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Here in America we are descended in spirit from revolutionaries and rebels – men and women who dared to dissent from accepted doctrine.  President Dwight D. Eisenhower, May 31, 1954

     There are a lot of people waving the American flag these days, but I’m not one of them.  I also don’t subscribe to the much-vaunted myth of “American exceptionalism.”  Here’s why:
    I won’t dwell on our enslavement of Africans for over two hundred years and the bloody Civil War (recently estimated to have had a death toll of about 750,000 – New York Times, 4/2/2012) it took to end America’s slavery horrors.  The racist Jim Crow policies and segregation that followed the Civil War have by no means been totally extinguished.  
    I also won’t dwell on our genocide against the Native Americans, in which we took over a continent by force while wiping-out entire cultures.  Many of the remnant populations now live in poverty and a state of social disintegration on remote reservations.
    However, I will point out that during the 20th century we became the world’s dominant empire and sought to consolidate our power by staging CIA-backed coup d’états to overthrow democratically elected leaders that our national security state decided it did not like.   Examples include Iran’s Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh in 1953 and Chile’s President Salvador Allende in 1973.  

       Our national security state has also supported brutal dictators and strongmen who have murdered and violated the human rights of many of their own people.  Two glaring examples among many are Fulgencio Batista in Cuba during the 1950s and Roberto d’Aubuisson in El Salvador during the 1980s.
    To defend its far-flung empire, U.S. military spending is currently almost twice as much as the combined military budgets of China, Russia, the United Kingdom, and France.  According to Republican Congressman and former Presidential candidate Ron Paul, the U.S. has military personnel in 130 nations and 900 overseas bases.  An official Pentagon report, Base Structure Report, Fiscal 2010 Baseline, indicates that Mr. Paul’s numbers are pretty accurate.  Ron Paul has also pointed out, rightfully, that bloated military outlays are one of the main causes of our federal government’s budget deficits.
    Since the end of World War II, the U.S. has waged six major wars against and/or invasions of other nations, including the Korean War (1950-1953), the Vietnam War (1965-1973), the 1989 invasion of Panama, the Persian Gulf War (1990-1991), the Iraq War (2003-2011) and the Afghanistan War, which started in 2001 and continues to this day.  These wars, the benefits of which have been murky, at best, have resulted in the deaths of well over 100,000 Americans and millions of non-Americans.  During the Vietnam War alone, 58,220 U.S. service members died and an estimated 2 million Vietnamese soldiers and civilians were killed.  
    The Vietnam War was exceptionally brutal, immoral, stupid, and totally unnecessary.  Among the crimes committed during this war was the spraying by the U.S. of Agent Orange, a herbicide dropped from the sky to destroy huge swaths of Vietnam’s forests and deny cover to Viet Cong fighters and North Vietnamese troops.  
    Agent Orange is contaminated with an especially toxic form of dioxin, which has been linked to cancers, birth defects, and other diseases in Vietnam as well as in American soldiers who came into contact with it.  About two dozen former America sites in Vietnam are still highly polluted with Agent Orange.  Recently, some 40 years after the crime, the U.S. has finally committed some funds to help clean up the toxic mess we left behind (LA Times, 8/9/2012).
    Two other Southeast Asian nations that got sucked into the vortex of the Vietnam War are Laos and Cambodia, which share borders with Vietnam.   Hundreds of thousands of Laotians and Cambodians were killed during the Vietnam War, primarily because of secret aerial bombardments by the U.S.   In Cambodia, the U.S. bombings created tremendous stress and political instability, and are part of the reason Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge came to power, and the killing fields of the 1970s ensued.  
    In Laos, between 1964 and 1973, approximately 580,000 U.S. bombing runs dropped more than 2 million tons of bombs on a country the size of Minnesota.  One ton of bombs was dropped for every person in Laos at the time, making that nation the most heavily bombed per capita in human history (Associated Press, 7/12/12; CNN, 7/11/12; Agence France-Presse,  7/11/12).
    Since the Vietnam War and the bombings ended, about 20,000 Laotians have been killed or maimed by unexploded U.S. ordinance, and an estimated one-third of Laos is still littered with some 80 million unexploded cluster bombs.  For the first time since 1955, last July Laos received a visit from a U.S. Secretary of State (Hillary Clinton), who promised to continue financial aid started in 1997 to help locate and remove unexploded U.S. ordinance still scattered over the Laotian countryside (CNN, 7/11/2012; Agence France-Presse, 7/11/12).
    The list of U.S. atrocities recounted here is by no means exhaustive, and because they are fresher in Americans’ minds and space is limited, the horrors of the more recent Afghanistan and Iraq Wars will be cataloged another day.  
     If a person still wants to wave an American flag after reading this, that’s their prerogative.   Just don’t expect me to follow suit.  As Chalmers Johnson pointed out in his 2004 book, The Sorrows of Empire, during the last six decades we have forsaken the democratic principles upon which our nation was founded and our imperialist overreach has trampled the human rights of many other peoples.

