Historically uninformed and disingenuous rhetoric that ‘America does no wrong’ does nothing to further America’s interests
As I write this I am aware and prepared for the groundswell of responses that will deem me “un-American” and anything but a “patriot” (whatever that means nowadays). We are a proud people, and we have reason to be, but we also are people, and do therefore have flaws. Our people, our government, our nation, like the rest of the world’s civilization is anything but perfect.
The rhetoric that has seethed in the United States for a while, particularly in the last decade, has centered around American perfectionism. When W. Bush was pressed on the Iraq War, with the full disclosure of no WMDs and links to terrorism, W. asserted he still would have proceeded with the War in Iraq. On a recent appearance on FoxNews Rep. John Boehner pronounced America has nothing to be ashamed of. His shortsightedness, disrespect for history, and arrogance is (unfortunately) not harbored by just Boehner. Not once in this appearance did Mr. Boehner ever mention any “mistakes” America has made. Boehner, like many, seems content with wearing their rose-colored glasses that America is perfect.
Fact is that no one is perfect. Nothing is perfect. No nation is perfect.
We are all human beings and nations run by flawed humans. One commonality shared by each and every person across the globe is that we all make mistakes. Mankind, whether by design or not, is adept at making mistakes. What makes a truly wise person and nation is a keen ability to learn and rebound from mistakes.
This piece is not to launch and assault on our nation. Far from it. I believe we are an extremely intelligent and well-intentioned nation. However, to proceed with governance and international diplomacy as if we have never made a mistake only hurts our efforts. We must learn from our history, our mistakes, in order to ensure the sustainability of our nation, of our greatness. The excessive pride and bravado needs to take a backseat to honesty and humanity. Few people, and nations, will wish to work collaborate with and support a nation, the United States, that stubbornly believes it is flawless.
To recover economically and to effectively combat terrorism we will need the assistance and partnership of our international friends. The cavalier, and cowboy, United States cannot “win” the War on Terror alone. The “perfect” United States cannot sustain itself without some help abroad. We as a nation of men and women are a product of our flaws. No one person and no one nation is perfect. We must not dwell on our mistakes, but we should acknowledge and be cognizant of them as we proceed politically.
(And to satiate those of you that will call me “un-American” and lacking “examples”:
• Grounds for the Iraq War. No WMDs. No ties to 9/11. No links to terrorism; that is until WE went in and created a terrorist breeding ground.
• Supporting Sadaam Hussein’s ascension to power in Iraq. Yes, our shortsighted interests in implementing a savage, but secular anti-Iranian, leader in Iraq to stem any Iranian influence was essential. That was until that sociopath, Hussein, we put into power started attacking neighboring nations and slaughtering civilians…
• Supporting and then deserting the Afghans in their war against the Soviet Union. That boogieman of Communism certainly was a tremendous launching point for the Taliban, al-Qaeda, and bin Laden in the war ravaged nation of Afghanistan.
• Start of the Vietnam War. Dolphins or torpedoes? Who cares? They’re Communists, let’s fight!
• Infecting Guatemalans with STDs. Oops, our bad… Hey, if we didn’t do it who’s to say they wouldn’t have done it to themselves? It was our own effort at abstinence only education… Was the recent ‘our bad’ enough for the Guatemalans?…