Today Americans like myself celebrate on July 4, 229 years of freedom. We will celebrate the holiday in the usual diverse fashion - a family barbeque, a trip to the mall, a few hours in a movie theatre or at a baseball game, an evening of fireworks, or from abroad with friends.

Fortunately, we have the opportunity to enjoy the liberty our forefathers and foremothers fought for and defended in two world wars.

The sad fact, however, is that July 4 is no longer the same celebration it was years ago. Since 2001, the ideals of civil and political liberties that have been celebrated have been comprised in the name of security and insecurity, often undermining American credibility abroad and with an increasingly number of Americans at home.

Whether it is the ongoing fiasco in Iraq or the shocking reports of torture from Guantanamo prison, America is no longer seen as the genuine defender of freedom and its reputation has suffered considerably during the five-year tenure of the Bush administration.

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