Friday, October 24, 2014

David Bromwich at TomDispatch ON The Immorality of " American Exceptionalism "

Picture Shining City upon a hill

'Unconditional love of our country is the counterpart of unconditional detachment and even hostility toward other countries,' writes Bromwich. 'None of us is an exception, and no nation is.' (Poster: Public domain)

"The Importance of Being Exceptional:From Ancient Greece to Twenty-First-Century America" by David Bromwich at TomDispatch via, Oct. 23,2014

"...On the whole, is American exceptionalism a force for good? The question shouldn’t be hard to answer. To make an exception of yourself is as immoral a proceeding for a nation as it is for an individual. When we say of a person (usually someone who has gone off the rails), “He thinks the rules don’t apply to him,” we mean that he is a danger to others and perhaps to himself. People who act on such a belief don’t as a rule examine themselves deeply or write a history of the self to justify their understanding that they are unique. Very little effort is involved in their willfulness. Such exceptionalism, indeed, comes from an excess of will unaccompanied by awareness of the necessity for self-restraint.

Such people are monsters. Many land in asylums, more in prisons. But the category also encompasses a large number of high-functioning autistics: governors, generals, corporate heads, owners of professional sports teams. When you think about it, some of these people do write histories of themselves and in that pursuit, a few of them have kept up the vitality of an ancient genre: criminal autobiography.

All nations, by contrast, write their own histories as a matter of course. They preserve and exhibit a record of their doings; normally, of justified conduct, actions worthy of celebration. “Exceptional” nations, therefore, are compelled to engage in some fancy bookkeeping which exceptional individuals can avoid -- at least until they are put on trial or subjected to interrogation under oath. The exceptional nation will claim that it is not responsible for its exceptional character. Its nature was given by God, or History, or Destiny.

An external and semi-miraculous instrumentality is invoked to explain the prodigy whose essence defies mere scientific understanding. To support the belief in the nation’s exceptional character, synonyms and variants of the word “providence” often get slotted in. That word gained its utility at the end of the seventeenth century -- the start of the epoch of nations formed in Europe by a supposed covenant or compact. Providence splits the difference between the accidents of fortune and purposeful design; it says that God is on your side without having the bad manners to pronounce His name.

Why is it immoral for a person to treat himself as an exception? The reason is plain: because morality, by definition, means a standard of right and wrong that applies to all persons without exception. Yet to answer so briefly may be to oversimplify. For at least three separate meanings are in play when it comes to exceptionalism, with a different apology backing each. The glamour that surrounds the idea owes something to confusion among these possible senses..."

and David Bromwich concludes his article by comparing America to a family insular and self-obsessed left to define moral values without recognizing the sanctity of other families of the other or the outsider a family dynamic which is sociopathic :

...At a national level, the doctrine of exceptionalism as unconditional love encourages habits of suppression and euphemism that sink deep roots in the common culture. We have seen the result in America in the years since 2001. In the grip of this doctrine, torture has become “enhanced interrogation”; wars of aggression have become wars for democracy; a distant likely enemy has become an “imminent threat” whose very existence justifies an executive order to kill. These are permitted and officially sanctioned forms of collective dishonesty. They begin in quasi-familial piety, they pass through the systematic distortion of language, and they end in the corruption of consciousness.

The commandment to “keep it in the family” is a symptom of that corruption. It follows that one must never speak critically of one’s country in the hearing of other nations or write against its policies in foreign newspapers. No matter how vicious and wrong the conduct of a member of the family may be, one must assume his good intentions. This ideology abets raw self-interest in justifying many actions by which the United States has revealingly made an exception of itself -- for example, our refusal to participate in the International Criminal Court. The community of nations, we declared, was not situated to understand the true extent of our constabulary responsibilities. American actions come under a different standard and we are the only qualified judges of our own cause.

The doctrine of the national family may be a less fertile source of belligerent pride than “my country right or wrong.” It may be less grandiose, too, than the exceptionalism that asks us to love our country for ideals that have never properly been translated into practice. And yet, in this appeal to the family, one finds the same renunciation of moral knowledge -- a renunciation that, if followed, would render inconceivable any social order beyond that of the family and its extension, the tribe.

