Loves us, loves us not, loves us, loves us not

Loves us, loves us not, loves us, loves us not
: I was shocked to read in the NY Times today — especially today — this incredibly broad lead:

In the two years since Sept. 11, 2001, the view of the United States as a victim of terrorism that deserved the world’s sympathy and support has given way to a widespread vision of America as an imperial power that has defied world opinion through unjustified and unilateral use of military force…. The war in Iraq has had a major impact on public opinion, which has moved generally from post-9/11 sympathy to post-Iraq antipathy…

Oh, come on. Nothing is that simple or that quick (or that stupid).

This just feeds the why-do-they-hate-us agenda (see PBS, below).

And what really worries about me is that if it’s repeated enough — on the front page of what is perhaps the world’s leading newspaper, on the country’s public televison — then it becomes accepted wisdom in certain quarters or, worse, justification for attacks in other quarters.

That lesson should be terribly clear this day of all days. It’s one matter to disagree with a policy of another country or dislike that country’s leader; that comes and goes. It’s quite another to start saying that the country is the subject of “antipathy.” That’s true only among terroristic fascists; the rest of the world has more sense and civility.

  • http://www.thepornographyofpower.com Tom J. Wright

    Jeff, you’re living in La La Land if you think that dislike for the United States from around the world merely “comes and goes” and is just a side note in comparison to your self-pity and righteousness.
    Our government has destroyed so many democracies and maimed so many millions in the last 100 years, that we are the very personification of evil to countless billions of people around the world; countless billions who form a gigantic pool of potential recruits for the likes of radicals such as bin Laden and others.
    For those in need of a refresher course in the history of U.S. interventionism that continues to fuel anti-American hatred to this day, I will mention only two case studies out of dozens: Iran and Chile.
    In the early 1950’s, the U.S. violently and illegally overthrew the democratically elected government of Iran, installed a dictator in his place, the Shah (who terrorized, tortured, and murdered tens of thousands of Iranian people for decades) and took over its formerly nationalized oil industry and gave control to U.S. multi-national oil companies.
    The 1979 Iranian Revolution, the U.S. hostage crisis, and the intense hatred of America throughout the Middle East, all followed that initial American-backed coup. In fact, the 50th Anniversary of the overthrow of Iran’s government by the United States was just recently remembered, with front-page newspaper articles appearing all over Iran and many other countries across the region.
    In Chile, in 1973, the U.S. government gave that country its very own 9/11. In that year, on September 11, Nixon and Kissinger overthrew Salvador Allende, the newly elected President of Chile, murdered him, installed their puppet dictator Augusto Pinochet and oversaw the destruction of Chilean society for the next twenty five years, as well as the murder, torture, and rape of countless Chilean citizens.
    Chile, is to this day, still dealing with the devastating effects of that violent overthrow of its democratically elected government.
    Such acts of United States-sponsored terrorism are not popular topics of conversation here in America, although they are discussed regularly everywhere else in the world. However, if America is going to summon the courage and the strength to face reality, the truth of the past must be acknowledged, and dealt with.
    Our government must renounce the use of terrorism for any and all purposes, including expanding its empire and enriching its corporations. To do anything less, is to give countless billions still more reason to join the fight against the “Great Satan”.

  • http://www.buzzmachine.com Jeff Jarvis

    No, Tom, I’m the one living in America. You’re the one living in Lalaland. Or if you’re not, you should defect.

  • http://www.grotto666.com/alqaedachat/index.htm Chris

    The Times today was shameful. The front page was such an editorial I wanted to puke… then I turned to the real op-ed page and they couldn’t help to bring up the 1973 Chilean coup on sept 11th… right then and there I ran to the newsstand to pick up a Wall Street Journal. Sigh.
    I think people are forgetting.

  • http://www.grotto666.com/alqaedachat/index.htm Chris

    One more thing… I dont really give a shit if someone doesn’t view the US “favorably”. Maybe I should… but not today.

  • Catherine

    Tom – it is discussed regularly in the circles you choose to flock in, not most people from anywhere.
    When you only socialize with your political set, you are bound to think everyone agrees with you.
    People like you in these circles also tend to pat yourselves on the back a lot feeling brave somehow for your hatred of your country much like most of those in Academia or at the other end of the scale in Hollywood. It’s a form of masochism and you derive a lot of pleasure out of it.
    Let’s say the US is a terrorist as you suppose. By that standard, so is Britain, certainly France, USSR/Russia, China, Japan, the Netherlands…just to name a few. I guess we all “got it coming” then don’t we?
    When you do get a real grip on history and can compose a real argument, maybe I will listen.
    I agree with Jeff on this one. I’ll help you pack.

  • Catherine

    OOoohhh – I forgot terrorist Australians…they had it coming in Indonesia for there meddling with a coup in Timor. Imperialist bastards!

