It is very easy in these days to be disillusioned by all the hypocrisy, the lying, the propaganda, and the manipulations of truth and the public. The internet has made it possible for patriotic dissidents and those who routinely question authority to examine, assess, and speak out about these matters. And like a number of others, I have spoken out.
And as I drove to meet a client today, I thought about some of the images I have seen in the news. And I asked myself, are Americans and American soldiers actually willing to risk their treasure and even their lives to benefit people they do not know thousands of miles away from home, from America? And the answer is YES! There are such Americans. There are American citizens and American soldiers who truly do care about the Iraqi people, and who are willing to sacrifice their time, their finances, their safety, and possibly even their lives to liberate a people from a tyrant.
For this, Americans can be proud. There is something comforting in considering that many Americans do care. And many Americans are genuinely happy for Iraqis who are freed from the tyrannical regime of Saddam Hussein.
That being said, we still cannot say in good conscience that the end justifies the means. We cannot overlook the American government’s complicity in the rule and terror of Saddam Hussein. We cannot overlook the lengthy history of American governmental support for tyrants and dictators around the world in the interests of American business and strategic affairs. We cannot even say that American goodness outweighs the bad done in this world by American leaders — who could weigh and evaluate such a question? Who could assess and compare the genocide committed against Native Americans in the settling of this continent, the enslaving of Africans and their descendents for generations, the slowness to recognize the civil liberties of women and minorities?
We cannot weigh these things as on a scale of grams and pounds. We have to live with our past, and we have to live with the present and we have to try to make our future more fair, more honorable, more honest, and more just than our past.
But there are good things to place on the ledger. There is much goodness in the hearts of some Americans. For that we can be proud and be thankful. We have something to build on, to provide hope and to provide direction. Most Americans would like to see a world with more freedom for its inhabitants. Most Americans would like to see a world with relative prosperity for all. Most Americans would like to see peace, not war.
So, let us build on our goodness, learn from our weakness, and ensure that our leadership does the same.
The writer is a member of several falconry and ornithological clubs and organizations. He contributed above article to Media Monitors Network (MMN) from California, USA.