My country, always wrong
It seems as if my use of the term "anti-Americanism" is an invitation for liberals to bite my head off. Every time I utter the phrase, I am immediately scolded for confusing legitimate criticism of American policies with being an "America-hater".
To be sure, there is a difference between legitimate criticism of our country and "anti-Americanism". I can criticize the United States with the best of them, and do so when I see fit. I condemn, for example, our history of slavery, our atrocious treatment of the American Indians, our abandonment of the South Vietnamese people, our thirty-three year (and on-going) atrocity against unborn children, and our status as the leading contributer to the hopelessly corrupt UN.
What is anti-Americanism? It's the endless pursuit of American guilt, the idea that we have been wrong at all times and all places, and that no matter what happens tomorrow, we'll be wrong then, too.
It's kind of like playing "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon"; the anti-American Left delights in finding a way to trace all human suffering, anywhere on earth, back to the United States. With a nihilistic attitude and a lot of tortured logic, anybody can play.
As noted America-hater Noam Chomsky writes "So when people talk about Israeli attrocities or Turkish attrocities, they should be talking about US attrocities, because that is where they come from." For this reason, Chomsky can refer to "Clinton-backed Turkish terror" and "US-backed Chinese invasion".
As Daniel J. Flynn writes "It matters little if the conflicts... involve no US military support. If we trade with or provide aid to nations pursuing policies Chomsky objects to, then he blames America... On the rare occasion that America has withheld aid and restricted trade, such as with interbellum Iraq, Chomsky introduces a catchall phrase, blaming America for not trading or giving aid..."
Damned if you do, damned if you don't. That's Anti-Americanism. And the embargo on Iraq between the wars is a prime example of this.
After Gulf War I, Saddam Hussein was not allowed to trade with the world because he has a bad habit of diverting all of his nation's wealth to dangerous weaponry. But living under an embargo was difficult for the Iraqi people, crippling its economy. Despite the fact that food and medicine were expempted under the sanctions (UN Resolution 661), a reported 1.7 million Iraqis died under the embargo. This figure is hard to believe, since it comes from the Iraqi government itself, and was used by Saddam as a propoganda piece against the "Zionist Anglo-American Alliance", in order to persuade the world that the sanctions needed to be lifted. Nonethless, the figure was gobbled up by the Left and frequently circulated as established fact, when in fact it is not.
And it was all America's fault too. Should we have allowed Saddam to trade? Certainly not. Sure, a few more scraps might have trickled down to his people, but Saddam would have used most of the profits for weapons which he would use to kill his own people. And that would have been a "US-backed atrocity".
But not to worry, Chomsky. In 1997, the UN, with the blessing of the United States, established the Oil-for-Food program. Iraq would be allowed to export oil, so long as it recieved payment only in food, medicine, and humanitarian goods (although food and medicine were never prohibited under UN 661).
It turned into the biggest monetary scandal in world history. Saddam skimmed off the top, bought friends in foreign governments and in the press, and the Iraqi people got inedible food and expired medicine. Big wigs at the UN profited nicely as well.
So the era of Iraqi sanctions can really be split in two: pre-"Oil-for-food", and post-"Oil-for-food". I don't blame the US for deaths occuring pre-"Oil-for-food"; I blame Saddam. He could have stopped them in a second, and chose not to. And there is no rational way to blame America for any death occuring after 1997, although I'm sure that Chomsky will have it figured out by the time his next book goes to press. For deaths in the post-"Oil-for-food" era, I blame the UN and anyone whose palm was greased by Iraq's fascist government. And I blame Saddam Hussein.
Well, the sanctions were lifted as soon as Saddam was unseated. Thank you, Iraqi Freedom troops. As much as I thought the statistic about embargo deaths was bogus in the first place, let's assume that it's true. In that case, we have saved 326,923 lives by invading Iraq and removing the government against which the sanctions applied. That's the number of people who would have died in two and a half years, if we apply the yearly average of 130,769 deaths (1.7 million, divided by twelve years gives the average number of deaths per year under the sanctions. Multiply that by the two and half years that we've been in Iraq, and you get 326,923). And we didn't have to allow Saddam to arm himself in order to do it.
Pages could be filled with the caustic, contradictory, and almost schizophrenic accusations of the prophets of anti-Americanism. Don't be fooled for a second that such criticisms are fueled by a genuine desire to build a better America. It's pure bile that does not deserve to be taken seriously. So when you hear me calling anti-Americanism by its name, don't assume I mean that every leftie is a traitor. I don't take issue with reasoned dissent, I just have a problem with those on the Left who follow the motto, "my country, always wrong." It just happens that this type of leftist represents about ninety-five percent of the Left.