Today we remember those who have died in the struggle for freedom, and that includes the 2,400-plus American soldiers who have died in Iraq.
The far right, desperate to find some wedge to drive between us and our ideals, will tell us that we are hypocrites to celebrate Memorial Day and yet oppose the war in Iraq. But though our soldiers are held hostage to an incompetent and arrogant commander-in-chief, I proclaim that these deaths in Iraq are just as meaningful as those of any other war. These men and women did not give their lives, it turns out, to defend America from a phantom WMD attack, or to secure freedom and prosperity in a nation now threatening to descend into civil war. And, no, I will certainly not accept that they have given their lives to defend the freedom and prosperity of Bush's crony corporations. These 2,400 men and women, it turns out, have given their lives to remind us of how far wrong we go when we neglect our duties as citizens and do not hold power accountable to truth. They have given their lives to remind us that our ideals do not make us perfect, or even good, unless we live up to those ideals, rather than coast on them. In this sense, these men and women may have made an even greater sacrifice than those who have died in other, more just wars.
May we never forget our pride in them. May we never forget our shame in ourselves. And may we make these feelings a twin engine to ensure that we never fight an unjust war again.