John Grula, PhD, is affiliated with the Southern California Federation of Scientists   

Originally published in the Nov. 22, 2012 Pasadena Weekly   

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Comment Preferences

  •  peacefreak - that's the joy of freedom (6+ / 0-)

    You have the freedom to not wave the flag of the United States, and I wave and salute it proudly.

    "let's talk about that"

    by VClib on Tue Nov 27, 2012 at 05:18:30 PM PST

    •  Tell that to American political prisoners. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BigAlinWashSt, canyonrat

      They range from Eugene Debs who was imprisoned for opposing war to Joe Hill who was killed by a firing squad for being a Wob to the Japanese who were put in a concentration camp in WW II for being "Japs" to Bradley Manning who underwent torture for informing the American people and the world what was going on in the Middle East policy of this country.

      What bullshit 'Murcan "freedom" is.  It's a freedom to cheerlead Imperialism.  Beyond that, step out of line and the man comes and takes you away.

      •  Just who is it who you think is (9+ / 0-)

        so much better than us? The treatment of people of Japanese heritage during WWII is an example you bring up, and it was decidedly a black mark on our history. But have you ever heard about what the Japanese Army did to Allied POWs during the war? We are talking major torture and murder, grisly beheadings, intentional starvation marches, and every form of mental and physical torture imaginable. There are no countries without terrible moments in their history. It is just childish to only see the negatives and not the positives in our country. I feel sorry for people like you.

        •  States suck. (1+ / 2-)
          Recommended by:
          canyonrat
          Hidden by:
          MrAnon, just another vet

          There's a surprise.

          From Hammurabi to Hitler, from Nero to Stalin, the State has been torturing and killing and starving and spying.

          It has been the same for 4,000 years.

          And you would have happily used the same sophistic and cynical arguments to have defended any of those regimes had you been present.  We know you.

          Humans can be better.  They must be better.  We must first throw off our chains to learn how that is possible.

          And your kind is one of the most annoying of the links in those chains.

        •  That question is a cop out. It is not enough for (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          canyonrat

          us to better than our opponents. If that is the measure is the standard than everything we claim about America is a lie. Our torture is not better than other people's torture because it happened in smaller numbers. We have committed acts of genocide and ethnic cleansing in the 19th century. We have fought wars of conquest and built colonies. Look at the history of the Phillipines. And Native Americans. Or South and Central America. We committed war crimes before the Japanese did.

          It is people like you who refuse to allow America to recognize her mistakes and start to work on becoming a country we can all be proud of. Right now we are covered in shame, in good part because of the blindness of American Firsters like yourself.

      •  Bradley Manning? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        MrAnon

        Torture?  Wow you dont know anything about torture.

        PFC Manning is a common criminal and is being treated like any other criminal.

        It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

        by ksuwildkat on Tue Nov 27, 2012 at 05:47:55 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  You must be lost. Go back to RedState. (1+ / 1-)
          Recommended by:
          canyonrat
          Hidden by:
          MrAnon

          Sadly, the truth is that your kind has infested DK with the Boss's approval.

          •  HRed for the RedState remark (0+ / 1-)
            Recommended by:
            Hidden by:
            kmackle

            If you came to DK expecting everyone to conform to your opinion, you are sadly mistaken.

