Blame America First Liberals - Taking Responsibility
-August 3, 2003
There is growing rhetoric coming from conservative pundits such as
House Majority Leader Tom DeLay and author Ann Coulter about "blame
America first liberals".
Here Tom DeLay states:
"Howard Dean says the president intentionally misled the
John Kerry hinted Operation Iraqi Freedom
was about oil.
Dick Gephardt the other day said we were less
safe and less secure than we were four years ago… when Osama bin
Laden and Saddam Hussein ran free.
Blame-America-first liberals all over the country are repeating this
But make no mistake: this isn't just
campaign rhetoric we're talking about."
Let's cut right to the subject of blame. I find it interesting
that the Republican Party has made "personal responsibility" one of the
cornerstones of their political platform, yet they repeatedly refuse to
accept any responsibility.
Blame is defined in the dictionary as "to hold responsible".
In that context what we can see is that blaming America first really
means taking responsibility for American actions first and foremost.
It means being responsible.
Being responsible means accepting blame, period. If America is
to be a responsible nation then the very first thing we should do as
Americans is determine our own responsibility in a situation and accept
blame for our responsibilities first and foremost before moving on down
the chain to assign blame to others.
Who is more respected, someone who accepts responsibility or someone
who does not? I suppose that it escapes the likes of Mr. DeLay and
Ms. Coulter that perhaps the reason why America is losing respect in the
international community is precisely because of American
refusal to accept blame where blame is due.
The very fist step in assessing any problem should be to
determine American responsibility for the problem and then accept the
blame for that responsibility. The next step is then to start
pointing fingers at others after we have accepted our own blame.
Am I a "blame America first liberal"? In a sense yes, and I am
because of precisely the same ideals that the Republicans claim to tout,
personal responsibility. I'm not here to try and shirk blame I'm
here to accept it where it is due.
In any situation blame is supposed to start at the top and then, as
they say, it rolls down hill. If something goes wrong at a
construction site who is the first person to accept the blame? Its
the foreman. If something goes wrong during a military maneuver
who is the first to take the blame? Its the highest-ranking
officer, who is in charge.
Out of a child and a parent who is the one that is the most
responsible? It's the parent, and its the parent that takes the
blame for the actions of their child in public.
Why then do these Republicans keep trying to say that the situation
is different in politics?
America is the most powerful country in the world, period. That
also means that we are the country most responsible for the condition of
the world today, period. Being the most powerful country in the
world means that we are the country that is to take the
blame first (that is if we are self respecting and want the respect of
Let's take a look at Mr. DeLay's assertions though, that we are more
safe now then when Osama Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein were free. First
of all Osama Bin Laden is still running free, and secondly Saddam
Hussein has been proven not to have been involved in the 9/11 terrorist
attacks or any other attacks on the United States, ever. In addition, we
are currently being warned that Al-Queda is possibly preparing for
another terrorist attack on the United States. So, are we any more safe
than we were 4 years ago? I imagine that we are, but that its mostly due
to domestic security measures, not the fact that we waged war on
Afghanistan and Iraq, both countries that were not involved in the
terrorist attacks on America, unlike Saudi Arabia and Egypt who were
heavily involved, but have gone, as of yet, unpunished.
When something is not right in the world the very first thing that we
as Americans should be doing is taking an honest look at the situation
and saying, "Have we in any way contributed to this problem? If so how,
and what can we do to fix it?"
Don't you agree? Isn't that the "responsible" thing to do?
Isn't that what you would do in your personal life?
Let's look at the facts that relate to American involvement in the
situation in the Middle East.
- In 1953 America supported the overthrow of the Iranian government
and the installation of the Shah of Iran as a dictator. The Shah's
rule in Iran was brutal and corrupt and America supported his regime
and in fact relied on his regime up until the day that he was
overthrown by Ayatollah Khomeini. The reason that he was overthrown
was because his regime was corrupt and tyrannical and the people of
Iran knew that he had American support.
