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Memorial Day 2003

May 24, 2003|By BOB MAGINNIS

On this Memorial Day 2003, we ask our readers to pause to reflect on the sacrifices of the men and women of the United States' armed forces. Americans owe the freedoms they enjoy to these people, and we believe it's time to consider how that debt should be repaid.

The first and most obvious way is to oppose any effort to cut veterans' benefits, as proposed by the current administration. Those asked to put themselves in harm's way on the nation's behalf should not have to worry about whether they will be taken care of, medically or otherwise.

But we also believe that we owe it to America's service people not to misuse the freedoms they've secured. The freedom to develop new technology shouldn't be perverted into the freedom to snoop into every citizen's private business when there's no risk to the nation's security.

And the families of those who've given their lives to secure Afghanistan and Iraq should not have to watch the sacrifices of their sons and daughters go for naught.

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Recently Thomas Friedman, the New York Times' Pulitzer-prize-winning columnist, traveled to Iraq and concluded that the U.S. was trying to go cheap on the occupation.

One of the justifications for going into Iraq was to bring freedom to its people and build a country that could be a model for a Middle East in which too many nations are poverty-stricken and backward.

Having promised that - and paid for that promise with American soldiers' lives - will the U.S. dishonor them now by breaking that pledge?

How that question is answered will determine whether America will be viewed today and in future history books as the nation that uprooted tyranny and planted something better, or a strong country that conquered a weak one and then walked away.

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