one man's conspiracy is another man's business plan
Sunday, June 04, 2006 | Understanding America the Exceptional: A Guide for the World's Perplexed
Why is everything always America's fault? What's with the Blame America Firsters?
Americans are getting a bit fed up with criticism of their policies, and many are truly perplexed as to why they seem to come under such fire from critics. Do they not investigate almost every report of atrocity that makes it to US corporate press? Even western press? Have they not made a very public point of very publicly jailing the individuals who were found to be engaging in unauthorized photography in Abu Ghraib? Why aren't people as outraged over all those IEDs the Iraqi insurgents keep deploying against coalition forces? And what about all the renewed terrorist activity in Afghanistan? How come so much of the world seems more alarmed by the idea of US airstrikes on Tehran - even using only conventional weapons - than they are about the prospect of a nuclear Iran, as Second Islamic Bomb.
The disconnect between mainstream America and critics abroad is unarguably a wide one, and most likely an unbridgeable one, at least in practical and reality-based terms, but it may be possible for each, if they try, to get at least some sort of understanding of the other's position, even though it is very unlikely that anyone will change their minds.
Let's look at the American point of view first, since so many people around the world have trouble understanding it. The first step is accepting, whether you agree with the practice or not, that Americans are taught almost from birth that not only is the United States the greatest country in the world, but it is so much greater than any other country, in every possible way, that laws and rules that may govern the way the global community of nations behaves toward each other simply do not apply to the US because of its greatness and uniqueness. It is not that the US objects, for example, to international laws or the Geneva cnoventions. In fact, if any other nation even thought about going round to other countries and seizing people at will, and hauling them off to secret torture camps, you can bet that the US would be the first to condemn such an atrocity, and would aggressively pursue any and all strategies and methods to put a stop to the practice immediately, and bring that rogue nation to heel, quite very possibly including a very swift and most likely unceremonious regime change. Now there might be exceptions to that. Note that word exception, because you will be hearing it a lot. An exception might be, for instance, Israel. As most people are aware, the US and Israel have a very special and unique relationship. So special and unique in fact that situations, such as that international kidnapping and torture camp thing, might not be looked at in the same way as it would if say Malaysia did it. Or France. Or Iran. Like the US itself, Israel would be considered an Exception.
That word, exception, is so important because to Americans, it's not just a word. It's not just a policy. It's a doctrine. A fundamental core value on which policy is based, and according to which policy is implemented.
Or let's look at the matter of invading other countries. A few weeks ago, an Iranian official pointed out that Iran had not invaded any other countries in 250 years. It has become a pretty standard and accepted principle in most of the world that this is something that is ismply not done. You do not see Denmark, for instance, invading and occupying Luxembourg because they don't like the government of Luxembourg, or because they think Luxembourg may be aquiring a weapon that Denmark doesn't want them to have.
Frankly, the idea is so far-fetched, so out of bounds of the behavior of modern, civilized nations that it sounds absurd! Could Denmark do it? Well, quite possibly. It is certainly a larger nation, and might have superior firepower. But here is where it becomes impossible to give the American point of view an honest look outside the context of the way the rest of the world thinks. But people just do not think to much about what kind of weaponry Denmark has with which to invade Luxembourg, or whether Luxembourg has an air defense system that could pose a danger to Danish personnel. This is just not something that modern, civilized countries do! And where did this thing about Denmark and what weapons Luxembourg has or is shopping for or wants or whatever - what in the world would that have to do with Denmark? None of this makes the slightest bit of sense, it all sounds like some over the top bad comedy movie from the 1960s.
So here is where we must return to the American point of view - American exceptionalism. There is no doubt in anybody's mind that if Denmark even suggested that it was thinking of invading Luxembourg or anywhere, the US would, as with the case of kidnapping and torture camps, be the first to express complete outrage at such a barbaric suggestion, and send some of its men over to Copenhagen to find out first hand just what this ridiculous talk is about.