            Republicans are far more socialist than Democrats. Just because they want to redistribute the wealth upwards does not make it any better.

            by MrAnon on Tue Nov 27, 2012 at 06:54:36 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Mr. 400,000 explains DK to me. (0+ / 0-)

              I'm not such a shit as to give an HR for disagreement.

              In fact, I've never given an HR.

              But then you're some sockpuppet defending your little authoritarian crowd.

              Sad.

              One is much safer on this site being a right-wing asshole than a Leftist.

              On the other hand, who gives a shit about DK?

              •  The hell? (0+ / 0-)

                At this point, you're just making up conspiracy theories.

                Republicans are far more socialist than Democrats. Just because they want to redistribute the wealth upwards does not make it any better.

                by MrAnon on Tue Nov 27, 2012 at 07:26:21 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  And if you think this is a right-wing site (0+ / 0-)

                Why do you post here?

                Republicans are far more socialist than Democrats. Just because they want to redistribute the wealth upwards does not make it any better.

                by MrAnon on Tue Nov 27, 2012 at 07:32:38 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  I am not Mr 400K (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                winsock, Thousandwatts

                and Mr 400K should not have HR'd you, because HR'ing for disagreement is a no no.

                I am in agreement with much of what you say, but I do know that many good Democrats do not agree.  They have had different experiences.

                So while I don't think calling someone here a Redstater because they disagree with you is HR'able, I do think it's a hugely assholey move.

                If you complain that someone HR's you for a difference of opinion, you must agree that calling them a Republican for the same thing is a worse offense.

              •  Mr. 200K tells me I dont belong (0+ / 0-)

                Pot, meet kettle.

                It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

                by ksuwildkat on Tue Nov 27, 2012 at 10:05:47 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

            •  HR'd for abandoning debate and just being (0+ / 0-)

              vindictive. It is my first HR. Ever. And hopefully will be my last.

              •  I wasn't in the debate in the first place (0+ / 0-)

                I didn't HR the user's further remarks because general rule of thumb around here is that you do not troll rate someone in a debate with you. After he responded, I decided not to pursue it further.

                Republicans are far more socialist than Democrats. Just because they want to redistribute the wealth upwards does not make it any better.

                by MrAnon on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 08:18:09 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

        •  BTW... (0+ / 0-)

          your football team is a real choke artist.  LOL.  They were always the doormat of the Big 8, and their heritage shows.

          •  Sports is just another tool in oppressor's toolbox (0+ / 0-)

            Shame on you for celebrating the ritualistic violence like all of those flag-waiving lemmings otherwise known as the American sports fan.  If you were a real progressive you would immediately condemn the fact that there are winners and losers instead of the merit badges for all participants.  It's people like you who think that keeping score is just the invisible hand of the free market doing its thing.  I, for one, don't see color, or conference, or mascots and that is why I don't believe in sports.

        •  Manning is having his basic constitutional rights (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          just another vet

          violated in an extreme fashion. He deserves and is required to have the same access to the justice system as the guy who murdered dozens of Afghan civilians because he was drunk and angry. But Manning is not accorded those rights even though military justice demands it.

          Manning is not a common criminal. Common criminals get access to lawyers and not held in solitary unless they are a threat to the peace of the jail they are housed in.

          •  how do you figure? (0+ / 0-)

            He has a lawyer.  Actually more than one.

            He is in solitary for his own protection.  He is also on suicide watch for his own protection after he made jokes about killing himself.

            He is charged with multiple counts of a capital crime.  If he had any complaint it would be about a speedy trial and yet it is only because he was not given a speedy trial that he will avoid the death penalty.  

            It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

            by ksuwildkat on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 10:37:19 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Not according to the UN. (0+ / 0-)

              The UN has not been given satisfactory answers about Manning's confinement and Manning was released from Solitary after international protest. What capital crimes has he been charged with? Manning is at Ft Leavenworth classified as a medium security risk.

              See attached article and tell me if licking the bars of your cell constitute a seriuos threat.

              http://www.upi.com/...

  •  I brought the flag to a women's clinic in the '90s (4+ / 0-)

    the idea was--"this is America--do not try to take our rights." A fellow clinic defender--male, anarchist--said to me: "That flag has blood on it."

