Horner: Where are my freedom fries?

Timothy Horner

Why isn’t anyone talking about freedom anymore? What happened to that heart-tugging plea that we need to “Defend American Freedom”? Why aren’t we being told that our freedom is still under attack? Eighteen months ago, freedom was all the rage. Freedom was everywhere. Anyone who even thought of getting in the way of our freedom got their country name replaced with the word “Freedom.” Where are my Freedom fries? My Freedom toast? What has happened to the fight to keep America free? Did we win and I just missed it? When we caught Hussein, was that when we didn’t need to worry about terrorists anymore?

Now all we get is the stock standard line: “The world is a better place without Saddam Hussein.” Whoa, what an insight! The world is a better place without a ruthless, violent tyrant of a ruler. Gee, I never thought of it that way before. But why don’t we say that since Iraq is now an upside down basket of freshly cut chaos, we are more free? Wasn’t that the point? Now that we have Hussein hasn’t al-Qaeda has been dealt a serious blow. Aren’t we more free and safe because we have confiscated all of Iraq’s WDM? Mission accomplished! Freedom preserved?

Maybe the reason we don’t hear anything about freedom and democracy and our treasured way of life anymore is because there is no connection between our freedom and the destruction of Iraq. Maybe that is why the White House has stopped using these terms. Maybe that is why our president is even cracking jokes about failure to find WMD in Iraq (the logic behind that self-parody is beyond me). Maybe they know that it doesn’t work anymore. Now we are supposed to feel great that Iraq is Husseinless. Sure it is a good thing, but was it worth the price? (I mean in human lives. Who can talk about money when so many people have died because someone told them they were defending American freedom?)

Unless you still believe – along with the other half dozen Americans – that Hussein had links to al-Qaeda, and was harboring weapons of mass destructions to be used on the United States, then this kind of shift away from pre-war rhetoric should start some wheels turning. Our president knows that to talk of our national freedom now would be obscene and would draw attention to the very thing he does not want us to look at: the reasons we destroyed Iraq. But if it is nonsensical now, it was nonsensical then. Obscene now, obscene then. I know it is hard to question authority, especially if it is someone you look up to and respect.

And Americans have notoriously short memories and attention spans. But this is one memory that we should not release, painful as it is.

It is unlikely that president Bush could have avoided 9/11, even if he had made al-Qaeda his top priority over Iraq. But could America have avoided the war on Iraq -where thousands have died – if Bush had not been pre-occupied (pun intended) with Iraq? Yes.

We would have invaded Afghanistan looking for bin Laden, but we could have saved ourselves and Iraq a lot of lives, and built up a world-wide coalition to fight the war on terror. Now we stand virtually alone (I know that some people think this is super cool); the big target for terrorist activity. Our president took a gamble and we lost. Now what?