Ok, I've had it up to here with people telling me "You're not protecting my rights in Iraq." I'm going to settle this for you idiots right now.
For there to be a true threat to the rights and freedoms of American citizens, more than half of the world would have to unite in a massive military campaign with the specific intention of either subjugating or destroying the U.S. The odds of this actually happening are virtually nil, and will remain that way for as long as:
1) The U.S. Military is the most elite and effective fighting force in the world, and
2) We remain on friendly terms with most of the world's other superpowers, and indeed most of the world period.
So I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for a conflict in which we are LITERALLY fighting for your freedom. Now, read this very carefully, and get it through your heads: Number 1 means that the rights and freedoms of American citizens are passively protected by our VERY EXISTENCE. Our current mission is irrelevant. Thus, pointing out that the conflicts we're fighting in are not directly protecting your rights is like pointing out that the police and firefighters in your area, whenever they're not right there on your doorstep saving your life, are not protecting you from crime and fire. We, like them, are ALWAYS ready to give our lives for our primary purpose at a moment's notice, and THAT is what keeps you free. So please, do try not to be so stupid as to suggest that we're not protecting your rights. We're ALWAYS protecting your rights, even when we're off-duty and enjoying time at home with our families.
Furthermore, to ensure number 2 is upheld, we are obligated to wield our might for the sake of more than just ourselves. We're in Afghanistan hunting those responsible for 9/11... it's arguably the first time we've entered combat for nothing but our own sake in nearly half a century. We went into Iraq to remove a dictator from power, free the people he oppressed and create a new ally in a very volatile region of the world. That's still our mission, and it's very much on track and making progress.
In the process, Al Qaeda saw an opportunity to fight us, and like they always have and always will do every time they see such an opportunity, they jumped on it. I'm not going to explain Islamic extremism here, if you want to know why Al Qaeda hates us, study the Quran and understand that they think Baywatch is an accurate example of the American lifestyle.
Honestly, me and most other Marines I know don't really care that AQ has stepped into the fight, because we understand them, and we know that as long as both Al Qaeda and the U.S. exist, we're going to be killing one another at every opportunity, until either a) one of us is destroyed, or b) Al Qaeda becomes willing to negotiate with us and settle things diplomatically.
When the day comes that we're no longer in Iraq, I assure you Al Qaeda will come and fight us someplace else. You can count on that. And if we're not careful, "someplace else" could be right here at home. Don't fool yourself into believing we're so impregnable that they can't pull it off... 9/11 proved that we're not so invulnerable.
Anyway, I'm getting off topic. Let me finish by saying that if you EVER suggest that the U.S. military isn't protecting your rights and freedoms as an American citizen just because they just happen to be fighting for some other mission at the time, you're retarded. As I explained, and not for the last time I'm sure, we safeguard your rights and freedoms with every moment we exist and every breath we take, regardless of what other missions we may take on.