Ponder this extract from an article carefully.
A January 21st editorial in The Wall Street Journal summed up George Bush’s inauguration speech very neatly:
The entire speech was about Iraq, as a way of explaining to Americans why the sacrifice our troops are making there is justified.
Aye, and there’s the rub.
Troops don’t sacrifice. Only individuals can sacrifice. For some of them, the sacrifice is a year out of their lives. For others, the sacrifice is in living for a year or more in constant fear and danger.
But for too many, the sacrifice is one’s life. The loss of one’s whole life.
That’s not the same as giving a tenth of your income to the church, or working 15 hours a week in a soup kitchen, or spending a day a week helping out at a nursing home. When you sacrifice your life, you give up everything. The world has ended. What you were no longer exists. No more life, no more love, no more music, no more sports, no more breathing, no more interest in anything.
And when you’ve sacrificed your life, it no longer matters whether Iraq is "liberated" or oppressed, because you don’t exist any more. It no longer matters whether George Bush is a great leader or a megalomaniac, because you no longer have a life with which to be affected by it. You are no more.
George Bush can speak cavalierly about such sacrifices. He can say "freedom is always worth it." He can speak with gratitude about such sacrifices – because he is making no sacrifice whatsoever.
He can tell young people that when you die "you will add not just to the wealth of our country, but to its character."
But he is not the Messiah. He can’t bring those dead people back to life. He can not restore their ability to taste love, to enjoy fellowship, to pursue a career, to bask in the sheer joy of being alive.
He can’t return to a mother her dead son. He can’t return to a wife her dead husband. He can’t bring a dead soldier back to raise his children. He can’t do anything to restore what he has stolen from people with his glib assurances about WMDs, mobile bioweapons labs, unmanned planes dropping chemical weapons on the East Coast of the United States, about freedom always being worth the price – a price that to him is effectively zero.
The dead are dead, and they can’t come back. They won’t dance at any inaugural balls – or even attend their alumni reunions. They won’t attend presidential banquets – or even eat at the local coffee shop. Not ever again.
They are dead. And George Bush killed them. He killed them as certainly as though he personally had fired a rocket launcher at their homes.
Harry Browne was the Libertarian presidential candidate in 1996 and 2000.
As Joseph Stalin supposedly said, "An individual's death is a tragedy, but one million deaths is a statistic."