theory”, which two posts, pro- and con-, have admitted proven wrong above.

As for Vietnam considerering themselves to be the “proper rulers” of Cambodia: it is true that Vietnam, after the end of the vietnam-war, invadedn Cambodia. Cambodia was at the time called “Kamputchea”, ran by Pol Pot and the Kmer Rouge, and in the habit of persecuting the Vietnamese minority (as well as its own population). A “humanitarian intervention” if there ever were one.

Still you may be suprised to learn that your government took the side of one of the most despicable dictators in world history, Pol Pot! Supposedly because of the doctrine “the enemys enemy”.

You have to stretch it quite a bit to say our (meaning people in the US) freedoms are being fought for. Those freedoms have never been under any threat by anyone other than our own government since they were written into law over 200 years ago. The War of 1812 is the only thing even close. Instability in other parts of the world do not constitute threats to our (people in the US) freedoms until we have the enemy on our land, having overthrown the government and putting new laws (martial or otherwise) into effect. So, put me down for “jingoistic catch phrase”.

Perhaps it’s high. The former Soviet Union has a population of 291,652,566. To that must be added all the countries in the Soviet bloc – Poland, Romania, Hungary, East Germany, the Balkans, etc. Whether or not that adds up to a full billion, the end of the Soviet Union meant freedom for a helova lot of people.

CuriousCanuck, I did not mean to say tha the US won in Korea or in Vietnam. I meant that the US (along with the entire free world) won the cold war.

I mereby nominate An Arky as president of the WHYDFML Club. Millions of people sacrificed their lives to prevent the worldwide domination, which was the aim of the Fascists and the Communists.

I would bet that An Arky is younger than 20. At least, I hope so.

Still, the OP is not about “winning” wars but as to whether anyone serving in the US military is/has been/will be “fighting for our freedoms” – meaning, presumably, the freedoms of USAmericans, to judge from RTA’s location. Let’s not get so hung up on catching december in an overstatement as to lose the topic.

As an extension of DDG’s post: it is a figure of speech, by which is meant that all those who serve in the US military have the proximate mission of preserving the continued existence/security of the state known as the USA (formally phrased as “defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies”); and that since said state/Constitution is the operational instrument the Americans use in order to “establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty”, thus the servicemen ultimately protect that goal. Even if what one particular serviceman or group thereof was ordered by the President to actually DO had nothing to do with that defense.

Randy: North Vietnam also violated Cambodia’s territory by using it for the Ho Chi Minh Trail.

Fair enough… though there are compelling arguements that The other side “lost”, rather than the US “winning” the cold war, but that is not a debate for this thread. :slight_smile:

December, to paraphrase your boy Reagan, “There you go again”. The fact that the Germans and Russians had their misguided eyes on world domination doesn’t mean they had the realistic means to do it. Yes, it was a threat to worldwide safety and well-being, but I don’t think I’m reaching to say that, in practical terms, a takeover of the US and suspension of the Constitution and Bill of Rights was ever as realistic a threat as the threat of their insidious undermining that we face from Bush/Ashcroft.

And you completely misunderstand my opinion of the military, which I actually didn’t give in my post. I have a tremendous amount of repect and admiration for those who serve and have served in the miltary. I just question the wisdom and motivation of those who send them off to fight/die.

As for the old saw you infer by assuming anyone who’s “liberal” is either under 20 or an idiot is just plain laughable. I could just as easily say that if you’re a “conservative”, you either have neither a heart nor a brain, and it would be just as wrong.

Excuse me for not going into an orgasmic frenzy over politicians’ pissing contests.

Actually, the US did win in Korea. ( or more properly the UN, although the US provided the lion’s share of forces in the Korean War). The North Koreans invaded 25 June 1950 in order to conquer South korea. They were thrown out of the South and kept at bay by the ongoing US presence, hence we won.

I was not talking about liberals in general. The Containment policy was started by liberal Harry Truman. We fought the Nazis under liberal FDR.

BTW, how old are you?