    "Yes," I replied, "All national flags do--except those from very new or very obscure remote nations."

    Then came the 2000 election and the 2001 selection.  I took down the flag outside my house and said I would never fly it again until we had a legitimately elected president.

    I flew the flag after President Obama was elected--but have since retired it.  I think we need to fly a world flag.  Save the home planet.  Nothing against national affiliation--but we need to think more globally.

    Save the Home Planet

    by Mayfly on Tue Nov 27, 2012 at 05:23:06 PM PST

  •  The history of mankind (6+ / 0-)

    is a violent history in which the weak are made to suffer by the strong. Look into any country's past and you'll see the same injustices that mark our own past. But the United States is different in the while the rest of the world was governed by aristocrats and autocrats, we created a government of the people. And the rest of the Western world, nation by nation, eventually followed our example. We're not perfect by any stretch, but we have much to be proud of and we continue to do better.

    •  Wow just wow n/t (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Shahryar
    •  You're quite ignorant. (0+ / 0-)

      "World history" is actually a history of cooperation and peace for the most part.  Otherwise, we'd never have been born.  Human beings would have killed each other off or died from the challenges of nature without mutual aid.

      Your idea of history is born of widespread propagandistic history of heroes and conquerors promoted by authoritarian types like you.

      Whether you're a prisoner of a sick mindset or a cynical promoter for gain of some sort must be left up to the reader to determine.

      As for the U. S., it's currently the biggest killer on the planet.  That's 'Murcan exceptionalism for ya.

      •  I don't buy your act. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        just another vet

        Nobody could be that black and white, not here. You are obviously exaggerating your feelings in order to piss people off, merit a response, etc. Your mistake was to be too cartoonish in your rants. I for one don't buy your "I hate America" routine, but maybe you'll fool someone else here if you keep it up. Maybe say you'd love to burn a flag, or talk about how you think the US government was behind 911, be creative. The "America is bad, bad, bad" routine is just not gonna get you the response you seek.

        •  Not surprising. (0+ / 0-)

          I'm sure I'm way out of the frame of reference of some sluggard like you, assigned to herding mild dissenters from the status quo at little DK.  It must be a shock to encounter thinking that doesn't take the status quo as a given.

          •  This is really funny stuff. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            just another vet
            It must be a shock to encounter thinking that doesn't take the status quo as a given.
            There is a certain poetry to your schtick. I know exactly what you are doing, and I get it.
            •  And I you. (0+ / 0-)

              But you do what you do for gain.

              I do what I do to undo what you do just for the joy of it.

              It's more fun, believe me.  Especially when your side is collapsing.

              Another nice Gracie line:

              "Don't change before the Empire falls.
              You'll laugh so hard you'll crack the walls."

              I'm laughing now as I watch your side flounder.

              •  I have an idea what is going on in (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                just another vet, Batya the Toon

                your mind, but I couldn't be sure without a thorough examination. You make me think of the parable of the monkey and the gibbon sitting up in the tree. The gibbon says to the monkey "I'll bet you a banana I'm smarter than you." And the monkey simply replies, "I'll match your banana, and raise you one banana." And he climbed down the tree, and never talked to the gibbon again.

          •  Doc2 is hardly a sluggard (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Thousandwatts

            but you have the 'enthusiasm' of someone whose eyes have just been opened, and yet has an awful lot to learn.

        •  Do you want specific examples? (0+ / 0-)

          1. The War of 1812 was an attempt to take Canada while the British were bogged down in a fight with Napoleon.

          2. Andrew Jackson illegal fought campaigns in Florida to recover lost slaves.

          3. The forced relocation of Native Americans from their homes in the East out into the wilderness of the West.

          4. The Mexican War.

          5. The Indian Wars of the latter part of the 19th Century.

          6. The Spanish - American War and the colonization that followed.

          7. The military intervention in Central America to protect American commercial interests at great cost to native peoples.

