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TheMrs
How so?

We were the aggressors in WWII - how so.
 
JohnH
I think you read it too fast, what I intended to and think I did say was that the comparison of WW2 to the current Iraq war was wrong. In WW2 we were defending ourselves. In Iraq we are the aggressors.
Edited by JohnH on 11/05/2008 12:46
 
comfortable
The USA is quite often the aggressor.
Commodore Matthew Perry in Tokyo Bay comes to mind.

When the USA kicked the Spanish butt out of the Philippines and Cuba, we claimed that we were "liberating" the citizens - same claim the Soviets and Chinese used.

The entire history of central America consists of the 'rape' of the population and the land by Banana Barons with the backing of the U.S.Marines.

Look it up. It ain't pretty.

And it's always about money.

Nowadays everyone's smarter. The US, China, and Russia wage an economic war for ascendancy. We no longer need high explosives. We no longer fire-bomb cities to achieve our goals. Thank God (pardon the expression). Our soldiers, when they fight, fight for the oil companies and the preservation of our preferred economic order. Yippee. Hooray for the G7!

If we fire-bomb a country it would take so much longer to rebuild it with KFC outlets and Ford dealerships. It would take so much longer for the defeated citizens to pull themselves up enough to be able to afford to shop at the GAP. That's why it's smarter this way than the old way.
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The fewer the facts, the stronger the opinion.
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Men are sheep in credulity, but wolves for conformity.
 
seeker
Nicely said comfortable. We no longer have to kill the citizens, just replace their culture with our consumer goods and take so much of their money that they have to sell us resources to afford happy meals.
 
catman
comfortable: Very well said. The spectacle of countries being 'liberated' by others so that they can impose their own ways is a constant thread of history. Very seldom (if ever) are they left alone after 'liberation' to choose their own destinies. The symbiotic(?) relationship between the USA and China comes to mind.
"If I owned both Hell and Texas, I'd live in Hell and rent out Texas." - General Sheridan
 
derF
Why didn't anyone mention our abysmal treatment of the Native Americans. We should truly hang our heads in shame and think about that every time we get the urge to go and force our views on another people.
I'll drink to that. Or anything else for that matter.
 
comfortable
derF wrote:
Why didn't anyone mention our abysmal treatment of the Native Americans. We should truly hang our heads in shame and think about that every time we get the urge to go and force our views on another people.


A good point - but when making a point, one wisely chooses to limit the number of examples (a complete list would more like a book than a forum post)
- also the aboriginal peoples of the Americas were taken over the old fashioned way. Soldiers, garrisons, etc. - and by the Spaniards, Portugese, French - and only more recently by the British, and more recently still, by the nation we call the U.S.A.

We can choose to feel ashamed if we wish, but my point has to do more with hypocrisy - the reality vs. the myths taught in grade school.

There is an argument to be made for the USA-style of subjugation being less harsh than say, the Romans, or the Nazis - but when (Colin Powell?) declared that the USA has always fought on the side of freedom while never demanding one-square-inch of "territory" - I cringed. (There's more than one type of colonialism.)
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The fewer the facts, the stronger the opinion.
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Men are sheep in credulity, but wolves for conformity.
 
comfortable
catman wrote:
comfortable: Very well said. The spectacle of countries being 'liberated' by others so that they can impose their own ways is a constant thread of history. Very seldom (if ever) are they left alone after 'liberation' to choose their own destinies. The symbiotic(?) relationship between the USA and China comes to mind.


I am amused at the recent financial and technical assistance rendered by the Chinese to poor island nations and some nations in Africa.

The game is clear (and very smart).

We (the Chinese) give you money, technology, factories, and jobs.
You (the local chiefs and governors) get to be popular with your people as their standard of living comes up.
Later - you don't dare refuse us (the Chinese) anything we want to ask of you, lest we cancel our contracts and take our technicians and money somewhere else.

It's beautiful. The Chinese are beating us at our own game in the 3rd world.
Grin
Edited by comfortable on 11/07/2008 10:34
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The fewer the facts, the stronger the opinion.
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Men are sheep in credulity, but wolves for conformity.
 
neilmarr
The history of colonialism is an age-old and dirty one, whether power has been imposed through strength of arms or strength of ecconomy or even through strength of religious persuasion or perceived social fashion.

