Yes this is a few days old, from this past Sunday’s "60 Minutes" on CBS, but Andy Rooney’s commentary on the show was so far out, it had to be shared with the Newsbusters community. Although he began by making valid points about Americans needing to remember the true meaning of Memorial Day, and not just viewing it as a day off, and solemnly remembered friends he lost in World War II, some of his statements called into question whether the sacrifices made by those killed in battle were worth it.
"There's only so much time any of us can spend remembering those we loved who have died, but the men, boys really, who died in our wars deserve at least a few moments of reflection during which we consider what they did for us. They died."
Yes Andy, they died. But they died for a cause; they died for freedom. And although every casualty of war is tragic, their death has not been in vain. Yes, we remember them because they died, but we thank them because they did so much more. They preserved America’s freedoms for generations to come.
Rooney, a World War II veteran himself, went on to claim:
"There’s more bravery at war than in peace, and it seems wrong that we have so often saved this virtue to use for our least noble activity -- war. The goal of war is to cause death to other people."
No Mr. Rooney, death is a tragic consequence of war, not the goal. The goal of war, at least from an American perspective, is to preserve and to promote freedom around the world. In World War II, the goal was to prevent Adolph Hitler from taking over all of Europe and destroying freedom and democratic governments. Had that mission been accomplished without the loss of life, no one would have complained that the goal was not achieved. In modern day, had our armed forces been able to depose Saddam Hussein without a single shot being fired, would people lament that the goal of the mission had not been accomplished because no one died?
As to Rooney’s point about war being "our least noble activity," hasn’t war had positive outcomes? Haven’t wars provided freedom to those who would otherwise be oppressed? Wouldn’t providing freedom be our most noble activity?
"Remembering doesn’t do the remembered any good, of course. It's for ourselves, the living. I wish we could dedicate Memorial Day, not to the memory of those who have died at war, but to the idea of saving the lives of the young people who are going to die in the future if we don’t find some new way -- some new religion maybe -- that takes war out of our lives."
Most people would agree with Mr. Rooney, in that very few long for war or want war to be a part of life. However, as long as there are tyrants in the world who strive to benefit themselves at the expense of their people, or to expand their power by acquiring more territory, war will remain necessary. And, we in America ought to be grateful that we have brave men and women who are willing to fight and possibly die for the ideals that have made America what it is.