The fact that the US is currently openly occupying two countries that it invaded, is preparing to invade a third, and has very forthrightly shared with the world a list of dozens of countries that it is considering invading is in no way relevant to this situation with Denmark. You just can't compare apples and oranges.
And that is exactly what you are doing when you answer very simple and valid questions about this wacko talk coming out of Denmark with the yada yada yada of complaints about America, blaming America again. Why can't you understand that what you are asking just does not make sense?
America is an Exception.
And America is also very powerful militarily, so Denmark and every other country on the globe had better mind their ps and qs and not do anything America has ordered them not to do, like obtain weapons. Any weapons the US wants them to have, the US will provide. (And sometimes that providing activity can be a source of some real surprise, even to Americans!) Anyway, any serious discussion of possible Danish aggression against Luxembourg of anybody else is not served at all by trying to make it about the United States. Always wanting to blame America. Well, this is about Denmark and once again, since it appears to be too complex for you to grasp, America's foreign policy initiatives have absolutely nothing to do with the subject under discussion, which is this alarming talk coming from Copenhagen.
America is an Exception.
This is why the disconnect may be unbridgeable: No matter how off the wall, no matter how, well, wacko this may sound to you, to most people in the world, it is something that is very real to Americans, something so true that to them they view it much as they view the idea that water is wet.
Almost from birth they are inculcated with this doctrine, this value. It is so deeply ingrained in the mainstream American psyche, that they are very truly, very sincerely, like someone suffering clinical depression, unable to just "snap out of it." Where would they snap to? They do not know any other way, they cannot simply abandon this principle. That would be abandoning their national identity! That principle IS their national identity!
It is also important to remember that Americans are not, by any means, stupid people.
While it may seem at times that they are just unable to understand certain concepts, the fact is that they have the same capacity we all do to understand the concepts, however they have been taught that whatever those concepts may be, that you were getting ready to lay out, all nice and neat -
America is an Exception.
Because that forms the core belief, upon which all other beliefs, all other attitudes and opinions, rest, it naturally follows that all thinking processes, all logic and reason and capability for argument, are rendered, for your purposes, essentially mute, because your logic and reason not only do not require the doctrine of American Exceptionalism in order to function, your logic and reason do not even accept it as either reasonable or logical.
To you, it is simply something that is not true. To most mainstream Americans it is very nearly the only thing that is.
So how can meaningful dialogue with Americans be achieved?
What is an effective way to conduct a discussion with someone who believes himself to be of a Exceptional Master Race?
Tragically for the world, there is not one. This is equally tragic for the Americans themselves - all of them, even those miraculously un-indoctrinated minority who believe their country to be the bestest in the traditional way that we all do - The non-weaponized way. The way that includes observance of world etiquette, like not invading and occupying other countries, and not kidnapping people and hauling them off to torture camps, I could go on, but just start with these. There are Americans whose world view is more like the view of well, the world.
They are the Exception.
They are also exceptionally courageous.
Some of them are so courageous that they have suggested that acts of violence against their own countrymen might not even be terrorism!
To appreciate just how courageous this is, consider that it is almost universally accepted among mainstream Americans that regardless of what Americans may do to the Iraqis and the Afghans, any retaliatory action on the part of Iraqi and Afghan survivors is a classic textbook example of terrorism.
To the rest of the world, they may be just people defending their homes from a hostile invading force, as anyone would do when well, invaded by a hostile invading force, but to most Americans, that is simply not the case with the Afghans and Iraqis, since they have been invaded by Americans, and it is for their own good, to effect regime change and impose America's will, and -
America is an Exception.
It would therefore, constitute terrorism to shoot at or otherwise attempt to harm the people who blew up your house, if they happened to be Americans. Indeed, you should be grateful that Americans have made such a great sacrifice of their own money and put their own youth in harm's way in order to help you obey America.
