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talk about the irony

Reader comment on item: Defending and Advancing Freedom

Submitted by a Filipino liberal (Philippines), Nov 21, 2005 at 04:13

I would like to comment on this article because it talks about the actual basis of many of the US's actions: The belief that it's their task to spread "democracy". The US government believes that all means are justifiable to spread "democracy", and all means have been available. This is where they're wrong.

People around the world have been said so many times that "Americans think they can do whatever they want". And to all appearances, you just ignore all of this. Yet don't you think that this belief - that you can do whatever you want to spread your version of democracy, is exactly what they've been complaining about? Assassinations, toppling governments through coup de'tat or invasion, support of dictators, and of course, the notion of "preemptive strike" are all OK if your goal is to spread democracy. OK for the US, but not for anyone else. Dictators - not in my backyard, but up yours. And after all this, you've never thought that this kind of attitude is exactly what they've been saying? Probably not. And what we've all been told for decades was that communist nations were impervious to foreign criticism. Well.

First there's "preemptive strike". The US believes that it is fine to attack another group or nation if you believe he's planning to attack you. Well, what if it turns out they weren't planning to attack at all? This is a complicated issue, really, but I think the most moral thing to do is to only fight when you're attacked. It's not that I don't believe in fighting to defend yourself. I believe in self-defense. I believe in the a person's right to self-preservation. Despite what Jesus said in the New Testament, that you should turn the other cheek, I think you should defend yourself if attacked. Don't criticize me for this - after all, you conservatives think the same way. I've always found it interesting how many conservatives are devout Christians, and yet they don't believe in turning the other cheek. Isn't it ironic? Could somebody please explain this belief to me in this forum?

Anyway, back to the preemptive strike. I believe you can do self-defense, but that the US has an extremely twisted definition of self-defense. For example, the US was attacked on September 11, then, two months later, when they invaded Pakistan, they claimed it was in self-defense! That was not self-defense, that was retaliation. Self-defense is fighting back during the attack, for example, shooting down the planes before they crashed. Retaliation is launching your own attack later on. It is premeditated. Don't courts of law accept this logic - fighting back right on the scene is self-defense, but going and killing the man days later is retaliation - premeditated murder? Americans speak English as a native language, yet they don't even know the basic difference between the definitions of these words?

Of course, killing someone because they wronged you is still better than really being the first one to hit - attacking someone not because he hurt you but for your own reasons. But still, doing so is taking revenge, not self-defense, and we should be clear about that. And we know that if civilians do this, it is considered vigilante action, and is also a criminal act. And it's becoming more common in recent times to view the world as a community, the global village. So, by this analogy, if the world is a "village", then the nations are its "citizens". And if on citizen attacks another, by our own police laws, should the other retaliate after the event? No, he should report it to the police. But the world has no police, you say. Actually, there is. It's the United Nations. The UN has peacefeeping forces for just this sort of action. But the US believes itself to be the police, "the world's policeman". And that's the problem. Because if we were to look at nations as people, then the US is just a person; richer and stronger than other people, yes, but just a person. The true police, the true government in the "village", are organizations composed of groups of nations. Is a government run by one person alone? No, that would be autocratic. And I thought the US was about democracy. So, judging them by the standards they use to judge others, if they continue on this path of action, then they will be the true outcats and criminals in the global community. They would be the real rogue nations, a title the US has long used for other nations. Because what does acting alone, without UN authorization, make you? A vigilante! And that's against the law.
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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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