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My Country: Right And Wrong

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posted on Apr, 29 2004 @ 03:53 PM
I just ran across this essay. As a veteran, I was very moved by it. I couldn't have expressed my sentiments better.

The guy who wrote it is Dom Stasi, Chief Technology Officer for a national satellite network based in Los Angeles. He was the original chief engineer who helped design and build both HBO and MTV's satellite infrastructures. Mr. Stasi flew aerial reconnaissance during the cold war and was a member of the Project Apollo technical team. He's a frequently published science and technology writer

My Country, Right And Wrong

"The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius

By Dom Stasi

April 29, 2004: "ICH" -- "My country, right or wrong." I've always subconsciously ascribed those words to some great American soldier-statesman, perhaps George Washington or Nathan Hale. I expect many have likewise assumed. Perhaps that's because it's been a soldier's credo and an inspiration to generations of patriotic Americans. In fact, that verbatim phrase, My country, right or wrong! was emblazoned between the painted flag and the field elevation notice that graced the portal of the flight operations shack on an Arctic airbase where I was stationed for a time. Stand on that flight line, and you read those words: "My country, right or wrong!"

Such words seem appropriate above a military portal. They did even then - perhaps especially then. It was the Sixties. Like today, they declare commitment in the face of doubt. Tennyson said it best: Theirs not to make reply, Theirs not to reason why, Theirs but to do and die. Like military service itself, such messages are unambiguous, unwavering in the face of the cognitive dissonance and conflict every thinking soldier experiences: My country, right or wrong. It holds no place for either subtlety or those who would deign to be subtle. I never questioned such words while in uniform and under oath. Few have. Commitment is part of our strength as a people. But as a civilian - an American civilian - I reject the statement out of hand. As an American and a still free man, I'm committed to reason not to oaths of obedience.

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