November 8, 2007 by lonbud
Update on Freedom’s March
It’s been called “the defining struggle of our time” by the rootin’-tootin’est vice president this country has ever had. Faced with criticism over his policies, or doubt concerning progress in the so-called War on Terror, our least-popular president ever invariably fends off nattering nabobs of negativism with one of his own favorite mantras: “freedom’s on the march.”
In this, the season of gratitude, as we prepare to “celebrate” a holiday conceived in the spirit of thanks for the bounties of Providence, why not check-in on freedom’s march, and try to gauge its progress toward Valhalla?
Let us look first toward Iraq, where our self-appointed defenders of Freedom chose to stage ground zero in the death-match between Good and Evil.
With two months remaining in the year, 2007 is officially the deadliest yet of the post-Saddam era, for both Iraq’s American liberators and her hapless civilian beneficiaries.
The American Commander-in-Chief greeted that news yesterday with this comment: “If you lived in Iraq and had lived under a tyranny, you’d be saying, god, I love freedom — because that’s what’s happened.”
It’s a wonder his nickname isn’t Sunny Jim, isn’t it? Because here’s also what’s happened:
Freedom may be on the march in Iraq, but, by any non-partisan, objective measure, it’s (as former SecDef D-Master Rumdog once put it) “a long, hard, slog.”
Believe it or not, however, Freedom’s actually busting out all over.
Last we checked, thousands of Buddhist monks in Burma, along with tens of thousands of their regular-old Buddhist civilian supporters were getting fired upon and killed by the military regime in that hotbed of Freedom.
Despite stern admonishments and a few symbolic financial constraints issued by Freedom’s resolute defenders in the wake of Burma’s repression-by-murder, the thirst for Freedom of her teeming masses, yearning to be free, remains largely unslaked in that much-abused land.
And yet, one cannot fail to find small, shining buds of Freedom sprouting on a darkened landscape.
In October, former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto returned from self-imposed exile to Pakistan, heralding her Freedom-loving former people’s very own Prague Spring, which may or may not be destined for fame as a Karachi Fall.
Don President Generalissimo Pervez Musharraf responded to Bhutto’s return and Freedom’s faint Hallelujah Chorus in his land by declaring martial law, and by suspending the “free and fair” elections scheduled for January 15, moves to which U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice registered her immediate disappointment.
President Bush rallied Freedom’s troops to the skittish Mr. Musharraf’s offices with a message that elections must proceed as planned, and told a U.S. press conference his “plain and clear message” to Mr. Musharraf was that a Free Leader “can’t be the president and the head of the military at the same time.”
Please let that sink in a moment.
Mr. Musharraf was understandably nonplussed, and saw no reason not to tentatively push a more limited election scenario back to the middle of February.
On the plus side, Ms. Bhutto lives!
Here at home, in Freedom’s very bosom, where God’s protective covering has long enabled degrees of choice and opportunity unheard of in many places, privately-owned telecommunications companies are about to be retroactively exonerated from criminal sanctions for violating the privacy of their subscribers; official papers with embedded radio frequency identification (RFID) chips are being issued to every freedom-loving one of us; and the Congress just sent a $451 Billion defense appropriations bill to the president’s desk.
Funding for the War on Terror, the “defining struggle of our times,” is not included in that figure.
There’s Marching. And there’s Freedom.
The funny thing is, or maybe not so, Mr. Bush and his Freedom Fighters have it wrong. Freedom does not march. Freedom be.
Free people will march, don’t get me wrong. And oppressed people will march, too. Some of them will march until they are free.
But I have said before, and I maintain still, Freedom will not be imposed. It must be claimed.
I see people worldwide trying to claim freedom, yearning to be free, without embrace or refuge or support from we who claim to tend Freedom’s flame. I see diminishing freedoms here at home abandoned without so much as a “fare ye well.”
And so, after nearly a full seven years of what I consider the unparalleled incompetence, corruption, mendacity, and congenital wrongness of the Bush administration, from here, Freedom seems in Full Retreat.
But it doesn’t faze me, because I know I live in Opposite World.