There are many people worth listening to and there's much worth reading.

For the whole horror of colonialism in a nut shell, the French and US (aCooluse of Viet Nam is, I think, a striking microcosm. I'd suggest that anyone interested hit their local library and read Saigon by Anthony Grey. The reason I suggest this one is that every single nationality in our AT membership is represented there and that the entire story is well within the living memory of those even our youngest members are close to.

Cheers. Neil
 
JohnH
It was my maturation to the knowledge of how we colonized the lands now known as the usa that I came to the realization that we have always been an imperialist nation.

It is always about the money and the fact that rarely do the moneyed classes have to sacrifice much and in fact in most cases they make more money. I might argue that in the case of the colonization of the continent it was more to do with individuals being driven west for the benefit of the moneyed classes, in other words not so direct a correlation and a bit more subtle.

I think it would benefit the american public to recognize that we have been an imperial nation from the beginning. The institutional barriers to that are so great that it certainly will not occur in my lifetime.
 
seeker
comfortable wrote:

I am amused at the recent financial and technical assistance rendered by the Chinese to poor island nations and some nations in Africa.

The game is clear (and very smart).

We (the Chinese) give you money, technology, factories, and jobs.
You (the local chiefs and governors) get to be popular with your people as their standard of living comes up.
Later - you don't dare refuse us (the Chinese) anything we want to ask of you, lest we cancel our contracts and take our technicians and money somewhere else.

It's beautiful. The Chinese are beating us at our own game in the 3rd world.
Grin


The really fun part is that we can no longer really even afford to play.
 
comfortable
JohnH wrote:
It was my maturation to the knowledge of how we colonized the lands now known as the usa that I came to the realization that we have always been an imperialist nation.

It is always about the money and the fact that rarely do the moneyed classes have to sacrifice much and in fact in most cases they make more money. I might argue that in the case of the colonization of the continent it was more to do with individuals being driven west for the benefit of the moneyed classes, in other words not so direct a correlation and a bit more subtle.

I think it would benefit the american public to recognize that we have been an imperial nation from the beginning. The institutional barriers to that are so great that it certainly will not occur in my lifetime.

Hmmmmm...
If the American public were to realize the truth, how would that benefit?
IMHO it would merely lower the hypocrisy quotient.
Most societies are held together with the glue of self-important delusions.
Patriotism being nothing more than a secular religion, affording emotional pedants the opportunity to take umbrage with any who would challenge their cherished, if erroneous, beliefs.
If the truth were known and acknowledged, would that society become "healthier" - or, more likely, become something else entirely.

Example:
Is the truth always beneficial, I recently read a hypothesis, (I believe it was Dawkins), that were a national DNA data base collected and used for truth, that the overall happiness of society might be lowered quite a bit - That is, should true paternity, as evidenced by DNA, be universally available. After all, there are an uncomfortably large number of families with one or more children being provided for by a man who incorrectly believes that he is the father of all of the chicks in his nest.
Wink

"Does this dress make me look fat?"
The truth is often used with great care.
Edited by comfortable on 11/08/2008 15:07
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The fewer the facts, the stronger the opinion.
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Men are sheep in credulity, but wolves for conformity.
 
catman
Regarding patriotism, I see nothing wrong with having pride in one's country, or high school, or motorcycle marque. It's when one starts believing that it is better than anyone else's, thus justifying all sorts of stupidity, that problems arise.

The truth is often uncomfortable (no pun intended) and/or unpleasant. The question, "Does this dress make me look fat?" is an invitation to disaster.
"If I owned both Hell and Texas, I'd live in Hell and rent out Texas." - General Sheridan
 
comfortable
catman wrote:
Regarding patriotism, I see nothing wrong with having pride in one's country, or high school, or motorcycle marque. It's when one starts believing that it is better than anyone else's, thus justifying all sorts of stupidity, that problems arise.

The truth is often uncomfortable (no pun intended) and/or unpleasant. The question, "Does this dress make me look fat?" is an invitation to disaster.


In my dictionary, there is no other variety of patriotism.

I have never met a different sort of "patriot".

