Whatever one may think about America, this day last year 3000 people were
murdered in a cluster of terrorist acts. Many of those people died gruesome
deaths. If one believes that those deaths were somehow justified - whether
it be by guilt of association, the crime of being American, the rules of
realpolitik, America deserving it ( note the abstraction, America deserves
it but individual Americans, Britons, Mexican etc burn to death.) - then you
must accept that the innocent are fair game in war/life/conflict. To do
otherwise, as I have seen many do here lately - is to bite a big bullet very
If I can burn to death Americans because on my relative scale they deserve
it, then of course Americans can burn me and mine because on their relative
scale we deserve it in return.
One cannot complain that 'Americans' - by enforcing United nations
sanctions - are killing Iraqi children then in the same breath denounce the
Americans for vetoing UN resolutions against Israel.
The choice is simple: Either it is wrong to deliberately kill innocent
people or it is not - even at war. I suspect many would agree, but then one
finds there are debates about just who is and is not "guilty". Is a child
guilty of the sins of the father? Is someone guilty of the crimes someone of
their race, ethnic group or nation commits? Of course not!
Then how is it that American can somehow be worthy of murder for alleged
crimes they almost certainly had no part in playing? Group punishments are a
Hermit and I have both been wondering about this lately: How is an Haitian,
fresh from his citizenship class and oath ceremony suddenly guilty and
deserving of murder? How about Norberto Hernandez, a Puerto Rican chef who
leaped - horribly burned - from the World Trade Centre. Why was he guilty
and according to what law was his terrible death justified?
It was not. If we admit the idea of racial or national or ethnic guilt we
let loose the horror of group crime and raw fascism. This is precisely what
organisations like Al Qaeda need: Group and Identity based shortcuts. Easy
guilt. Moral certainly.
Just establish that at some points in its history a powerful nation abused
or perhaps misused its power and you have a indefinite right to punish all
those associated with it forever.
When America was fighting a war against the Japanese - amongst the most
ruthless expansionist fascistic racial purist genocidal killers in history,
and it is to be blamed for using it war ending bombs. There are those who
believe that America started the war with a reluctant, innocent Japan.
Indeed, I have been told the Japanese atrocities at Nanking and elsewhere
were to be discounted because the two countries had been at war for
centuries. The Japanese had been rapidly expanding their Empire in the
pacific for nearly 10 years before the outbreak of war with the USA. It is
true that the first shot fired was American. But it was at a Japanese sub on
a mission inside Pearl Harbour. I am staggered by the revisionism I keep
encountering. No doubt people soon start suggesting the Nazis were not all
bad and American war crimes were equivalent to those of the Germans,
Japanese and the Russians.
Another frequently trotted out anti-American line is criticism of its
behaviour during the cold war. America behaved like a country involved in a
cold war. Remarkably enough so did the Soviet Union. They both prosecuted
unjust wars, propped up bad governments, armed their enemies enemies
regardless of their any other consideration.
This is what Superpowers do when they are involved in Cold Wars. Our only
two examples show an incredible degree of similarity in this regard.
America is a great country. Americans are a great people. It has blessed the
world with many of its best innovations, systems and ideas. It has been a
massive force for good and peace in the world. It has righted itself,
excised its wrongs and relentlessly attacked injustices within itself and
abroad. It continues to improve despite betrayal, terrorist murder attacks
and the gravest threats of nuclear, chemical or biological weapons being
used against it.
Norman Mailer's America - a 7 foot giant Adonis worried about the whiff from
its underarms - still asks nicely and treads carefully despite its peers
being runts and homunculi . It answers even though nothing can command it.
Despite being able to crush any opposition, it consults and tries to
It walks tall, carries a massive stick and unlike virtually every
predecessor, it has used it sparingly and justly.
America has been and continues to be the good guy. Long may it prosper. Long
may it be strong. Thanks for everything you have done for us all, America.
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