The New Burkeian

Reflections on the Revolution in Conservatism

Friday, October 22, 2004

America the 'Evil Empire'?

Observing a class discussion on the reason for use of the A-bomb to end WWII in Japan, I heard an interesting theory. Apparently WWII was driven by the racism of America. The reason suggested for the use of the bomb was because the Japanese were not caucasian and American brass just wanted to test the bomb on live subjects. Supposedly, we did not use the A-bomb on Germany because they looked more like us. Interesting.

I think this student should probably get his facts together, but I doubt that will occur as he is a journalism major. We are to forget the provocation of WWII. He seems to forget that the Japanese initiated the war with America via surprise attack. He also fails to note that a working A-bomb was not around before Germany surrendered. Furthermore, he attempts to equate the internment of Japanese by America to the treatment of POWs by the Japanese. Thank goodness our professor corrected this misinformed student before the end of class.

This drives even deeper than a discussion of WWII strategy and tactics, though. These arguments are very similar to opposition for our War on Terrorism. Opponents seem to forget that we were attacked. (And I might add that 9/11 was not the first time.) It also drives home opponents' ideas that America is inherently 'evil'. They suggest that we respond with force because we are bloodthirsty savages with no right to impose our will on others. Unlike former dictator Saddam Hussein, perhaps?

It amuses me how similar these people are to proponents of 'original sin' in mid-millenium Europe. The idea here is that America is inherently 'evil', so any action we take in the world is wrong. Perhaps conservatives should start buying indulgences from the liberals to get to Heaven.

But to be more serious about this, it is crucial that America make clear its intentions for the War on Terrorism. We are acting because it is the right thing to do. Much like Japanese and German abuses in WWII, terrorists attack without regard for human life. If the A-bomb can save American lives in a war that we did not initiate, then America must do whatever it can now to prevent the loss of innocent lives at the hands of terrorists. It is the right thing to do.

We are not an 'Evil Empire'. We believe in liberty for all people. What is wrong with a country where both Michael Moore and the Swift Boat Veterans can have an opinion on political matters? Sitting back and waiting to respond will not suffice either. Waiting implies that we do not care for the plight of people all around the world, and I really truly believe that Americans understand the difference between right and wrong. We must fight for justice and liberty around the world because it is the right thing to do. We are not an 'Evil Empire'.

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