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Friday, June 09, 2006

Defining America Down

Many years from now, when historians look back on this period in our history, I fear that they will describe it as the moment when the idea of America lost its resonance in the world, when America became just another country.
 
I've traveled enough to know that America has long occupied a unique place in the collective consciousness of people across the globe. The idea of America has long encompassed a number of adjectives: some complimentary, some derogatory, but all distinctive and uniquely American. America is viewed as a nation of unparalleled decadence, of conspicuous and unapologetic consumption. But it is also viewed as the land of opportunity, a place where innovation and industriousness are rewarded like nowhere else. People around the world have long complained of American arrogance and self-importance, but on some level, they understand why Americans are proud of their country. They grudgingly admit that America has, for most of its history, been a powerful force for good in the world.
 
Americans' sincere and earnest belief in their founding principles, in freedom of speech and religion, the rule of law and constitutional democracy, have popularized those concepts throughout the world. America's continued success and vitality have proven not only that a government based on such principles can survive, but that it can flourish. The power of the American dream is ultimately what doomed communism.
 
America has long been a country dedicated to leading by example. It has been a country that tries to hold itself to its own high standards, regardless of how its enemies behave. That's why there have been countless documented examples over the years of enemy soldiers seeking out American troops in order to surrender, knowing that Americans would not mistreat them. That's the idea of America boiled down to its essence. It's a belief that America, for all its arrogance and annoying self-righteousness, is a country that stands for something important. It's a country that very much believes in its own principles and endeavors heroically to live up to them. That kind of reputation did not develop overnight; it was earned, slowly and painstakingly, by the deeds and actions of countless Americans over many decades.
 
And it's exactly that reputation that the Bush administration has carelessly pissed away over the last four years. Confronted by a particularly brutal and unprincipled enemy, our leaders decided that our principles were the problem. They were just too confining. So almost immediately, the Administration began defining American down. Torture was essentially defined out of existence. Novel legal theories were introduced justifying the circumvention of long-standing prohibitions. International treaty obligations and rules of war were disregarded. The rule of law itself was up-ended--in secret, by executive decree. Many of the most celebrated American principles were hastily cast aside. Just yesterday, the Los Angeles Times reported that the Pentagon has decided to omit the prohibition on "humiliating and degrading treatment" from the Army Field Manual on interrogation. Just add it to the list.
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2 Comments:

Blogger muddpony said...

pseudolus, you have obviously been sucking on the kool-aid nipple of the far left propaganda cow. The US is not torturing citizens of any country, to include our enemies, on anywhere close to a regular basis. Has it happened? It might have in a few isolated incidents and by people working OUTSIDE stated American policy and likely for very good reasons. (watch an episode of "24" for specific examples)

Actually most people outside of the socialist-liberal movement could care less if an Al-Queda thug is treated roughly or "humiliated or degraded". This is a WAR, not a Mary Poppins movie.

It's a male thing....no room for the female characteristics that define the left-wing. We can go back to the touchy-feely, hugs for everyone, liberal way once the business of saving America's ass(and the west in general) is taken care of.

Until then, feel free to whine

6/09/2006 4:27 PM  
Blogger pseudolus said...

You funny. The documentation is extant and widespread. Life is not an episode of '24'. Cute how you can refer to a fictional tv show as evidence. You are irrelevant. History will verify all this. Of course if a tv sitcom (sic) is your source of info I can see why you would be so ignorant. Now get out of your cammy pajammies, climb up the cellar stairs, go outside your mommie's house and see the real world around you. Amazing ain't it?

6/09/2006 7:50 PM  

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