          8. The refusal to participate in the League of Nations.

          9. The program of assassination by the CIA that overthrew the governments of Iraq and Guatemala in the 50s.

          10. The Bay of Pigs.

          11. Grenada

          12. Interference with the war over the Faulklands.

          13. Spying on the Irish government in middle of peace talks on Northern Ireland in the 80s.

          14. Arms for hostages and the Contras.

          Is that enough for you?

          •  Thats just a list of bad things (0+ / 0-)

            our country has done. Where is the good list, or are you only aware of the bad?

            •  When you go to confess your sins to a priest (0+ / 0-)

              you do not tell him all the good things you have done. No matter how good you are you can be better, And you should strive to be better. To fail to recognize your faults is to stop growing as an individual and as a society.

              You know we could discuss all the good things that the nazis or soviets did/ Or the good being done by hamas in running hospitals and feeding the poor. But that would ignore some basic lessons of history. As does your attitude.

      •  World history (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        just another vet

        is a history of mutual cooperation AND oppression of the weak by the strong.  Usually at the same time.

        Humans are weird and complicated.

    •  America did not invent (0+ / 0-)

      Democracy.

      And it's voters consisted of the aristocrats and landed gentry until just recently.

      Don't fall for the romance.

      •  Barack Obama himself has said (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cap76

        that America is a great country. I'm sorry, but it's true. What is your response to that?

        •  Barack Obama also said that many other (0+ / 0-)

          countries are great as well. What is you response to that? Throwing in Obama is a basically a straw man argument and not germane.

          •  Try again. (0+ / 0-)

            He said we are the greatest. So either he's wrong, or people here are.

            •  Well if you are speaking comparitively you could (0+ / 0-)

              make an argument. But you do not. You just repeat things that you accept uncritically as fact. Which makes you as thoughtful as our conservative friends. But if I accept your argument that compartivley speaking were are the "greatest" nation does that mean we are perfect? I would argue no that we are in fact no where near perfect and we have a lot of work to do. So instead of patting yourself on the back why do you not try to make this country a better place.

              People who practice your brand of knee jerk criticism are always on the wrong side of history. And you prevent real progress from being made.

    •  But are we mature enough to discuss our (0+ / 0-)

      shortcomings? Even after losing a football game a team does a post mortuem examining the loss. Anytime those of us on left try to point out our failings as a nation someone shouts that discussion down. How are we expected to grow as a country if we can not take an honest look at who we really are?

  •  I don't display the flag to celebrate the history (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MrAnon, just another vet

    of jingoism and the killing of innocents; the coups and the puppet dictators, the U.S. sponsored slaughter, none of that stuff.
    I do display it on certain occasions to remind us that there are American service people today, in harm's way, the reasons don't matter as much as the fact that they there and they are dying and getting wounded while the nation largely goes on unchanged.
    They face the likelihood of having their lives forever changed by their service and their service alone is why I fly the flag.
    May it remind me and those who see it, that there is a war going on and young brothers and sisters; sons and daughters are being maimed and killed and rather than get aught up thinking it for some politically vapid, ever-changing goal or idea, I choose to think that it is for the service people and the feeling one gets when far away in another country and the flag means home- family, friends, loved ones and peace.
    I fly the flag because our troops cannot come home soon enough and to forget their sacrifice or blur them into the governmental jingoism is a travesty; the flag reminds me of the troops, not the corporate-political war machine that sent them there.  

    Occupy- Your Mind. - No better friend, no worse enemy. -8.75, -6.21<> Bring the Troops Home Yesterday

    by Thousandwatts on Tue Nov 27, 2012 at 05:30:38 PM PST

    •  Excusing the primary agents? (0+ / 0-)

      It's a volunteer army.  If you don't want to kill brown people on command, stay the fuck out of the military.

      •  Some folks, with families and without, wind up (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        swampyankee, just another vet

        taking the best job available.
        Some join choosing to kill, kill, kill and, some saw it as a reaction to nine-eleven. In a shit economy, lots need a paycheck, stability and the military knows that and plays on that need.
        Despite the reason they joined, when they are faced with the reality of the situation; tactically, daily, the snafu of combat and war, their outlook is changed.
        I didn't say I "excused the primary agents", I said I hold them least culpable in this scenario- which was forgotten in Vietnam, when soldiers came home to being called baby-killers and spit upon.
        And that was a draft.
        Intellectually, there is always an alternative; realistically sometimes it's not that clear.

