Sunday, October 01, 2006


There are many obvious victims in President Bush's dual Wars in Iraq and on Terror. American servicemen and women, Iraqi civilians, the right to due process, civil liberties, the checks and balances originally built into the Federal government, a press that holds the President accountable to his actions, to name a few.

But another casualty is laying underneath all of the others. We have lost the definition of the word "freedom" to President Bush's warmongering. The word "freedom" is used on a daily basis by Bush. In any of his speeches, he utters the word dozens of times. We went into Iraq for "freedom" and the larger War on Terror is being waged in the name of "freedom." We are told that as Americans, we like freedom, and terrorists hate freedom. Apparantly the French don't like freedom either, so the Federal government took it upon themselves to rechristen french fries as freedom fries.

But what does the word "freedom" mean anymore? Has freedom moved from being an abstract idea to a tangible object?

Of course not. Freedom is an idea. It must be discussed within a particular context in order to have meaning. One can speak of 'freedom from persecution" or "freedom of speech" but the word by itself is vague, and to some extent, useless.

Which is why I always cringe a little bit when I hear that we are at war for freedom. That we went into Iraq to give the Iraqis freedom? Freedom of what? Freedom for what? Sure, the Iraqis may be free from Saddam, but they aren't free from violence or fear.

"Freedom" has become a buzzword, since on the surface it's a simple idea, and in these trying times no one would admit to being against it. But if we allow people to continue to bastardize it, then we risk losing any importance that the word or idea ever had in the first place.


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