Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Treating foreigners like they're not human

I've been thinking about this for a while, but this video has really crystalized things for me.



Sometimes, I feel like a major problem with American exceptionalism is that it leads to feeling like other people, well, just aren't people.

I've lamented before that often we say "America is the best" but can't quantify how it is. I've heard that America is more "free" than anywhere else in the world, without explaining how it's more free than, say, Canada or Britain or the Netherlands.

And there often seems to be this presumption that because it's America that's doing it, it's inherently good. Think about how Dubya couldn't respond to the questions saying that if he could re-define the Geneva conventions, couldn't other, less savoury nations? He basically said, well, the US would only do it in good ways.

Add to that the fact that Americans just don't get out of town that much, and don't tend to know much about the world (our readership, of course, excluded) and I think you have a problem. Because when you don't know about foreigners, but know that you're better than them, it leads to a bad situation.

Look at the lack of outrage (apart from among the liberal left of the cities) at Guantanamo.

Look at the lack of worry about the detainee bills--they're foreign, they're different, they're probably bad, so why afford them the same rights we get?

Look at the fact the torture bill sailed through Congress and Dems were afraid to oppose because their constitutents would get mad: Well, it doesn't matter, because they're foreign and different and probably bad, so why treat them the way we want to treat ourselves?

Look at Abu Ghraib--I simply have no concept of how anyone could do that to people, unless they didn't think that they actually were people. Who do you know could scare their fellow humans with dogs? Cover them in excrement? Make them pile up naked and simulate sex? Do mock executions?

What human being would drive a car and make kids run for water (keep in mind Iraq doesn't have a constant water supply in most cities)--kids, for Christ's sake--as sport? Only people who don't think of those kids as people.

The Nazis did what they did because nongermans were less than Germans.

Is history repeating itself?

5 comments:

EX-NDIP said...

Have you ever read the Geneva Convention?
It says non-uniformed combatants can be shot as spies . . . life in Abu was quite pleasant I understand . . much better than being shot. There were not toilets though, so not many Korans were flushed.
Its soooooo strange that you never comment on the dirt bags that amputate heads, on TV and rave about what they are about to do to innocent civilians. . . . but you go on and on about enemy combatants who, if they had the chance would think no more about killing you than taking a dump!!
By the way, the US has a level of democracy much surpassing Canada and Britain . . . notice the last election, where numerous initiatives were placed on ballots in many states . . . thats real democracy in action, when do you ever see anything like that in Canada???

With people like you folks . . . maybe what just happened in Somalia is what is in store for our future!!!

The leader of Somalia's autonomous region of Puntland has agreed to introduce Islamic law in the territory.
Mohamed Adde Muse said a committee would decide how best to implement Sharia to replace the current Western-based system of civil laws.
Correspondents say the move follows intense pressure from local Muslim and clan leaders

Dean P said...

oh please. Just because I comment on the atrocities of the US, doesn't mean that I'm forgiving the islamic nutcases. That's the disconnect the right accepts. It's not zero-sum--you can criticize the US without embracing terrorists. The point is, we expect it from them. But if we're the good guys, we should be held to a higher standard.

And, only someone who doesn't live in the US would say that the initiative process is a good thing. And that's completely nonresponsive to my point about freedom. Ballot initiatives do not equal freedom.

But back to my original point: Just because they do it doesn't mean we get to, or can do things to innocents. And we don't need to post about bad people because we all know they're bad.

And what's that nonsequitor about sharia?

Anonymous said...

Relax Dean, you'll get nowhere with this clown. Instead of posting anything remotely intelligent he prefers to indulge in ad hominem attacks from a fanatical, rightwing perspective. His title suggests he used to be an NDP follower so maybe his bouncing around so extremely means he's been off his meds too long.

Dean P said...

Hi Anon,

Yeah, I know. Right-wingers and logic don't go hand in hand. We wonder if he even wipes the foam off his mouth before he starts typing. . . .

Mike B said...

I said 'spittle', not foam! Foam implies some disease, like rabies. Spittle strikes me as a likely product of lunatic ravings.