- The CIA assisted the overthrow of Karim Kassem by the Ba'ath Party
in 1963 because Kassem was a communist sympathizer and the Ba'ath
Party was anti-communist.
- The CIA worked with the Ba'ath Party early on to support their
anti-communist efforts in Iraq, which included "elimination" of
communist political opponents to the Ba'ath Party.
- In 1980 President Jimmy Carter, at the urging of the Joint Chiefs
of Staff, stated that: "An attempt by an outside force to gain
control of the Persian Gulf region will be regarded as an assault on
the vital interests of the United States of America, and such an
assault will be repelled by any means necessary, including military
force." This publicly established an American doctrine stating
that the Persian Gulf is a vital interest to America, in which we
aim to maintain a controlling influence.
- During the 1980s a close relationship between Saddam Hussein and
America formed after the fall of the Shah in Iran. Strong business
ties were formed and American arms companies sold weapons to Iraq
and encouraged Saddam to go to war with Iran. American Republican
leaders were the primary ones involved in all of this, including
Senator Bob Dole, Senator Alan Simpson, and President Ronald
Reagan. Current Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was also involved
in building relations with Iraq at this time.
- America is who supplied Iraq with chemical and biological weapons
materials in the 1980s and instructed Iraqis on how to make these
- On July 25th, 1990 American Ambassador to Iraq told
Saddam Hussein "We have no opinion on your Arab - Arab
conflicts, such as your dispute with Kuwait. Secretary [of State
James] Baker has directed me to emphasize the instruction, first
given to Iraq in the 1960's, that the Kuwait issue is not associated
with America." Four days later Saddam invaded Kuwait.
- After driving Iraq's forces out of Kuwait America called on the
Iraqi people to rise up with American assistance to overthrow
Saddam's regime. As soon as the Kurds and Shias rebelled against
Saddam American support was withdrawn, which allowed Saddam's forces
to retaliate against the rebellions that we incited, killing
thousands, while missing an opportunity to overthrow his regime with
Iraqi assistance while Iraq's infrastructure was still in place.
- After entering office President Bush Jr. made a $43 million dollar
deal with the Taliban in support of their regime.
- America has long maintained close diplomatic and business ties
with Saudi Arabia, despite knowledge that the Saudi government is
responsible for human rights violations, the Saudi government is a
dictatorship, Saudis are and have been funding terrorist
organizations, Al-Queda is partially funded by Saudis, the majority
of the 9/11 attackers were Saudi Arabian.
Now, it looks to me like there is a lot there for us to reflect on as
Americans, and for our leaders to accept blame for among the
international community, especially considering that many of the people
who were involved in these events are currently holding positions in the
Bush administration, such as Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld.
What is the responsible thing to do here? In my opinion the
responsible thing to do would have been to stand up and say to the
world, "We know that some of the things that America has done in the
past may have contributed to the current problems in the Middle East and
Iraq. These are areas where we feel that we, as Americans, may have
contributed to this problem: A, B, C, etc. What we need now are
solutions, and we are here to ask for your help, the international
community, in solving the political and economic problems in the Middle
East relating to Afghanistan and Iraq and the reign as a whole."
Then the administration should have been open and honest in
discussing the historical role of America in the Middle East and
Iraq. That's easy to do if you don't have anything to hide or to be
ashamed of right? So if you believe that America has nothing to hide and
nothing to be ashamed of then why are so many American leaders,
primarily Republicans, trying so hard to avoid questions about America's
involvement in the Middle East and to avoid "blame"?
If America has nothing to hide and nothing to be ashamed of then what
problem could there possibly be in blaming America first? If we are in
fact a responsible country then we will be the first to take
the blame on issues. Being responsible means being the first to take the
If the Republicans want to tout responsibility as a foundation of
their platform then it's high time they start actually taking some
responsibly and accepting the blame where blame is due, because that is
precisely what many of us in America, of all political affiliations,
believe: that being responsible means taking the blame.