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Patriotism Should Equal First Principles, Not Military Might

07/08/2010 01:16 pm 13:16:33 | Updated May 25, 2011

"This reporter from Rolling Stone, he was a rat in an eagle's nest." - Geraldo Rivera on FOX

"I mean, to end a career like McChrystal's? I mean, Michael Hastings has never served his country the way McChrystal has." - Lara Logan, chief foreign affairs correspondent for CBS News

Both were commenting on Michael Hastings' Rolling Stone piece "The Runaway General." The summary line for the article is "Stanley McChrystal, Obama's top commander in Afghanistan, has seized control of the war by never taking his eye off the real enemy: The wimps in the White House."

FYI, Geraldo and Lara: Hastings has been reporting in Iraq and Afghanistan for five years now, and his fiancé was killed in Iraq. It appears that he knows a smidgen about sacrificing for his calling and country. Does your service to America exceed your self-righteousness?

This week Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan defended herself in tense questioning from the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Senator Jeff Sessions:

I tried to make clear in everything I did, how much I honored everybody who was associated with the military on the Harvard Law School campus ... I meant to protect the gay and lesbian students who might very much want to serve in the military, who might very much want to do that most honorable kind of service that a person can do for her country ... I talked about how important military service was, because our veterans organizations and veterans on campus did an absolutely terrific job, a terrific service to their fellow students in talking to them about the honor of military service.

Lemme see if I got this straight. Being true to your calling as an independent media reporter is to be "a rat in an eagle's nest," and one taking the fourth estate seriously has "never served his country" the way a military general has. And, to be a qualified Supreme Court Justice you have to bow before the Imperial Altar of the United States Armed Forces, extolling military service as "that most honorable kind of service that a person can do for her country."

This is what we have come to? During the Fourth of July celebrations, I hope you paid attention: patriotism is almost exclusively synonymous with military might. You will see flags coupled with soldiers, arms and awesome aerial displays. Please contact me if you see the flag wed to social workers, teachers, nurses, or peace activists.

I want to be crystal clear. I favor the constitutional role of the military to "provide for the common defense." But one is hard-pressed to make a case for any of our "conflicts" from Korea through our current quagmires in Iraq and Afghanistan as meeting this standard.

Do we really need 737 military bases with more than 2,500,000 U.S. personnel serving across the planet? Can we take pride in being the world's largest arms supplier, amassing 41 percent of total worldwide sales?

I am not anti-military, but I do patriotically resist America's imperial armed forces. I do abhor selling five times more weapons of destruction than the next five nations combined.

Way back in 1848 Rev. Theodore Parker preached a sermon, "The Political Destination of America and the Signs of the Times." He said, "There is a lamentable want of first principles, well known and established, the authority of truth and justice."

His prophetic word built to a crescendo:

An American State must also be a state of free men who give over brawling, resting on industry, justice, love, not on war, cunning and violence -- a State where liberty, equality, and fraternity are deeds as well as words ... and the American church tuning all to harmony of freedom for the mind, freedom for the heart, freedom for the soul.

In his "Sermon of War" he thundered:

We reverence force. Abroad we are looked on as a nation of swindlers and men-stealers! Alas! The nation is a traitor to its great idea -- that all men are born equal, each with the same unalienable rights.

The voice of conscience speaks to you and me, the right will prosper, the wicked States shall die. History responds with her long amen."

Let patriots who have ears to hear, let them hear.