Sportscasters And The Troops: US Troops
Not Sacrificing In Afghanistan To "Defend Freedom"
04 July 2012
By Jacob G. Hornberger
I find it fascinating how American television
sportscasters steadfastly hew to the official line
regarding the continued occupation of Afghanistan.
During virtually every game, the sportscaster will
make some reference to U.S. soldiers who have died or
lost limbs during the occupation. The sportscaster
will remind us that the fallen and wounded have made
heroic sacrifices to "defend our freedom" here at
Do you ever wonder whether these people really believe
this claptrap? After all, we all know what would
happen to them if they instead were to say, "Too bad
so many soldiers have lost their lives and limbs for
nothing or, to be more precise, for the sake of
installing and maintaining into power brutal, corrupt,
pro-U.S. dictatorships within foreign countries."
The neocon community in America would go ballistic and
rain calumny on the sportscaster and the television
station. More important, the federal government, while
emphasizing that Americans enjoy freedom of speech,
would undoubtedly begin examining whether the
station's broadcast license should be renewed, on
unrelated grounds of course.
Mindful of the possibility of losing its license and
scared to death of the neocons, most every television
station in the country would immediately buckle, fire
the sportscaster, profusely apologize, and beg
forgiveness. Most important, the station would
immediately change its tune and start preaching the
official line — that the troops are making heroic
sacrifices to "defend our freedom" here at home.
The entire situation is a real-life version of the
"The Emperor's New Clothes." The reality is that U.S.
troops in Afghanistan are sacrificing life and limb
(and killing and maiming others) to protect the
existence of a crooked, corrupt, unelected, brutal,
tortuous dictatorship. The problem is that no one in
American public life is supposed to say that. Instead,
like the people in "The Emperor's New Clothes,"
they're expected to hew to a delusion: that the troops
are making heroic sacrifices to "defend our freedom"
here at home.
What a crock all that is. People think that by
spreading a lie and inculcating a false sense of
reality that they can create their own reality. What
they actually end up doing is engendering deeper
psychosis within the American people, thereby
undoubtedly increasing the drug-use problem in
There's another interesting twist to all this
weirdness. When those sportcasters praise the troops
for heroically sacrificing their lives and limbs to
"defend our freedom" here at home, what do you think
they mean by the term "freedom"?
I'll tell you what most of them mean.
By "freedom," they mean the ever-expanding role of
government to dominate the lives and resources of the
Freedom to the statist is the authority of government
to confiscate massive amounts of income and wealth
from those who produce it and give it to others.
It's the authority of government to punish people with
fines and incarceration for ingesting substances that
haven't been approved by the government.
It's the authority of government to regulate even the
most minute aspects of people's economic activities.
It's the authority of government to spy on, monitor,
assassinate, torture, and incarcerate anyone it wants
for any reason it wants, so long as the government
relates it to some inane war, such as the "war on
terrorism," the "war on drugs," or the "war on
That's what freedom means to statists. In fact, sadly
it's what freedom means to many of the troops. Thus,
one can easily imagine a U.S. soldier getting blown up
in Afghanistan and saying to a fellow soldier with his
last dying breath, "Please tell my family and fellow
Americans that I proudly gave my life so that
Americans could continue enjoying Social Security,
Medicare, Medicaid, farm subsidies, foreign aid,
education grants, the drug war, torture,
assassination, indefinite incarceration, monitoring of
email, denial of due process, and all the other
aspects of American ‘freedom.'"
The sportscasters are wrong. The troops are not
sacrificing their lives and limbs in Afghanistan to
"defend our freedom" here at home. They are
sacrificing their lives and limbs (and those of
others) to defend U.S. imperialism abroad and American
socialism at home. That's nothing worth dying for or
losing limbs or minds for. It's also nothing worth
killing or maiming for.
Jacob Hornberger is founder and president of the
Future of Freedom Foundation.