        If the economy was booming and they couldn't fill the boots with volunteers, they would re-initiate the draft- with all the complications it entailed,

        Occupy- Your Mind. - No better friend, no worse enemy. -8.75, -6.21<> Bring the Troops Home Yesterday

        by Thousandwatts on Tue Nov 27, 2012 at 06:53:52 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  "and spit upon." (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Thousandwatts

          A myth.  Read "The Spitting Image" by Jerry Lembcke

          •  I am familiar with the book and the conclusions, (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            canyonrat

            and I am aware of the vets as an important arm of the anti-war movement.
            My examples are admittedly anecdotal, and they were not the classic "in uniform at the airport tales" but more like in bars as a result of outraged drunken arguments, I didn't doubt the sources.
            I unthinkingly fell back on cliche in my post and I didn't intend to.
            Sorry for that.

            Occupy- Your Mind. - No better friend, no worse enemy. -8.75, -6.21<> Bring the Troops Home Yesterday

            by Thousandwatts on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 02:56:17 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  To fight the wars our government needed to fight (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Thousandwatts

          successfully they needed a draft. But these politicians were too cowardly to call for a draft. Because the people would have refused a war on that scale. So the politicians decided they could have it both ways. Fight their war at little or no cost to the American public. Only they failed miserably.

          The whole "spit on the military" after a war thing goes back to the stab in the back theory of WWI. It is an urban myth. The real insult done to our military is to be used so badly and wrongly and incompentantly by coward politicians.

          The men and women who signed up in the volunteer army do it out of love of country. And they carry the burden. And it is unfair and unjust. If these wars were really worth fighting then everyone should participate. And that includes a draft.

          •  I completely agree regarding the draft; (0+ / 0-)

            there would not have been these wars had there been a draft requirement.

            I know there are a lot of purely patriotic people who volunteer to join, I have also seen high school grads thinking it was just a darn good way to get an education and employment when nothing else presented itself.
            I had to personally convince my nineteen year old son not to enlist when his job search and college prospects dimmed, and two of his buddies joined.  

            Occupy- Your Mind. - No better friend, no worse enemy. -8.75, -6.21<> Bring the Troops Home Yesterday

            by Thousandwatts on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 03:04:53 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  Associating the flag with the troops? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Thousandwatts

      Odd.  Why not the classic yellow ribbon?

      •  You're right, it would have been more clear cut, (0+ / 0-)

        it honestly became something of a habit for me and my reason for flying the flag when I did because I am tired of giving up everything that is "traditional" to the pro-war GOP side of the world- letting them take what they want and brand it "American" the "with us or with the terrorists" thinking etc
        The same way Obamacare has gone from being a derisive expression for the Affordable care Act, to being what it's just called.
        I remember my pharmacist friends throwing Obamacare out at me like it was a curse- like it was their own little pet name for that horrible, mistake of a healthcare plan and I thought it was a perfect name. And so it has become.
        I have a magnet on the car that looks traditional "Support the Troops" but it also says "Bring them home".
        I guess that was my thinking on the flag, as well.

        Occupy- Your Mind. - No better friend, no worse enemy. -8.75, -6.21<> Bring the Troops Home Yesterday

        by Thousandwatts on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 03:13:16 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Glass half empty (5+ / 0-)

    Nothing you pointed out is factually wrong though I might disagree with some of the characterizations.  But you also left out anything good this country has done.

    Ask people in the former Warsaw pack countries about their feelings for the US.  As Germans, South Koreans and Kuwaitis.  I have traveled all over the world as both a soldier and a civilian and I have lost count of the number of times I have been thanked for what our country has done FOR others.  And on numerous occasions I have been told "when we needed help, only America came."

    Our country has done much good during the same time periods you mention.  And much of that good has been done by the US military.  Every day Soldiers, marines, Sailors and Airmen are building roads, digging wells, giving shots, treating injuries, delivering calfs, feeding, housing and securing people.  

    We dont always get everything right, but we get a lot right and even the stuff we get wrong we usually go into with good intentions.  Im sorry you choose to only see the bad.

