Tuesday, May 29, 2007

For Whom Freedom Rings

Yesterday was Memorial Day in the United States of America. What once for many was a day of parades and picnics and three day weekends, is increasingly a grim reminder of a generation killed and maimed by the brutality of war. Rather than seeing operations in Iraq and Afghanistan winding down, the number of deaths are on the increase, 115 this month at last count. It is the highest number of casualties since April of 2004.

So much for progress . . .

Meanwhile, the perpetually optimistic and perhaps delusional, Mr. Bush continues to bang the drums of war declaring, "On Memorial Day, we rededicate ourselves to freedom's cause."

But where he pursues freedom is pretty selective.

• Roughly 1/6 of the earth's population lives in China, which at last check had a decidedly communist government. In addition to a litany of human rights abuses, the Chinese government has engaged in unfair trade practices that send a large amount of U.S. capital overseas in return for a glut of cheap products. Products, I might add, that once were made in the U.S.

• Tibet, an autonomous nation since the 600's AD, was invaded by China in 1950. The Tibetan people still seek their freedom.

• The people of Burma live under the auspices of a military junta, who in 1990 failed to honour the results of a democratically held election.

• Saudi Arabia is listed in the CIA World Factbook as a country of concern for trafficking in persons (i.e. slavery). Additionally, there is strict repression of the press, no right to public assembly or to form a political party and the rights of women are severely restricted.

• Pakistan, our ally in the "war on terror" has a President, Pervez Musharraf, who earned his office by deposing the democratically elected Nawaz Sharif.

• Meanwhile, elsewhere in the middle East, the Israeli-Palestinian issue has made little progress since Mr. Bush took office. Once a strong partner for peace in this region, the U.S. in recent years has been remarkably silent.

It's easy to talk the talk and to wave the flag. It's another to live up to the words.

Mr. Bush speaks a lot about freedom and the role of the U.S. in perpetuating it around the world. But the record seems to indicate that his interest in it extends only so far as his personal interests. So as you mark the passing of another Memorial Day and remember those who have literally sacrificed life and limb, you might want to ask yourself this question: "For whom and what did they make this sacrifice?"


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting that Bush suddenly realized there is a problem in Sudan. I did not know that the Sudanese have oil. Now I do, and only because our president is going to restrict our trade with their producers to encourage freedom in Sudan. Good luck with that, GW. Strange timing with the current gas price gouging, though. Or is it?

8:11 PM  

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