Freedom is not Free

by Kevin Shockey

Recently I attended the funeral services for one of my best friend's son. He was killed in action while serving in Iraq. I was reminded by many of his fellow soldiers that "Freedom is not Free!" I, like many others, have had a different opinion about why our troops are in Iraq and what they were fighting for. However, after this experience I was convinced, that no matter what your politics when you are in combat it is about only one thing, freedom. Over here we can debate and attempt to make sense of what is happening, but when you are in harms way it is about staying alive, staying sane, and going back home. For if you say that these men and women are serving their country so someone else doesn't have to, then I say it is clear that they are defending freedom. As a disabled veteran myself, and a third generation veteran at that, I should have never forgotten this point. The men and women in our Armed Forces are serving for a multitude of reasons, but one thing you learn in the service is that you serve out of tradition, you serve out of respect, ultimately you serve out of integrity and honor. And one of the proudest traditions in our Armed Forces is that by serving in the U.S. Military you are protecting freedom.

So these thoughts were fresh in my mind when I heard Lawrence Lessig's speech at the Open Source Business Conference. Professor Lessig's general premise was that whether you share the perception (sound familiar?), we are currently in a war. A war against technology innovation, where our foe has many names, but the bigger foe is apathy. For what if we do nothing, and we lose this war? What will our future look like then?

In the conclusion of his speech, Professor Lessig requested one simple thing of the audience. If you care about this war and about the future of technology innovation, support the organizations that are actively fighting this war. He encouraged everyone to support them with as much money as we spend on monopolist companies. In an effort to help fulfill his request, I have compiled the following list of companies that I believe are helping to defend the freedoms we enjoy today. It is by no means a comprehensive list, so if you do not see your favorite defender of technology innovation, seek them out and locate their donation page. I hope you'll know what to do when you find it.


I myself have some catching up to do. I bought a new laptop a couple of years ago and it came pre-installed with Microsoft Windows XP; I've got three daughters so we've compiled an extensive library of videos and DVD's; so I know that I'm big time negative in balancing out my support of this war. I have donated to Sourceforge for their support of the SNAP Platform, but I've got a long way to go. How about you? Where are you sending your support?

Know of any other organizations worthy of our support that I missed?


5 Comments

zkessin
2005-05-11 02:21:49
Memorial Day in Israel
As it happens today is Memorial day here in Israel (Yom Ha'Zikaron). Here in Israel we observe memorial day a bit differently than in the USA. At 8:00 pm last night and at 11:00 am this morning the air raid alarms go off all over the country and we stop and stand at attention for 2 minutes. Everyone. Busses stop and people will pull their cars over and get out and stand.


Also the TV here reads the name of every soldier killed in Israels wars from 1947 to the present. Its over 20,000 names. We start with the names of those killed in the war of independence, and all to often the last name was added to the list on memorial day.


After all of this tomorow is Israeli independence day. While it can be a bit of a transition it says a lot that we Israelis remember out dead from the holocost (6 million), and from our armed forces (about 20,000) right before we celebrate the birth of Israel as a modern nation state.


IDunno
2005-05-11 20:33:13
War is not freedom.
Freedom isn't free, but the Iraq was has nothing to do with freedom. The brave soldiers that go to Iraq are not fighting for our freedom, they are fighting to support the radical ideology of a group of rich elite neo-conservative power mongers who decided YEARS before that Iraq needed to be overthrown and then "fit" the evidence to prove it.


I support our troops, which is why I want them brought home and I want to see George W. Bush, Donald Rumsfeld and the whole lot impeached.

Mobius_][
2005-05-11 21:34:02
Hogwash: War is not freedom
Tell it to the Iraqis who are voting for the first time, in open elections.


Even though we have deposed their tyrannical dictator, there are still forces at work that want things back the way they were.


You think this was all done for oil? Ask the Iraqis.

IDunno
2005-05-12 09:59:30
Hogwash: War is not freedom
Had Bush told the American people that invading Iraq was to liberate them, I may not be so opposed to us being there and in fact I now wonder why we are not invading places like Zimbabwe and North Korea, but that is not the point because that is not what he said. He SPECIFICALLY and REPEATEDLY stated that we invaded Iraq to eliminate their so called "weapons of mass destruction". Since invading however, not only have we not found any weapons of mass destruction (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/3160602.stm), but memo's released by the UK government (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2087-1593607,00.html) during the past election prove that the Bush administration manipulated the intelligence to fit their plans that they had put into place ahead of time. And I quote: "C reported on his recent talks in Washington. There was a perceptible shift in attitude. Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy. The NSC had no patience with the UN route, and no enthusiasm for publishing material on the Iraqi regime's record. There was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action."


So Bush not only lied to get the US to go to war but didn't even take into consideration the consequences of his lie. Tens of thousands of dead Iraqi's and thousands of dead American soldiers later what do we have? A hugely expensive (in both lives and money) quagmire that is getting worse by the day.


I support and honor our soldiers, which is why I am extremely outraged that we have put them into harms way for a lie.


Again, I reiterate my call for the immediate impeachment of George W Bush and every member of the administration who knew or had anything to do with this travesty.

BrainDead
2005-05-12 10:58:31
Thank You
As another disabled vet, I just wanted to say thank you for your service. One of the hardest things to do at times is to remember that though I disagree with what someone says, I served to protect their right to free speach. When someone catches hell for expressing their opinion, I have a tendency to write them and thank them for expressing their opinion. I try to let them know that though I disagree with them, I am proud to of played a small part in their being allowed to speak their piece.
I've had the honor of serving as a member of the Honor Guard at several funerals. There is nothing that compares to the fealings of handing that flag to a service members family.
And yes, we do have to protect our rights here at home. That's why they serve. So that we can do our part.
Always in peace,
bd