    It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

    by ksuwildkat on Tue Nov 27, 2012 at 05:31:31 PM PST

  •  World from your eyes (4+ / 0-)

    Thousands of students failed out or dropped out of school this year - so teachers are bad.

    Hundreds of crimes will be committed and go unsolved just this month - so police are bad.

    Every year forrest fires destroy homes and kill people - so trees are bad and fire fighters worse.

    Millions of pounds of food will be wasted while others starve - so anyone not starving is bad.

    None of us are perfect.  No man, woman or government.  All we can do is start each day trying to make the world a little better.  But if we all concentrated on the bad, there would be no good.

    It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

    by ksuwildkat on Tue Nov 27, 2012 at 05:39:08 PM PST

    •  But to be better we must acknowledge the sins (0+ / 0-)

      of the past. Like a national act of contrition. If we do not recognize where we went wrong we can not do better in the future. It is not enough to rest on our laurels because we are better than the old Soviet Union. It is not enough to argue that people will always starve and then pat ourselves on the back for making a token effort.

  •  Went to my granddaughters 2nd grade music (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    OutcastsAndCastoffs, canyonrat

    concert at her school.  Before it started, everyone stood and said the Pledge of Allegience.  Now I hadn't been in a place where that was done since my kids were young so it caught be a little off guard.  I couldn't say it of course so I watched the rest of the people do it.  
    From the very beginning, this country is a fraud that won't admit it.  

    "The Global War on Terror is a justification for U.S. Imperialism. It must be stopped."

    by BigAlinWashSt on Tue Nov 27, 2012 at 05:53:17 PM PST

    •  We should put up a big fence and land mines (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      doc2

      People are willing to risk dying in the Sonoran Desert to move here.  Or they are willing to risk being eaten by sharks in the Florida Straits.

      We should put up a big fence so no one accidentally moves into this big fraud.

  •  the good people need to own the flag (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Utahrd, swampyankee, just another vet

    of their piece of ground, or the grifters and authoritarians will.

    This Rover crossed over.. Willie Nelson, written by Dorothy Fields

    by Karl Rover on Tue Nov 27, 2012 at 06:21:35 PM PST

  •  A country sick on militarism. (0+ / 0-)

    I never thought I would see it after the fiasco that was Vietnam, but the clever propagandists, whose arts are demonstrated in this thread, managed it.

  •  A song that sadly never grows irrelevant. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    canyonrat

    This sick worship of the 'Murcan flag was nicely satirized by John Prine 40 years ago:

  •  Here's when you wave the American flag: (0+ / 0-)

    In the LA Coliseum, Soldier Field or Cowboys Stadium when the US national soccer team is playing against Mexico.

    Go big or don't go!

  •  Peaceful solution suggestion? Fly the POW (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    just another vet

    black & white banner with it.   Lest we forget the actual cost of worshipping the banner rather than the ideals it is trying to represent.

    May we please stop having sweaty athletes wrap it around their shoulders?   I find it offensive.  Buy a towel or something.    But then, I'm so old we were taught it was rude to use it as decoration like politicians do now.

    I once interviewed an exchange student from Lichtenstein and asked what he found most curious about us?  He said it was the constant display of our flag.  According to him his nation flew their flag only twice a year  --- iirc for king's birthday and some other day I now forget.  He thought it odd that we made such a big deal of a banner.

    The flagmaking company which paid a preacher to write the pledge,  as a jingle to promote sales of their product to thousands of schools, were extremely effective at merchandising.    *preacher did not include "under God". That was added in after WWII --- so you could tell us from the "godless communists" who were the boogie man to amp up fear --- of my childhood.    I have never said those two words in my pledge --- didn't like the divisive edit.

    The really cool thing is --- we still can't go to jail for "desecrating" the flag or anything else we own and we are free to criticize it all we want. And we have no law against sacrilege either.

    De fund + de bunk = de EXIT--->>>>>

    by Neon Mama on Tue Nov 27, 2012 at 07:40:57 PM PST

  •  Which country (0+ / 0-)

    or people do you think have gotten it right, or at least better than the US?

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