  • Tom Wright

    Wow! The stench of unthinking ignorance and nutty right-wing radicalism in here is overpowering!
    I had no idea I had landed in such a rat’s nest of neo-fascist, our-government-can-do-no-wrong terminal dumbness! You guys belong in 1930’s Italy with Mussolini and the blackshirts.
    Jeff and Catherine, I’ll help YOU pack!

  • http://www.lolajl.net/blog/ Lola

    No, Tom, I’ll help YOU pack, and I’m sure we’ll all chip in for a one-way ticket to North Korea . . .

  • Old Grouch

    Is invoking Mussolini good enough to call Godwin’s Law?
    I think so. Sorry, you lose. Thanks for playing.
    (And BTW, you need to get your DNS entry fixed ;o))

  • Tom Wright

    Great Lola! We’ll add you to the list of “Fascists For America” who hate anyone who thinks differently from them.
    It’s too bad that you were born 50 years too late. Benito and the Boys could’ve sure used lots of you nutty far-right types to tell all those people in Italy back then who dared to criticize their government, to pack their bags and go somewhere else if they didn’t want to support the Nazis and Fascists. Great stuff, Lola!
    Are there real people out there who are this stupid!?!

  • http://www.solomonia.com/blog Solomon

    Current world population stands at about 6 billion. That’s 1-2-3-4-5-6 billion. There, I’ve counted them. They’re no longer countless.
    I always laugh when I hear the “we expended our good will” line. I thought they already disliked us. That’s why they attacked us. Remember? We’re supposed to ask, “Why do they hate us?” and then go down the litany of dastardly deeds our country has committed over the last couple centuries.
    The truth is, 9-11 bought us just a momentary respite where certain portions of the world had to, by their own internal standards of hand-wringing for the oppressed, feign sympathy and give it a rest for a minute. Of course that “goodwill” was about as thin as piss on a rock and lasted about as long as it took for the rest of the world to realize we weren’t just going to sit there and take it.

  • http://www.thelemon.net shamus

    I didn’t realize we had done such horrible things to Iran and Chile – I guess that’s why they attacked us. Or wait – the hijackers were Saudis, right? Er – but don’t we give them billions of dollars every year? Still?
    Its all so confusing. I wish someone that really Gets It could just post a comment to enlighten the visitors to this site.
    But what would a right-winger like Jeff Jarvis know about something like that? His unwavering support of Bush and his vitrol-filled screeds against Clinton have made this page a veritable hotbed of Neocon Facist Imperialist thought!
    Tee Hee. I know, I know, DO NOT FEED THE TROLLS.
    Jeff, you can be my right-wing radical any day. :)

  • Thomas

    Tom – it’s the same ole “USA Bad, Rest of the World Good” that academia and the radical left tries to shove down our throat.
    Even though you want to take this in the direction of discussing America’s mistakes – and no one around here is arguing we’ve been flawless – the bottom line is that this is not the day nor the situation to do it in. It was NOT America’s fault that these Islamic Pigs (yes, deliberate word play) chose to attack us.
    “Do not condemn the judgement of another because it differs from your own. You may both be wrong.” – Dandemis

  • Tom Wright

    It’s “vitriol” champ, not vitrol. But I guess you were too busy trying to be a smart ass to check your spelling, hey shamus.
    And while you’re doing that, re-read my initial post, champ. I used Iran and Chile only as two examples among dozens around the world merely to highlight why our government is so detested by so many. (Okay, a show of hands right now–how many other slow learners in the class, boys and girls?)
    Millions of Saudis hate us because we fund state-sponsored terror and occupation in Israel and because we’ve got U.S. military bases pockmarked across their country to ensure access to their crude, in addition to the fact that we’ve overthrown about a million of the governments of their cousins in neighboring countries.
    You don’t have to be an Einstein, champ to figure out that when you fuck someone over enough times, that someone is gonna try to fuck you over whenever and however they get a chance.
    Come on shamus, even you should be able to figure that one out, “tee hee”.

  • Tom Wright

    Thanks for your comments Thomas. Unlike the vast majority of the other quite creepy commentators on this site (to be honest with you), you seem to have some sense in your head.
    However, both Jeff, whose site this appears to be, and the New York Times, brought up the topic of terrorism, anger at the United States government, and all the fall-out thereof, not I.
    It is also crucial to note that although most of the world dislikes the United States GOVERNMENT, for what it has done to them and their loved ones, it harbors little ill-will toward the American PEOPLE, who are seen as its ignorant pawns.
    Hop on a plane and go to Cairo, Beirut, Limassol, Damascus, Kuwait City, Gaza City or Amman and talk to the people in the shops and the streets and the apartments and you will instantly see what I mean.
    The other reason I am discussing this topic Thomas, besides the fact that Jeff brought it up himself, is that if we are to avoid another 9/11, with other innocent lives tragically and stupidly lost, fundamental changes in foreign policy are going to have to happen RIGHT NOW.
    The sooner the majority of Americans realize that, the safer they will be. And fortunately, as we see Bush Jr.’s illegal wars increase, not decrease, terrorism around the world, more and more Americans are coming to that realization.
    My only hope is that it is not too late…

