Thursday, June 30, 2005
The day that will live in infamy; Ahead: Six Decades Of Humiliation
Today, It is We Americans Who Live in Infamy
by Arthur Schlesinger Jr.
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"The president has adopted a policy of "anticipatory self-defense" that is alarmingly similar to the policy that imperial Japan employed at Pearl Harbor on a date which, as an earlier American president said it would, lives in infamy.
Franklin D. Roosevelt was right, but today it is we Americans who live in infamy. The global wave of sympathy that engulfed the United States after 9/11 has given way to a global wave of hatred of American arrogance and militarism. Public opinion polls in friendly countries regard George W. Bush as a greater threat to peace than Saddam Hussein. Demonstrations around the planet, instead of denouncing the vicious rule of the Iraqi president, assail the United States on a daily basis.
The Bush Doctrine converts us into the world's judge, jury and executioner -- a self-appointed status that, however benign our motives, is bound to corrupt our leadership. As John Quincy Adams warned on July 4, 1821, the fundamental maxims of our policy "would insensibly change from liberty to force ... [America] might become the dictatress of the world. She would no longer be the ruler of her own spirit." Already the collateral damage to our civil liberties and constitutional rights, carried out by the religious fanatic who is our attorney general, is considerable -- and more is still to come."
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Ahead: Six Decades Of Humiliation
"Many Americans, still taking pride in the memorable image of "Gift of USA" flag logos on bags of grain being tossed to starving Africans, find it difficult to accept the role of international pariah. But the truth is that many people are as scared of us as they were of Germany and Japan in 1939.
. . . . .
Now the U.S. is the sole, charter member of its own Axis of Evil: invading and threatening invasions, breaking arms treaties willy-nilly, kidnapping and murdering foreign citizens without cause, refusing to abide by the Geneva conventions. But that will change someday--whether we're forced to change, as were Germany and Japan, or whether we choose a different path on our own. What's daunting is how much time--and humility--it will take for the rest of the world to trust us as much as they trust Germany and Italy."