By Lloyd Graff
In this time period between Memorial Day and the 4th of July, I struggle with the idea of patriotism. What does it mean to be an American patriot in 2010?
We honor our soldiers during this period, and they are worthy of praise for their sacrifice and service. But we can legitimately ask if ousting Saddam Hussein has made us safer as a country. Has it been worth over 4000 soldiers killed, thousands severely wounded and untold lives disrupted? I am grateful my children have not ended up in the theatre of war, even while I realize that a draft democratizes the suffering of war.
I watched the Memorial Day concert in front of the Capitol on TV. I was moved to tears by the recitations of loss by the widows of the Vietnam and Iraq Wars. With respect, I ask if either war was worth the sacrifice of so many young people.
There is a time to fight for freedom. World War II was a life and death struggle with evil. But I think it is also patriotic to question why American kids volunteer to suffer, and kill and be killed in jungles and deserts year after year. Are we safer from their enormous sacrifice? Maybe we are. But I think the answer is far from clear.
Question: Have the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan been worth fighting?