What country is this? The same one its always been. You are looking at the past through rose colored glasses, seeing a golden age now past. Its a mistake people have made from the time we as a species thought of history. The US is not fundamentally different now that it was in WWII. There were protests against our getting involved in that war as well, especially prior to Pearl Harbor. Even after that, there was a fair share of folks that were against the war, even though at that point we had no choice.
As has been pointed out, there were atrocities committed by US troops (and every other nations troops too, whether Allies or Axis) in WWII that make anything we have done in Iraq look like frat boy pranks. We gunned down troops. We killed civilians wholesale just by the nature of the weapons we used. We abused prisoners. The list goes on and on. Its only your (false) perception that makes it seem cleaner or nobler.
The REAL difference is the press didn’t focus on it, and ‘The World’ was kind of busy doing other things at the time, and weren’t disposed to throw the myth of US goodness and moral superiority in our teeth like they are gleefully doing now. You are wringing your hands over how bad the US is because your preconceptions of the US were unrealistic…and now your conception of how BAD America has become is totally distorted.
We are just a nation composed of humans in the end. Our SYSTEM is one of the best in the world (IMO), but its still a flawed human system. And even if our system was perfect (snort) our nation is still composed of fallable human types who fuck up and do bad things occationally. What, you think all the criminals are in jail?? And war is notorious for bringing out the animal in certain people anyway.
Let me tell you a secret: The rest of the world knows all this already. They are busting our chops not because what was done in an Iraqi prison was so bad (it wasn’t…even if a few people were beaten to death, something not yet confirmed, thats small potatos compared to REAL atrocities…and almost every nation of consequence has similar things in THEIR closets), they are busting our chops because we have tried to live the myth you are wringing your hands over, and it annoys them…and it give them great pleasure when they can throw our smugness in our teeth when we show that we too are only human.
Finally there is the press. They are feeding your distorted perception by focusing on this, but not on that. They fed your mis-conception of WWII by focusing on the noble and staying away from the grim realities. They are distorting your current perceptions by focusing so much on the prison scandal without really putting it into perspective. But focusing and distorting the the fierceness of the ‘resistance’ in Iraq, and the fact that its a ‘quagmire’, unwinable, time to cut and run, blah blah blah…after a whole year.
I’m no fan of the war by any stretch. I think it was a huge mistake for us to have distracted ourselves from rebuilding Afghanistan into a stable nation and hunting down and killing terrorists. However, we are there now, right or wrong, and the US needs to find some fucking internal fortitude to stay the course WE created. Guess what? Bad things will happen. People will continue to die, including our soldiers. Further atrocites will be committed by both sides, and fuckups will be made resulting in the deaths of more innocents. When you open Pandora’s War Box, these are the kind of presents you get. Its never neat or clean…its never noble without the shit. But we went in there, and we need to find the guts in ourselves to stay the course until something resembling stability is restored. If it takes us 5 years or 10, we need to meet our responsibilities.
If we DON’T, if we cut and run like cowards or like children who can’t stay focused on something when things go bad…now THAT will make ME cry for what my country has become.