In the picture above, taken last summer in Cairo, you can just make out a small pro-democracy protest. From where Praktike and I stood, however, the view was only of the intimidating power of the state, hundreds of black-clad and helmeted CSF troops preventing the crowd from hearing a word that was said. Readers of the Arabist are following the ongoing struggle for freedom in Egypt, where now you read of protestors being sodomized and a hunger strike by those imprisoned for their beliefs.
Today in the United States we don't have to deal with that, and a key reason is our armed forces which have defended this country and others against evils ranging from the Nazis to the Warsaw Pact dictatorships. We can examine as a strong, idealistic nation whether all our foreign interventions live up to our ideals. However, we must never forget that the people who join and fight in the military do so to serve and protect this land that they love. Today we live in a troubled time, facing crises in Iraq, Afghanistan, and places we too seldom think of. When we stop to honor the countless sacrifices of our troops, the quality of our political leaders and the choices made to engage in individual theaters matters not, nor do the crimes committed by a few blot out the honor of the many who are willing to put themselves on the line because they believe it will help ensure the future safety of the United States and the world. Our task this weekend is to say only, "Thank you," while noting also the words of Shakespeare's Will, "Now, if these men do not die well, it will be a black matter for the king that led them to it."