It may be commonly understood and appreciated across the globe that in any such situation, the aggressor, the party who commits the invasion, has irrevocably tipped the moral high ground scales in the other fellow's favor, and while the invadee may, in an attempt to protect his own life and the lives of his loved ones, commit acts that are to say the least "assymetrical," such as booby-trapping roads that the invaders might use in order to come to his town to kill him and his loved ones, to destroy his home, to haul his sons off to torture camp, and his daughters to who knows where, the moral burden here, acknowledges most of the world, is not on him, but on the guys in the tanks on their way to the town.
Those guys, assert the overwhelming majority of human beings who inhabit earth, have no business being there in the first place. No matter how much revenue may be generated to which corporations, there is right and there is wrong, and invading other countries is wrong. Kidapping people is wrong. Torture, murder, sexual assault, burning the flesh off children, all wrong. No exceptions. And the fellow putting the booby trap in the road is not only not doing wrong, he would be wrong not to do whatever he can to protect his home, his family. That is his duty.
In the typical American mind, however, as well as on the typical American newscast and certainly in the typical American comments on the subject by politicians of both "parties," it is as if the US had never invaded either country, as if all the guys in tanks, all those hundreds of thousands armed with automatic rifles and bayonets and a substance that is NOT napalm because it is not even called that anymore so stop saying that, armed with pistols, too, with dogs, and dog leashes, and as we see from some of the unauthorized photos, harmful tobacco products, it is as if they all just happened to be innocent tourists vacationing in Iraq, or in Afghanistan, and suddenly for no reason whatsoever, both these countries simply exploded into hotbeds of anti-American sentiment, and now, mourn the Americans, our brave troops are under constant attack.
As everyone knows, well, as least as most mainstream Americans know, the only way to deal with anti-American sentiment is with tough love, a zero tolerance policy. Stamp it out. And the best way to do that is with bombing. That is the only way these people are going to learn to be grateful. And it is also important to make an example, because frankly that whole region is a hotbed of anti-American sentiment, and must be brought to heel.
And so the rest of the world listens. In disbelief, in bewilderment, and yes, fear.
America is without a doubt the most feared nation on earth. Feared certainly for its massive stores of weapons of mass destruction, but just as much if not more, it is feared because of its people, who present a greater danger even than its bombs.
Its people who would rather spend a dollar to kill the neighbor's child than a dime to take care of their own.
Its people who are willing to sacrifice anything the corporations might ever have permitted them to have for the privilege of being part of imposing America's will.
Its people who today, with the notable and precious exception of those notable and precious few Exceptions, speak with one voice: Iran must obey America!
Because America is an Exception. posted at
Actions like Sep 11 do not happen in a vaccuum.
Long before those hijackers ever stepped foot on the planes the damage
had been done. They were brainwashed with the same type of garbage
propaganda that is spewed from Fatwa's weblog.
Middle Eastern countries are so much more barbaric today and preAmercia than America can ever hope to be...America has only been around 230 years...who did you blame for everything before that Ductape? I am calling a Fatwa on your bullshit!
IMO - terrorist plain and simple. He is an Al queda operative who
should be put in a cage on gitmo Skinner
My favorite..."In Defense of Holocaust Deniers"
I always thought that "The Enemy Within" was just a metaphore for liberalism, that is, until I encountered Ductape Fatwa. He should be in an orange jumpsuit for sure.
peopleforchange.netductape is either a commie, al queda, or a deep cover mole
Tells you something about this asshole doesn't it. He's really serious.
I believe that DF is nothing but a Republican plant...
Ductape is a commie, a terrorist, and he drinks blood too. He drinks
Capitalist blood. He eats unborn babies too
Give me your address and I'll send you $20 and a thank-you note for taking your hatred elsewhere.
A terrorist with a sense of humor!
He ain't nuthin' but shit
inadequate, halfway house bullshit
You are a dumbass. Fuck you and your condescension about us "benighted sheeple." hamletta
Untruthful, damaging bullshit
no better than the neocons and no different than Timothy McVeigh
dailykos.coma turd in the punchbowl...if DF were Joe Hill he probably would have killed himself rather than get put to death.
A compost pile of fecundity
dailykos.comdespicable and literally mentally ill