Wednesday, August 10, 2005

American Values

I'm taking a few moments to write about something different than what I am up to and just thought I'd share a few thoughts about my perception of some controversial US subjects who as usual I can't really understand what the whole hoopla is about.

Burning of the American flag

There has been a lot of discussion about making it illegal to burn an American flag here in the United States.

First of all it is interesting to note that according to the U.S. Flag Code the correct way to dispose of a flag is, and I quote: "The flag, when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning".

Jokes aside, the case for making it illegal is that the American flag is the most important symbol of American values (Being the freedom and pursuit of happiness). I can understand how some people can find it offensive that someone so blatantly express their displeasure and disrespect of something that most people here (Me included most of the time) agrees with.

However, I find it interesting that in order to protect the symbol of American values they think it is ok to betray those values (In this case limit freedom). In short the way I see it, the people who are for making it illegal to burn the American flag find that the symbol itself is more important than the values it represent.

The US strategy of preemption

With this I mean the new way that America has decided that it has the right to go to war in the world. That is basically if it feels threatened by any other state it has the right to go after that state, regardless of if any other country in the world agrees with the US or not.

To start off and to set the record straight, I was for the war in Iraq (Although not the way America went about to do it). The way Saddam Hussein behaved before the war was just so bizarre if he did not possess weapons of mass destruction I just couldn't understand why he behaved the way he did. With that I mean that he cooperated so badly with the UN inspectors even though he apparently had no WMD:s.

I just find it this new way of thinking very dangerous. To explain why I think so I would like to start out with claiming that I think pretty much every country in the world think that it is righteous (I'm going to intentionally leave out North Korea, because Kim Jong Il just seems to behave so erratically).

To illustrate my point I'm going to choose the country of Iran. I am fairly certain that the people who rule Iran are convinced that they are working as a force for good (Something you usually get from very religious people). Let us assume that Iran adopted the same foreign policy as the US. That is if they feel they are in danger of being attacked by another forreign country they have the right to preemptively strike at that country, what would they do? And before we even go there take a moment to think of who is in the most danger of being attacked by the other Iran or the USA. My bet is that Iran has a lot bigger chance of being attacked (And much more severely) than USA. So according to the same reasoning as the US used to attack Iraq (I'm not going to include Afghanistan because in that case they actually did strike first, and I seem to recall that the US did have UN approval for that), Iraq would be just as justified (Or even more because I seriosly think the US could do a lot more damage in Iran than vice verse) to preemptively attack the United States.

That is the reason that in the past a country usually had to go to the UN Securities Council and convince them that they were in the right. And thus by doing this the country in question could go forward with the good eye of the international community (And usually their considerable support, remember Gulf War 1). When each country can decide by them self it is OK to go and invade another country is just very dangerous. The only reason the US got away with it is that they are the "biggest bully in the schoolyard", regardless if they were in the right to invade a country (Which I agree with that they were in the case of Iraq) or if they weren't.

That's it for this time. I have more to say on this subject with the whole "non combatant issue", but I don't have the energy for it right now. Mayby in a future post.

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