  • balbulican

    Tom, the messenger needs a Kevlar vest around here…
    It’s interesting, sad, and characteristic, that the folks who responded to Tom didn’t bother to contradict his statements about US state sponsored terrorism…you simply told him, in one form or another, that you are offended by his view and choose not to acknowledge that it has any validity. Several express dismay that inconvenient and uncomfortable realities are actually being talked about.
    I live in Canada. I work in Europe, Central America, the Caribbeans, and New Zealand. Guys, from what I’ve seen, read, and heard, the Times got it right, whether you like it or not…most of the world thinks the American Government has gone Kurtz. Not the American people…but your government. And I think there’s a fair amount of evidence for that view, much of it visible on this Blog, where several regular contributors have argued passionately that the US has a moral right to act unilaterally anywhere, any time, against a threat that that only the US has the right to validate (subject, of course, to revisionism when the WMDs don’t turn up).

  • http://spleenville.com/ Andrea Harris

    Interesting. I rarely hang around websites whose readers and writers espouse viewpoints that I find so disgusting that I can only describe them using terms like “stench,” “nuttiness,” “fascist,” and so on. But trolls like Tom Wright can’t seem to stay away. Could it be that they really don’t believe the things they are saying, and need to start regular arguments with others in order to reinforce their own shaky beliefs? Sometimes I wonder. I mean, all that typing is a lot of effort to go through for people you obviously think are beyond redemption.
    As for you, balbulican — Canadian, huh. Yeah, America is bad, America is evil, but Canadians have always been perfect angels. (Ignore all those First Nations members behind the curtain.) I’d like to see how awful you find America when you or a family member needs kidney transplant and finds out you are on a five-year waiting list. How fast do I think you’ll turn up south of the border then?

  • linden

    Tom Wright, I suggest you read this. It’s really quite excellent and emphasizes how naive the world view of many is: The Immaculate Conception Theory of Foreign Policy
    “Key to the immaculate conception case with regard to Iran is the rather flat portrait presented of the shah

  • Jos

    “most of the world thinks the American Government has gone Kurtz.”
    Most of the rest of the world was silent during the genocides in Rawanda, Bosnia, Cambodia, Congo, etc. Not the US was much better than the rest of the world, but the only ‘tragedies’ they seem to recognize are the ones that they claim US troop will cause. Usually the very same troops that have been keeping them safe for decades.
    Weren’t Canadian peacekeepers on the ground in Rawanda in 1994 and charged with keeping the peace?
    How’d that work for the Rawandans?
    Too bad for them Canada didn’t go a little Kurtz on their behalf … a million Rawandans died, but the Canadians were spared the curse of taking decisive action, preserving their moral dignity and & high international esteem.
    So its not like they died for nuthin’.

  • linden

    “most of the world thinks the American Government has gone Kurtz.”
    The best part of this quote is how ridiculous it is. If we’d gone Kurtz, the Middle East would be one big steaming radioactive hole in the ground. And all Muslims would be in camps to be either deported or exterminated.
    Get a grip. If the rest of the world really thinks such a thing, perhaps they should use their imagination for once.

  • balbulican

    Andrea…how do I say this politely…grow up.
    No country is angelically good, and no country is demonically evil. The US ain’t evil, and Canada ain’t heaven. I made two points, neither of which you respond to:
    – that the US is losing what international sympathy it had post Sept. 11th, courtesy of Mr. Bush’s ham handed “diplomacy”. You may not care about that…fine. It happens to be true.
    – that criticism of US foreign policy tends to generate a reaction of pure rage from the folks in this Blog…an assertion you kindly confirmed with your post.
    I usually ignore sidebar insults intended to deflect criticism, but yours are so silly I can’t really pass them up.
    I think before you critique Canada’s handling of First Nations, you should read a bit about it. We didn’t go to war with our First Nations…we acknowledged them as sovereign nations and negotiated treaties with them. You won’t find a Trail of Tears or a Wounded Knee in Canadian history. You’ll find some exploitation through treaties, which are currently being addressed through Land Claims negotiations.
    As for health care…I’m afraid you’ve been listening to your own politicians. I’m in my mid fifties, with the attendant medical state that implies…and I wouldn’t trade our health care system for yours for all the kidneys in China.
    All of which is silly. If your point is “Nyah, Nyah, Canada isn’t perfect”…gosh, I’ll concede. Yup. That’s true. Uh huh.
    Jos…if I understood your point, I’d respond. But you lost me. Yup, Canada was part of the UN peacekeeping force in Rwanda. Yup, it didn’t work. And the US was part of the UN peacekeeping force in Somalia. That didn’t work either. UN action DID work in Korea. And in East Timor. And in Guatemala. So…sorry, what were you trying to say?