Unconditional love of our country is the counterpart of unconditional detachment and even hostility toward other countries. None of us is an exception, and no nation is. The sooner we come to live with this truth as a mundane reality without exceptions, the more grateful other nations will be to live in a world that includes us, among others..."

Meanwhile US forces accused of deliberate bombing of civilians this time in Syria

Thick smoke from an airstrike by the US-led coalition rises in Kobani, Syria, as seen from a hilltop on the outskirts of Suruc, at the Turkey-Syria border, Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014. Kobani, also known as Ayn Arab, and its surrounding areas, has been under assault by extremists of the Islamic State group since mid-September and is being defended by Kurdish fighters. (Photo: Lefteris Pitarakis/AP)

"Dozens of Civilians Killed by US-Led Bombing of Syria: Report In addition to hundreds of fighters reported killed in month of airstrikes, women and children among the many innocent bystanders left dead" by Jon Queally, staff writer via, Oct. 23, 2014

And US forced to destroy its own weapons which were taken by ISIL terrorist group:

"US Destroys Its Own Weapons in Enemy Hands:'Until and unless the US understands that the answer to the world’s problems is not war and that arming the world will lead to continuous wars and kill millions of innocent, we will not see an end to an increasingly unstable world.'"
byThalif Deen, IPS News via Common, Oct. 23, 2014

UNITED NATIONS - When the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) captured a treasure trove of U.S. weapons from fleeing Iraqi soldiers last month, one of the rebel leaders with a morbid sense of humour was quoted as saying rather sarcastically: “We hope the Americans would honour their agreements and service our helicopters.”

As fighter planes continue attacking ISIL targets, some of the U.S. airstrikes are, paradoxically, aimed at U.S.-made helicopters, Humvees, armoured personnel carriers and anti-aircraft artillery guns originally supplied to the Iraqi armed forces and currently deployed by the rebel group.

Not surprisingly, they are all under U.S. warranties for maintenance, repair and servicing.

The whole military exercise has degenerated into a political farce compounded by last week’s airdrops of weapons to Kurdish forces battling ISIL, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), in Kobani, inside Syria.

And US and EU backed Ukrainian forces accused of various war crimes and other violations of International Law:

Ukraine: Widespread Use of Cluster Munitions: Government Responsible for Cluster Attacks on Donetsk HumanRights Watch,OCTOBER 20, 2014

(Berlin) – Ukrainian government forces used cluster munitions in populated areas in Donetsk city in early October 2014, Human Rights Watch said today. The use of cluster munitions in populated areas violates the laws of war due to the indiscriminate nature of the weapon and may amount to war crimes.

Kiev also accused of using white phosphorus on rebels and in populated areas

Ukraine: Kiev using white phosphorus near Donetsk say Vostok Battalion

A large support for US backed Ukraine government is from NeoNazis who are determined to create an ethnically pure Ukraine getting rid of all Russians, Poles , Jews etc.

Neo-Nazi threat in new Ukraine: BBC NEWSNIGHT

Obama, America and EU supporting neonazis in Ukraine.
These Neonazis want to ethnically cleanse Ukraine of those they view as non-Ukrainians such as Russians and Jews and Poles

Neo-Nazi brigades fight alongside Ukraine army in East
Published on 10 Sep 2014
Amnesty International says a volunteer battalion fighting in the country's east, has committed human-rights violations. In a newly published report, the group says the paramilitary unit - which is on the side of Kiev - was responsible for arrests, abductions and blackmail.

Kiev's 'war crime': HRW evidence clear, Ukraine must stop rocketing civilians

Published on 27 Jul 2014
Human Rights Watch said that the Ukrainian army may have committed a war crime when it kill16 civilians with unguided grad missiles. The group says that the grad systems are just too inaccurate to be used on populated areas. HRW is calling on both sides in the conflict to stop using this kind of weapon if it wanted to avoid civilian casualties. One of the authors of the report said the Ukrainian military should be held accountable for the killing of civilians.

And so it goes ,

No comments: