The Worth of American Lives

1 07 2005

As of today, 1,746 Americans have died in Iraq. 1,746. This might sound like the start of an article against the war in Iraq. It’s not. It also isn’t an article written in support of it. It’s just an article.

I was home during lunch one day this week and had turned on the television and was watching FOXNews. The anchor was discussing President Bush’s evening speech about the war. The woman who was being interviewed was complaining that about 2 Americans were dying everyday in Iraq. She wanted to know for what good those lives were lost. I pondered that question and have come up with some thoughts.

By some estimates, 25,000 colonists died in the American revolution. Colonists who were starting the United States of America. But it wasn’t just the colonists fighting to be free. There was another country fighting with and for us. Now after doing some research, there are no reliable numbers on how many French troops died fighting for American freedom. However, there are some estimates on how many troops they sent and what kind of other support they gave. It is substantial. Perhaps you can see already where I am going with this, but I think it is a valid argument with as many holes as every other argument out there. What if the French had not helped us win the War of Independence? It is very possible that we would not have won that war.

Remember a man named Adolf Hitler? He took control of France in 1940. Now France and Great Britain had both declared war on Germany at this point but were having no luck. Britain was not invaded during the war, but France was defeated. And who came to their rescue? It was the United States of America. A fledgling young country 160 years before, but now was coming to the rescue of the most established nations in the world.

Do you think the French were glad that we came to liberate their nation? How many of them were waving American flags when the Americans rolled into Paris in 1944? Perhaps some of them thought back in history to the time when they had sent their men, ships, money, and armaments across the Atlantic as well.

I don’t want to suggest that the reason we are freeing Iraq is to have them liberate us 150 years from now. But the French had their political, financial, and social reasons for helping to free us, and I think we have our reasons for going to Iraq. But France probably didn’t think that we would ever come to their rescue. Look what happened!

Freedom comes at a cost and sometimes that cost cannot be borne by the nation seeking the freedom. Sometimes that cost must be shared by those who can afford it. How many lives were lost on the European front in WWI and WWII? A estimated 525,000. Those lives were lost to protect our freedom and guarantee the freedom of others.

You couldn’t find an American who enjoys hearing about the loss of American lives, but those lives that are lost are not lost without a purpose. Their worth comes in the freedom of nations. The peoples who are freed are the worth of the life. The cost may seem high, but our freedom was not free. We should not expect other’s freedom to be free.


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5 responses

1 07 2005
Anonymous

good post. i liked it.

1 07 2005
Neil

how many innocent americans did the french kill daily during the american revolution? and how many americans absolutely did not want them to be there?

i’m guessing the answer to that is “probably not many”

how many innocent iraqis do we kill everyday over there? how many iraqis do not want us there?

the answer to that is in the thousands and more

5 07 2005
JD

How many “Americans” did not want them to be there? Lots! Didn’t you pay attention in history class, Neil? Remember the Tories? And the rest of the British sympathizers? There were many people who did not want democracy. There were no Americans then. But there were plenty of loyal British subjects who didn’t want the colonists to create their own free country.

And there were many innocent loyal British sympathizers who were killed throughout the war.

5 07 2005
Anonymous

You are mistaken if you think altruism fueled France’s desire to enter the war. They faught because they felt that an American victory would take Britain down a peg and allow them to be the new world power. They were hardly there to spread freedom, as the French monarchy, hardly friends to democracy, was funding the war.
In the same way altruism has nothing to do with the war in Iraq. America entered because our leaders believed it was in our best interests to do so. If you will recall when the war started the the main motivation was to disarm Iraq of weapons of mass destruction, not to spread democracy. Upon arrival we found no weapons of mass destruction so the story had to change to defending democracy and human rights. Make no mistake; human rights and democracy are not a motivating factor in the US joining any war. If they were we would be in Sudan to prevent the slaughter of thousands of innocents. We would take hostile action against both North Korea and China (two nations that we know have weapons of mass destruction and are among the worst violators of human rights in the world) rather than trading with them. America has kept its nose out of there though because it believes that it is not in its own best interest to become involved. It became involved in Iraq because it thought that it would be in the United State’s own best interest to do so. The US could care less about spreading democracy unless it directly affects them.
Jason C.

6 07 2005
JD

I stated in my original post that France had its reasons for helping us.–>

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