  • cmonks

    I love how someone outs themselves as Canadian and immediately the Canadian bashing kicks in. Nice touch. This site is venturing closer and closer to O’Reilly Land every day.

  • traceman

    Do not worry folks. Most of the people in the US know that the print media tilts very left and has their own agenda. Any print from the New York Times or the LA Times immediately sends up a red flag to most readers. This is also why the network tv news outlets (ABC,NBC, and CBS) are having major ratings problems. Even the troops in Iraq know what is going on with the BS in the media. I see one thing on tv and hear another from friends in Baghdad. The war on terror has exposed to the American people the liberal frauds and their double standard tactics.
    Check out the latest poll on the Wall Street Journal’s Op-ed page titled “What Iraqis Really Think”. These findings reinforce what I am hearing from MP’s in Baghdad : “57% of Iraqis with an opinion have an unfavorable view of Osama BL, with 41% of those saying it is a very unfavorable view. (Women are especially down on him.)
    The statements that Americans have slaughtered innocents are profoundly untrue…”Evidence of the comparative gentleness of this war can be seen in our poll. Less than 30% of our sample of Iraqis knew or heard of anyone killed in the spring fighting. Meanwhile, fully half knew some family member, neighbor or friend who had been killed by Iraqi security forces during the years Saddam held power.” And yes the ” two- thirds of those with an opinion wanted the coalition forces to stick around for at least another year.”
    This poll I believe proves we have won the war in Iraq. We have won their hearts. The majority of Iraqis believe that democracy can work there, and most would like their government to model the United States as opposed to the Baathist Syria, Islamic Saudia Arabia, the Islamic republic of Iran or the Arab Egypt.
    America does not need apologists or fault finders…..Such stuff can be crippling, Jean Francois Revel said, “Clearly a civilization that feels guilty for everything it is and does will lack the energy and conviction to defend itself.” In otherwords, if the liberals had it their way, brace yourself for another 9/11.

  • Robert Swaim

    Tom Wright
    Did you miss any of the talking points over at Alternet? Looks like you may be running out of “original” opinions, better duck back over there and pick up a few more.

  • Catherine

    Bublican: You are an expert on world affairs because you “live in Canada…travel to Europe…” What does that mean? Give me a break buddy. I spend my life traveling on business and because some idiot German wanted to keep me out of the womens room line (German’s first) or some Italian woman selling me a Pepsi Lite notices my accent and behaves rudely I gather…all of Europe hates my guts. No, I don’t hang out with idiots or nationalist idiots.
    Tom…poor Tom…I didn’t call you names, just gave you my opinion. I disagree with you and I am a facist…am I CRUSHING DISSENT? CRUSHING YOUR FREE SPEECH?
    Maybe I was since you didn’t answer any of my questions, just name called. “Facist” “Mussolini.” How come the fanatics on this board never answer questions, but name call? How many times I have answered someone only to have them call me names rather than answer a simple question?
    Cowards. Answer the questions, debate, own up to mistakes. Don’t hide cowards.

  • Rootbeer

    traceman, I was intrigued to read about the poll of Iraqis you cite in your message. It was administered by Zogby, who AFAIK don’t have a reputation for partisan behavior.
    Unfortunately all I could find about it on Zogby’s own site was this pessimistic take on it from The Financial Times. (Note to Guy Dinmore: when more poll respondents choose one answer option than any other option, it’s not fair to say they “settled for” it.)

  • http://www.gapingvoid.com hugh macleod

    I thought this was interesting: on the evening of 9/10, the BBC showed a documentary on the 30 year anniversary of the Chilean coup.
    What was its title? “The Other 9/11″.
    Made me want to puke.

  • http://www.e-script.de/ Ulf

    One more comment on sympathy/dislike coming from Old Europe, Germany:
    Digesting German weblogs yesterday, I found little, if not to say no memorials regarding 9/11 in 2001. On the other hand side, there were quite a lot of them on “The Other 9/11″ in Chile. I really wondered if our long time memory has been affected, or if we indeed slided from sympath to dislike within a couple of months, provoked by the US attack of Iraq. (For those of you who understand German: yesterday’s original post)
    But I would like to add, that – as Jeff mentioned in his original posting – most of the people I read, actually do not like the US government’s behaviour. The vast majority in our country is able make a clear distinction between America, American people, and Mr Bush.
    Uh, yes, I’m really keen on finding out if there will be some German bashing following my appearance … =;o)

  • http://www.evanizer.com Evan Izer

    Well, Germany certainly doesn’t have anything to be ashamed about in their past, do they? But, hey, we don’t hate the German people, or the French people either. We just hate your leaders and the oppressive bureaucracy of the EU that you have buried yourselves under. We feel sorry that you are all such sheep in supporting them! But you don’t care, do you? Getting fat on Cassoulet and weisswurst and driving in your inefficient Renaults, your minds numbed by hours slumped in the seats of the Staatsoper dulled to complacency by a mediocre production of Der Fliegende Holl

  • http://www.e-script.de/ Ulf

    That’s exactely what I have been waiting for. Thanks, Evan, for fulfilling my wildest dreams!

  • http://www.evanizer.com Evan Izer

    Always happy to oblige a European friend.
    I had to turn up the Cynical Bitter Irony machine pretty high for that one. I think I burned out the motor on the poor thing.

  • http://spleenville.com/ Andrea Harris

    Isn’t it funny that Americans are supposed to take America-bashing in stride, but oh, we mustn’t criticize anyone else.
    Balbulican: people who start their arguments with “grow up” don’t get read by me. I did skim, and I gather that your health is in great shape. Skoll.

  • balbulican

    Andrea, No problem. Pity you missed the bit about the difference between Canadian and American treatment of First Nations, you might have found it interesting.
    Catherine, if you’re under the impression that the rest of the world is supportive of the American invasion and occupation, I suggest you read some of the international press. Confident prediction: you will then move to Right Wing Position Two, which is…Well, Who Cares What Those Darned Foreigners Care, Anyway??
    Jos, one more reminder…Canada does have troops in Afghanistan. Four less after your guys bombed them accidentally, of course, but still a fair contingent.

  • Jack Tanner

    ‘Our government has destroyed so many democracies’
    Uh…name one. apparently you’re confused between the concept of democracy and dictatorship.

  • Jos

    Canadian armed forces have always performed bravely and well, and that includes the peace keepers in Rawanda. And no one expected canada to rush across the Atlantic to stop genocide.
    But the the Canadian government did not lead a diplomatic effort to stop the genocide that their own armed forces were witnessing. And there was no Canadian public outcry or peace marches to pressure the UN or anyone else to do something.
    Canadian leaders had a chance to stand up for something. They could have exerted moral leadership without sending more soldiers overseas.
    They didn’t. They rejected the anguished cries of their own armed forces to take some sort of diplomatic action to help.
    They were silence, they allowed genocide to continue as their own soldiers watched without protest.
    Anything’s better than going all Kurtz isn’t it – can’t have Europe calling you a cowboy and all, now can you?
    I think a million dead Rawandans is a small price to pay for that warm we’re-not-cowboys feeling.

  • http://www.modempool.com/nucleardann/blogspace/blog.htm Dann

    America grew strong by defending individualism; the absolute right of one person to act (or not act) regardless of what his/her neighbors believe. Our respect for individual liberty was such that any ordinary vote of 99 to 1 was insufficent to strip the “1” of their rights.
    And how many times has the unique person doing something different given birth to an idea that revolutionized the world?
    Our current campaign is quite similar. We are engaged in doing the right thing. The rest of the world opts for the easy way out.
    The current choice is between thugs that want to rule a world stuck in the 7th century or liberty. The next choice will be between some other oppressive, narrow minded group of thugs and liberty.
    My hope is that America will always choose liberty.

  • Catherine

    Is it a coincidence that La Monde carries two Anti-American cartoons making fun of 9/11 and one had a Twin Tower with “Chile’s 9/11″ on it; the BBC runs a documentary and German newspapers write editorials spitting the same thing?
    It’s the new “they had it coming” mantra on the left in Europe.

  • balbulican

    Sorry, Jos, but you’re losing me. Canada, the US, and the UN did not intervene in Rwanda. What’s your point? (Honest, I’m not being wilfully obtuse here…what are you saying?)

  • KMK

    All this bickering and finger pointing from such bright people detracts from the fact that on 9/11 we were attacked. Unjustifiably attacked. The answer to why can’t be found in a history book. We coexist in world where some people have chosen a path of rabid desire to cause death, destruction and fear, made all the more martyrly better with their owe demise. This isn’t against the US only. Not long ago a hijacked plane was on it’s way to bring down the Eiffel tower. People with ulterior motives are being found along with caches of weapons, explosives and extensive plots outside the US. We have entered a new/old age in warfare and it should be met with a unified resounding NO. No credence or tolerance should be given to the argument that we brought this on ourselves. How many more attacks have to be thwarted? How many more attacks have to happen? Give me a location, tell me where they have to be carried out. Give me a number how many more people have to die? How much more will it take till we stand unified and say NO MORE?

  • Declan

    Exactly! genau!

  • Maureen Lynch

    Ah yes, as Ulf & Balbulican ultimately get around to–it comes down to our President. Yup, because George Bush is President, 3000 people deserved to die. If only George Bush wasn’t President, if only the US did EXACTLY what all the other (1st world countries) say we should do, then everyone would love us & we’d all get along in perfect harmony. And let’s be sure to bring up the many, yes, wrong things we’ve done in the past–because certainly 3000 office workers (not all American, but hey they were in the US so they had it coming) deserve to die for something Nixon did. Quick question–if we are killing office workers now for countries’ international wrongdoings, how many in England, France, Belgium, Germany, Italy, et al die? Or is there a statute of limitations on international wrongs (it would have to be fairly recent, since the countries just mentioned were guilty of severe depredations in the Middle East & Africa less than 100 years ago). And please, a show of hands from ANYONE who thinks bin Laden started these attacks because of CHILE?!?!
    Yes, Tom, U, & B–the US did do wrong in Iran & in funding Hussein initially. Yes we did. Yes we did in many other countries. And you know what? We’re saying, in the case of Hussein, that we were wrong. We’re saying, Not in My Name, will Hussein gas any more Kurds, put more children in jail, torture, rape, maim, fill burial pits with thousands of victims. We were wrong to fund him in the past, & now we’re rectifying the mistake. You might also remember that Bush recently proposed a billion dollars to Africa to help fight AIDS. Is that bad too because it’s Bush, or is that perhaps us realizing another area where we could (& should) be doing something?
    But, if we just vote George Bush out, everyone will love us again. As long as we vote for who Europeans & Canadians think we should vote for–& of course, if that President humbly begs the UN to sign off on any policy initiative (just like Clinton did NOT), it’ll just be fine.

  • http://www.e-script.de/ Ulf

    @Maureen: Well, no! Nobody has deserved to die because Mr Bush is president, or because of any other reason. What I intended to imply was that the outside world would consider America acceptable, lovable, call it whatever you like, if your first man – whoever it is – acted, spoke, behaved more considerate, more tactful, and less ruthless – as it could be expected from a person who is indeed the most powerful man on earth.
    Unfortunately, the feeling that Mr Bush causes abroad is fear.

  • Tom Wright

    To respond briefly(?) to just a couple of comments. (My free time is limited, folks. I work two jobs. Sorry!):
    It was quite interesting and entertaining to watch someone attempt to whitewash history and the violent acts of an Iranian dictator, in writing. Linden, I give you credit for courage, if not sense.
    Someone else asked which democracies we’ve destroyed; by “we” I mean the U.S. government, not we the people. Salvador Allende was democratically elected by the people of Chile to be their President before Kissinger & Co. decided to overthrow his government and install a puppet dictator to terrrorize the citizenry.
    In Guatemala, in the early 1950’s, we took the democratically elected President of that country, installed our own dictator friendly to U.S. business interests (specifically the United Fruit Company) and enthusiastically helped him murder over 200,000 native Guatemalans who took umbrage at the fact that a foreign government wrecked their country.
    In Greece in the 1960’s, the U.S. decided that the government in charge there wasn’t right-wing enough–so we destroyed it, using the CIA. Thousands of Greek men, women and children died, as we supported the most ruthless, right-wing fascists and dictators we could find in order to maintain all-important stability (our corporate investors on Wall Street demanded it, of course).
    Those are just a few examples. We’ve invaded Panama, for various selfish reasons, 11 times, since 1903 and Haiti almost a dozen times during the same period. We killed 500,000 or more in the Phillipines when we colonized those miserable souls.
    The point is, these acts have repercussions. Our foreign policy of conquering, killing and destroying must stop right now. We have to match our lofty rhetoric instead of undermine it.
    Democratic administrations have been as guilty of this state-sponsored terrorism, at times, as Republican administrations. There’s plenty of blame to go around.
    That doesn’t make what happened on 9/11 (in the U.S., not Chile) right, but it certainly gives one an understanding of motive.
    And just as a prosecutor in criminal court who explains to the jury the motive of the accused, is not justifying the crime, only explaining its cause, I am trying to get to motive and, in the end, to get our government to be a force for good, not evil, so that others will lack the motive to attack us again, as they did so destructively on 9/11.
    There’s a reason, after all, that nations like Canada, which mirrors the U.S. in so many ways–its culture, its language, its landmass, except for its foreign policy of course, lays to the north of us, unharmed and untouched, a reason you don’t see angry Iranians burning Canadian flags in the streets of Tehran, a reason you don’t hear Canada called the “Great Satan”.
    The governments of Canada haven’t made a practice of raping, pillaging, maiming, terrorizing and destroying in the name of oil, investments and corporate loot, as the governments of the U.S. have.
    Like I said before, this ain’t rocket science folks.

  • balbulican

    Maureen, I guess there’s someone else logging is as Balbulican…because you’re certainly not talking about anything I said.

  • Declan

    Ugh!!
    More garbage from LaLaLand?? I’ve had enough.
    Please guys – get a grip.

  • Declan

    AH-HA!!
    Berkely, California – it all makes sense now.