"My country, right or wrong." sounds better than a religious fanatic who won't entertain the concept that their cherished dogma might be "wrong" at all. But in the end, it amounts to exactly the same thing.
Wink
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The fewer the facts, the stronger the opinion.
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Men are sheep in credulity, but wolves for conformity.
 
Skeeve
I think patriotism and nationalism get confused sometimes.
"The world is my country, and do good is my religion." - Thomas Paine
 
catman
"My country, right or wrong" is always wrong. If one's country is wrong, it needs fixing.

I think one can be moderately patriotic without being nationalistic, but they're hard to separate.
"If I owned both Hell and Texas, I'd live in Hell and rent out Texas." - General Sheridan
 
derF
All in all, one of our more interesting and engaging threads. I am still of the opinion that, we, as a people, are sometimes inclined to persue a solution that is immediately favorable to us, but, in the long run, detrimental to the world as a whole. Greed and self enrichment may actually be the desires that we have to regulate in order for the race, as a whole, to advance.
I'll drink to that. Or anything else for that matter.
 
neilmarr
Don't want to appear flip, but I can tell you from experience that living in France for any length of time is a great cure for patriotism. Maybe that's why we're called ex-pats. Cheers. Neil
 
Cynic
After a while, patriotism/nationalism can become a substitute for thinking. Think about McCain's concession speech, where he kept getting interrupted by, among other things, dischordant chants of "USA! USA!" from completely out of left field. I mean, WTF?
 
comfortable
Welllllll..... I don't want to be flip here either. And I like and respect the Catman hugely...
But if "patriotism" isn't "we're better than they are" - then what is it?

An interesting question IMHO. Let's explore it a bit....

As a "patriot", am I willing to take up arms against an armed aggressor nation?
Yes, I suppose I am.
Why?
Because "they" wish to impose their will upon me and mine by force of arms, and I would resist.
Ah! But what if my own government declared such-and-such to be the new law of the land and sent armed goons to my town to put down dissent? Would I take up arms?
Could a Patriot resist one's own elected government for the same reasons?

Hitler was duly elected, and the German parliament (or whatever) voted to give him "emergency powers". Then followed the armed goon squads (the Brown Shirts, SA, etc.)
So what would a "patriot" do?
What is it that a patriot feels strongly about?

If a "patriot" is one who defends whatever his "government"'s goals are - that's not the same as defending what the patriot's own goals are. And if a patriot is ultimately defending his own concepts - then whence the label "Patriot"?

Are we, each individual, to decide by our own lights, which goals are defensible and which goals are to be resisted?

Interesting question...

I, for one, see patriotism and religious fervor as two names for the same phenomenon. Ultimately, the religious person is actually defending his own concept of what his religion teaches; his own interpretation of the goals of his organization.

Additionally, the same emotions are in play as those of the patriot.

"No man ever believes that the Constitution means what it says; he is always convinced that it says what he means." -- (with apologies to Cynic and George Bernard Shaw)

Schisms within the body politic = religious schisms. Same difference.

Back to the earlier point. When a patriot takes up arms against an aggressor nation, the merits of the aggressor nation are not at issue; rather its aggression is the issue, (although it may help the morale of the respective soldiers if they are convinced that the "other" side is evil, godless, heathen, uncultured, whatever).

Short of the case of defending against an aggressor, i.e. in times of peace, what does it mean to be a "patriot"?

Am I a patriot if I declare that my government and society are acceptable, but I recognize that North Koreans, for whatever reasons, are passionate about their "Dear Leader", and that their way of life works just fine for them? If I think otherwise, on what basis do I form my opinion? Is it because I feel that I am more educated than they?

How about the Saudis? ...or the Swiss?
Is their society and national identity and personal feelings about the place they happened to grown up - equally valid to my own?

Would I still be a patriot?

Would such value-judgments on my part be based upon my identity as a citizen of the USA, or would such judgments, again, be my personal view and belief that my lights are somehow "more valid" than those of the less-fortunate citizens of those countries?

Interesting...
Edited by comfortable on 11/09/2008 13:23
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The fewer the facts, the stronger the opinion.
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Men are sheep in credulity, but wolves for conformity.
 
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