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One of the most annoying aspects of talking to self-proclaimed conservatives is their relentless propensity to retreat to jingoism.

Jingoism is defined in the Oxford English Dictionary as "extreme patriotism in the form of aggressive foreign policy." It refers to sections of the general public who advocate the use of threats of or actual force against other countries in order to safeguard what they perceive as their country's national interests, and to excessive bias in judging one's own country as superior to others. &

It is nearly impossible to have a meaningful debate with someone who reverts to somewhat subjective concepts like " liberty " and " freedom " as the justification for everything. & Whose liberty? Whose freedom? Who and what exactly are they referring to? How is sending our children to fight for control of Iraq's oil serving our freedom or liberty? How free are returning soldiers going to be without arms or legs or frontal lobes? How exactly will the presence of Blackwater serve our freedom? (One of the first requirements of a totalitarian government is the creation of a private army.) And finally, how is illegal wiretapping serving our freedom?


It has long been my experience that the biggest hawks are often those who have sacrificed the least. & Growing up, as I did, on Naval Air Stations, I learned first hand, on a daily basis, the enormous price the "warrior class" pays so the rest of the country can have their "freedom." & And there is no question that there is a need for military might, and it's good to be the strongest fighting force in the world if you are part of the country that has it. & But having that force does not give us the right to abuse it to fulfill any agenda held by the Bush regime. & We, as human beings, must have moral boundaries. & When do we stand behind our government and when do we stand behind our humanity and say, & "Stop the insanity." How many slaughtered children are we willing to sacrifice?

- Candace Suerstedt is a filmmaker and a mother of three who lives in Coronado.