  • Catherine

    Tom, it’s not rocket science, but it’s not the truth either. Read ForeignPolicy.com. There is an excellent piece in there by Fouad Ajami who is the Majid Khadduri professor at John Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, or yesterdays editorial in the WSJ on Chile, Pinochet and the truth written by Bill Whelan, a scholar and former professor at University in Chile (I don’t remember the name off hand).
    Who trained and aided Pinochet’s secret service Tom? The French. The same people who made a mess out of Africa. They were behind the murders and torture. And Allende who Pinochet toppled wasn’t exactly a boyscout.
    The storys you create are myths.
    I will quote Lileks here :
    http://www.lileks.com/bleats/archive/03/0903/091103.html
    “Of course some people are impatient with those who still recall the shock of 9/11; the same people were crowding the message boards of internet sites on the afternoon of the attacks, eager to blame everyone but the hijackers. They hate this nation. In their hearts, they hate humanity. They would rather cheer the perfect devils than come to the aid of a compromised angel. They can talk for hours about how wrong it was to kill babies, busboys, businessmen, receptionists, janitors, fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers – and then they lean towards you, eyes wide, and they say the fatal word:
    But.
    And then you realize that the eulogy is just a preface. All that concern for the dead is nothing more than the knuckle-cracking of an organist who’s going to play an E minor chord until we all agree we had it coming.
    I’ve no doubt that if Seattle or Boston or Manhattan goes up in a bright white flash there will be those who blame it all on Bush. We squandered the world’s good will. We threw away the opportunity to atone, and lashed out. Really? You want to see lashing out? Imagine Kabul and Mecca and Baghdad and Tehran on 9/14 crowned with mushroom clouds: that’s lashing out. Imagine the President in the National Cathedral castigating Islam instead of sitting next to an Imam who’s giving a homily. Mosques burned, oil fields occupied, smart bombs slamming into Syrian palaces. We could have gone full Roman on anyone we wanted, but we didn’t. And we won’t. ”
    That’s the type of person you remind me of. You have your long list of wrongs that either didn’t happen or are greatly exaggerated. Mind you, I know of the wrongs of the CIA when it was out of control in the 1950’s and 60’s (but then we went overboard in constraining them), and the crimes of Henry Kissinger et al, but as I said, you can look at most developed countries and find they had leaders who did wrong and lives were lost. The US governments wrongs don’t come close to those of Japan to the Chinese; the Chinese to the Chinese; the Nazi Holocaust; The USSR to Ukrainians; Japan to the Phillipines; The Enlish to the Irish.
    Now I assume you will call me a fascist again…

  • rds

    Tom Wright, Ulf, and Babs:
    First, what America did for fifty years following WWII, at the expense of blood and treasure, was wage an extraordinarily high-stakes twighlight struggle against expansionist, imperialist communism. In the course of that effort, America at times supported some unsavory characters who were bulwarks against communism. That was unfortunate, but the end result of America’s effort was an massive increase of freedom for the world. Some recognition of the nobility and success of our cause, please.
    Second, you are frothing at the mouth at Bush, who, in two years, has freed 50 million people from two of the worst tyrannies that ever existed. He has accomplished more for freedom than any other nation save Britain has ever done in their entire histories. We are supposed to listen to Germany, France, and Canada when they tell us to keep Saddam in power? Disgusting. Repulsive.

  • Tom Wright

    Your sychophancy toward Sir Psycho George Bush Jr. would be hilarious if it weren’t so frightening, rds.
    Shrub is a far-right, bible-thumping, anti-populist who’s legacy to the American People is nonstop war on the environment, sleazy corporate cronyism, bloated budget deficits, welfare for the wealthy, nonstop prevaricating and lies, endless war around the world and thousands of dead civilians, and a loathing of democracy.
    Dubya is easily one of the worst presidents in United States history–certainly one of lyingest and sleaziest. Hell, he may even be as sleazy as Rancid Ronald Reagan.
    You remember him, don’t you? He’s the guy who sponsored right-wing Death Squads and nun rapers in El Salvador and subverted the will of Congress by selling weapons to terrorists in Iran to fund his criminal enterprise in Nicaragua. Yeah, Rancid Ronnie is the same guy Shrub says is one of the people he looks up to!??! Nice fellas, huh guys?
    Catherine you’re either seriously deluded or ignorant of history if you really believe that the commonly referred to historical events I describe “either didn’t happen or are exaggerated”.
    Why is it that it’s always the wingnuts (who blindly and obediently support anything and everything their Masters in Washington tell them) who lack even the most basic of historical, geographic and political knowledge?
    It seems to be an Iron Law Of Political Discourse, that the more rabid, reactionary and right-wing any given joker’s viewpoints are, the more ignorant of history they invariably are. (Just listen to right-wing Hate Radio, or Fox News and the WSJ for ample proof of that.)
    Here’s the deal: if we want to stop terrorism, we’re gonna have to address its root causes, not its symptoms.
    Whining about how awful our enemies are and claiming how wonderful and angelic we are do nothing but make us look like assholes. It’s time for some clearheaded thinking and some tough introspection, along with a change in attitude and foreign policy.
    Clearly Bush Jr. is incapable of any of the above, and is incompetent. A far-right, compulsive liar who hands over our government to corporate criminals is not the person I want in charge of the war on terrorism.
    We need new leadership, pronto! Someone who understands the complexities of the world, is capable of dealing with diverse kinds of people and can grasp history and politics, not some numb nuts who sees the world in black and white and thinks it’s all a big John Wayne movie.
    See what happens when you let a Republican become President? The whole world goes to shit!!
    Bring back the Democrats!

