My Turn: America's freedom is historically owed to many dissenting voices
Kenn Magowan's recent My Turn was excellent. I would like to add that most of our American freedoms were not won on the battlefield in someone else's country. They were earned in the streets of America by civilians who united to form unions, to fight against racism, corporate greed, and to implement social justice.
In fact, American society's benefactors often had to stand up against armed Pinkerton men hired by corporations to break strikes. When the Pinkertons weren't enough to crush the unions, the state and federal governments would send in army troops and/or national guardsmen to enforce the wishes of the corporate overlords who owned the politicians. Except for World War II, when American GIs fought fascism in Europe, the battle for American freedom has not been in someone else's country.
It has been and will probably always be right here in the constant struggle between the greed of individuals and the desire of the community to have a more humane and equitable society. Foreign wars are often sideshows staged to distract the brainwashed away from real domestic problems and to create more private wealth by taking over foreign markets and resources.
As Mary Noble noted, the federal government doesn't hesitate to spend billions on weaponry, invasions, and the military-industrial establishment, but try getting some money for health care, education, job training, improving the lives of average Americans and it's an uphill climb. Look how broke the states are right now while Bush spends billions of our tax money in Iraq. Whenever the tide runs toward working on our social problems, you can count on Uncle Sam to find a new enemy with which to frighten the citizenry and say "later, we don't have time for that bleeding heart stuff right now."
The Cold War ended and "later" has still not arrived. Why hasn't it?