Of a 16-oz. Soda Cup, of Afghanistan and of Frustration

I usually check once or twice a day at Memeorandum to see what the important news of the day is, to get an idea of what America is talking about, to take America’s pulse, to check the barometer of public opinion, to… Well, you get the idea.

When I checked Memeorandum around 7 p.m., the headlines (around 40 of them) were all about soda, sugar and “big cups.”

Some were as short as CNN’s “SODA BAN SETBACK,” some as long as the U.K Daily Mail’s “New York City to send out health inspectors armed with 17-ounce cups to make sure eateries aren’t selling oversized sugary beverages,” and everything in between.

Many of the reputable, major news media were talking about how the “Judge Halts New York City Soda Ban”(the Wall Street Journal), how the “Judge Blocks New York City’s Limits on Big Sugary Drinks” (The New York Times) and , how “Judge tosses Mayor Bloomberg’s ban on large sugary sodas one day before it goes into effect.

Even Reuters was reporting on how “Judge blocks New York City large-soda ban [and] Mayor Bloomberg vows fight.”

Several news organizations and blogs view this soda cup issue as an epic struggle against a “Leviathan” state, as a “Separation of Powers” issue and the Judge’s overturning the soda ban as “One Small Blow for Freedom.

Perhaps.

But talking about freedom, I wrote over the weekend about our Defense Secretary’s visit to a country where 68,000 of our men and women are still fighting and where many of them are dying, supposedly for that country’s freedom.

During the same weekend, I was angered when I read how the President of that country insulted and accused those same troops, and our country, of colluding with the Taliban to sow fears in order to prolong the presence of international troops in Afghanistan.

This morning I was shocked to read that two more of our service members were killed and 10 wounded in another appalling “green-on-blue” incident in Afghanistan’s Wardak province, when an individual wearing an Afghan national security forces uniform turned a weapon on U.S. and Afghan forces.

According to DOD:

This is the third fatal insider attack this year. A British soldier was killed Jan. 7, and an American contract employee was killed March 8.

These attacks escalated last year, with 62 ISAF service members killed in 46 separate attacks. Insider attacks conducted in 2012 killed 35 Americans.

And later this morning I was saddened to receive in my e-mailbox another one of those dreaded “DOD Identifies Casualty” announcements:

The Department of Defense announced today the death of an airman who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

Tech. Sgt. Larry D. Bunn, 43, of Bossier City, La., died March 7 as a result of a non-combat incident at an undisclosed base in Southwest Asia. He was assigned to the 307th Maintenance Squadron, Barksdale Air Force Base, La.

If my sources are right, this would make the 2,158th American service member to die in support of “Operation Enduring Freedom,” hopefully in support of freedom and rights above and beyond a l6-oz. cup of soda.

And yes, Memeorandum did cover this.

Way down, at the bottom right hand corner of the blog page, well “below-the-fold,” there was one news item on this other kind of freedom: “2 U.S. troops killed in Afghanistan insider attack.”

I want to believe that Americans are interested in what goes on in Afghanistan — some disgusted with our continued involvement there, many angered by the antics of the Afghan leaders, most of us frustrated, but all of us saddened by the latest events there.

And I know that the soda cup issue is just symbolic of what many sincerely believe is a case of government overreach and of infringement upon consumers’ personal liberty — of the “Nanny State syndrome.”

After this weekend’s and this morning’s news from Afghanistan, and considering all the other events in the world, I felt that today we just did not have our priorities straight. But that’s just me.

And, finally, I am very frustrated, too. That’s why I use words such as “hopefully” and “supposedly” when referring to our efforts in support of “freedom” in Afghanistan.

Author: DORIAN DE WIND, Military Affairs Columnist

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