  • http://spleenville.com/ Andrea Harris

    “Sir Psycho George Bush Jr.”
    Yawn.

  • Steve Teeter

    Tom Wright: You started this discussion by making some critical statements about American actions in the past, but they were specific and relevant, all to your credit. Some people took umbrage, especially as they thought your timing (Sept. 11) was a bit insensitive, especially on the blog of a man who saw the towers fall with his own eyes. You and some others in your political camp responded by saying that when the right wing can’t face the facts, when it has nothing solid with which to rebut criticism, it just resorts to name-calling. So some other commenters did come up with something solid to rebut your initial claims, specific facts and references to respected public affairs journals, and you did exactly what you accused the right wing of doing. You escalated the name-calling to previously unseen heights.
    Note that I haven’t said whether I agree with you or with your opponents. But when you resort to the very same tactics that you claim reveal the weakness of your opponents’ arguments, do you really think those of us out here reading don’t notice??

  • http://www.humanfirstthenproudiranian.blogspot.com Faramin

    Steeve Teeter,
    Couple of days before 4th of July, I congratulated Americans for their day of celebration. But since it was also the anniversary of Shooting down of the Iranian passenger air plane by the US navy ( on July the 3rd) that resulted in the death of 298 people, many of them children, I asked Americans to also remember those 298 people who were victimized by the American action. I was quickly accused of being insensitive by mentioning it at that time, but when is the time to mention those actions? for god sake, it was also the anniversary of that event.
    And now, it is the same here, September 11 is also the anniversary of the US-backed Coup against the democratically elected president of Chilie which resulted in years of Pinoche’s dictatorship to follow.
    My question is why should only non-Americans be sensetive to American issues, and why none of the American sensitive people (plenty of them right here in this thread), don’t give a damn about other people of the world who have been victimized by the actions of the US governments?
    Why do they thing they are more important than the others?

  • Steve Teeter

    Faramin: Fair point. I think you’re right that Americans should care about what the government does In Our Name. And no, there’s no intrinsic reason why people in other countries should care about matters American the way we do.
    That doesn’t change the fact that we do care. Thought experiment: You’re walking down the street and hear a squeal of tires. Some idiot blew a stop sign and ran into a crosswalk, and there are two women lying unconscious and injured on the ground. One you do not know. The other is your wife. Who do you worry about and tend to? Your wife, of course. Does this mean the other woman doesn’t matter, has no value? Of course not, but she’s not your wife.
    It happened to us, and goddammit we do have the right to take it personally. Can we insist that you do the same, in whatever country you live in? No, we can’t, and we don’t. The US did not demand that the whole world hold a memorial this last Thursday. But we did hold ours, and if someone had gone to Ground Zero, stood in the crowd, and made loud and disrespectful remarks about, say, New York Firefighters, being yelled at is the least he could expect. I think some people here felt that by making his remarks at that particular time, Tom Wright was doing something comparable.
    BTW, when I say, “Fair point,” I should commend you for actually making a point. What I was trying to say earlier is that Wright stopped making points long ago, and now is just screaming.

  • KMK

    Your right Tom Wright. It’s not rocket science. It’s history. Where do you get your opinion from? Peace Studies or the movie “Missing”? Have you ever read Los mil dias de Allende? Two very large volumes that chronicle Chile daily 9/70-9/73. Short on time how about here,
    http://val.dorta.com/archives/000343.html
    It’s one of the best written pieces I’ve ever read on a blog. You might learn something. Post cold war examples of “why they hate us”? What a bunch of left anti-American socialist crap. Your battle cry to “bring back the Democrats” is not based on principles, but on hatred for America and it’s core values. No thank you Tom Wright, your wrong.
    Faramin – On July 3, 1988, an Iran Air Airbus flight 655 taking off from Bandar Abbas to Dubai was mistakenly shot down by missiles fired by the American cruiser, the USS Vincennes, which was fighting Iranian gunboats. The victims included 53 women, 65 children and infants, 156 men and 16 crew members. Anyone who called you insensitive was an insensitive idiot.
    As I said in my original comment, no credence or tolerance should be given to the argument that we brought this on ourselves.

  • Tom Wright

    Hey, KMK–give the tired “you hate your country” routine a rest, will you? That’s the lame refrain that nutty hatemongers on the right always use against people they disagree with when their political arguments are empty and morally bankrupt.
    Does that describe you?