March 28, 2003

By Michael Strickland

Willing to Change

On my way to work this morning, I heard a U.S. soldier on the radio, speaking after he had been wounded during one of those fake-surrender attacks. His brief words echoed more courage and integrity than any anti-war protestor I have yet heard. "I've always thought of America as a country willing to change for the better, and I think that's worth dying for."

I don't purport to agree or disagree with any of the anti-war sentiment. It's not that I don't have an opinion; rather, it's beyond the scope of this editorial. The core problem I have with many American protestors is their rabid exercise of their rights without taking any of the responsibilities that go along with them. They don't hesitate to proclaim the rights granted to them in the Constitution, but few of them would consider defending those rights with their lives by joining the military.

The immediate rebuttals might be that American soldiers in Iraq are not defending America, our country is not under attack, Saddam Hussein is not a threat to the United States, and so on. Leaving aside such arguments, I can simply say that our country does not always need to be on the defense to justify defending our rights. As that soldier said, our country—represented by opinions spanning the full spectrum—is one that is "willing to change for the better." Whatever one's definition of "better," it seems undeniable to me that liberating a people from the grip of a brutal dictator constitutes a willingness to "change for the better." Only someone willfully ignorant of the reality of Saddam Hussein's regime over the past 30+ years could disagree.

We have enjoyed the fruits that our Bill of Rights has borne over the past 200 years. To sit by and do nothing while the people of another nation are brutally oppressed and denied the rights we enjoy does not make us "better." If you do not agree that Iraq poses a threat to our national security, then surely you must agree that the liberation of the Iraqi people is a noble goal to achieve for a democratic nation with the resources to do so.

As we as individuals have responsibilities along with our rights, so too does our country have duties that come with prosperity. As the sole superpower on the planet in the coming century, we cannot deny that we have at least some duty to improve the lot of those less fortunate than us. We should not act unilaterally to do so, unless our security is threatened and we have no other choice. But I believe we have the duty to provide the strength, in conjunction with whatever wisdom can be found within the U.N., to free oppressed peoples everywhere. As our nation matures, we cannot hold to the isolationist policies that defined U.S. foreign policy in the twentieth century and still hold true to our ideals. To be "a country willing to change for the better," we need to do just that.


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Michael Strickland ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

What is "The Daily Strick"?

I have long called myself a writer, but too often I don't do what a writer must do daily: write. So you, dear reader, are the beneficiary of my resolution to make a positive change in at least one area of my life. Every single day of this new year, I will write something, anything, and post it here. It is my intention to use this daily exercise to jump-start my too-long-dormant creative energies, and perhaps generate some worthwhile material this year. Hopefully you will find at least an occasional amusement or insight in my daily musings.

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3/27: Tropical Memories
3/26: Regurgitation
3/25: Piece of the Puzzle
3/24: Echoes in Eternity
3/23: Booing for Columbine
3/22: Not Recommending Diving
3/21: Works in Progress
3/20: Three Rings of Shock & Awe
3/19: Paris—A Beautiful Blur
3/18: Ignorant Idiot Man
3/17: The Pirate Queen
3/16: To War or Not to War
3/15: So Long, Seau
3/14: Telemarketing Pays
3/13: Free, For Now
3/12: Chicken Little Gets Respect
3/11: Axis of Evil
3/10: Writing Kept Me From Writing
3/9: King Arthur
3/8: The Women are Smarter
3/7: Salt on Old Wounds
3/6: 3/3/03, 3:33 p.m.
3/5: Beer Day
3/4: Pulling the Trigger
3/3: Make 'Em Laugh
3/2: Whither Iraq?
3/1: Strickland Cellars
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