Well, if all of this is true, then what are we to do about it? The first thing is obviously to educate ourselves and demand that our voices be heard, but more importantly viable and sound alternatives to national and global issues have to be developed.
We also have to recognize that we the American people have a tremendous responsibility to the world. If we claim that America is a free country where we choose our own leaders then that means that "we the people" are responsible for the actions of our leaders and the way that Americans affect the rest of the world. It is the very fact that Americans claim to be free to choose who we want as our leaders that has angered so many people around the world, because they feel that the actions of the United States are the will of the people, because that is what we claim. So when Bush and his administration tried to overthrow the Venezuelan government, that is seen by many as an act endorsed by the American people, which of course it is not. This is however the logic that Osama Bin Laden has used to convince many of his followers that American citizens are viable targets in seeking what he sees as justice for the actions of Americans in the Middle East.
We the American people have to hold our leaders accountable and we have to call them liars when they are lairs, thieves when they are thieves, and murderers when they are murderers. Our leaders are accountable to the people and no one else. There is no one above them that is making sure that what they do is right, that is our job. Leaders of any kind are just people, and as such they are fallible, even when they have the best intentions their methods may be flawed. There is no book that tells anyone how to run the world, its something that we are all making up as we go along and that's just the fact of the matter; there are no directions; there is no proven path to take; its something that we all have to try to figure out together as a society with cooperation, honest and open debate, and sharing of information.
Denial of these truths only opens the door for abuse and exploitation.
One of the most critical elements in developing an understanding of history and events is the rejection of dualistic views and taking care not to demonize people or ideas. Demonizing anyone or any idea only prevents understanding, which is so critical to learning.
The Nazis should not be demonized, nor Hitler, nor the Communists, nor Stalin, or even Saddam Hussein or Osama Bin Laden, nor even American leaders who have engaged in deception of the American people. The moment you call someone or something evil is the moment that learning stops and emotions take over.
If something is wrong then it is possible to develop a logical argument as to why it is wrong, and it is that logical argument that everyone needs to learn about and understand.
There certainly are "bad" people in the world, people that are motivated by the desire to cause senseless harm, but these people are few and far between and these people are not the root of humanities conflicts. The root of conflict is difference of opinion, which usually comes from a difference in agreement on what is true.
If Osama Bin Laden did indeed orchestrate the September 11th attacks on the United States it is not because he is evil, as President George Bush has repeatedly claimed, it is because he believes that what he is doing is right. His belief that what he is doing is right and the belief that most Americans have that what he is doing is wrong comes from a difference of opinion based on a different understanding of what is true.
This understanding is critical and has to be applied to all aspects of history, even to groups like the Nazis.
We cannot demonize the Nazis because in doing so we fail to understand them, and in failing to understand them we fail to be able to recognize the ideas and conditions that led to the rise of the Nazis, which makes us unable as a society to really know when those same ideas and conditions are surfacing again.
Who were the Nazis and what did they really want? They didn't want to destroy civilization or freedom, they wanted to build what they viewed was a better society. That's important to understand because the Nazis were not motivated by evil or the desire to destroy; they were motivated by their desire to create. The same is true for the Americans who supported the fascists, such as Henry Ford, William Randolph Hearst, and Andrew Mellon.
This is important to understand because you cannot judge a person's actions by his or her intentions. Someone can have good intentions and still do things that are harmful to many people. A person's belief that they are right can blind them to the consequences of the actions.
I believe that Hitler believed that what he was doing was right, and that he was going to make the world a better place. It's all a matter of perception. Anyone who genuinely believes that white people are superior to others and that a highly structured society is the height of human civilization would probably to agree with Hitler's ideas, as many Americans and British did prior to Hitler's launch of full-scale war.
What is fundamentally at the root of all of these issues is a disagreement on what is true, which is why honest and open education is essential. The problem is determining who is right and what is true? This is why honest and open discussion and debate is essential and why freedom of expression of ALL ideas essential as well as the freedom to dissent and the freedom to question ALL ideas and statements is essential and should be encouraged, not discouraged. Nothing can be taboo. Taboos only serve to promote different understandings of the truth, which leads to conflict. It is also why science and the ability to prove statements true or false through observation and tests is essential, because have to be able to prove what is true and what is not so that we can all agree on what is true, which is again essential for reducing conflict.
I believe that many Americans who support the Bush administration's agenda of American preeminence believe that they are doing what is right and what is best for the world and that lying to the American people is justifiable because it serves a greater goal. However, belief that one is right does not make someone right, and being in a position of leadership does not make someone right either.
As Americans we all have to come to a conclusion about something very important. What is more important, America or humanity?
Let us assume that this is a hypothetical question and that the only possibilities are the ones that I have provided.
If you had to decide between these two economic policies, which one would you choose:
A - Policy that promotes America's interests at the expense of the other countries of the world.
B- Policy that promotes the interests of the other countries of the world at America's expense.
It's an important question that I think every American should think seriously about.
It doesn't even matter if this is a choice that we must make or not, the point is, if faced with this choice what would you decide? Should we promote American economic interests when they are in conflict with the economic interests of other countries?
Because America is already the richest country in the world doing so can only make global tensions even worse. These are real decisions that we face, especially with the situation in Iraq. The Bush administration is arguing that American companies should get favor in rebuilding Iraq, but this prevents other poorer countries that need the work more from being able to help themselves progress through work. Are we now using our might, the fact that we have a bigger army, the fact that we are already more wealthy, to promote our own interests at the expense of the international community? How can this in any way contribute to improving the conditions of humanity? It seems to me that this is in direct contradiction to the interests of humanity, and ultimately ourselves.
It goes on to other issues as well. Should America enforce minimum wages for American companies that employ workers in foreign countries? There are American companies that pay workers less then a dollar an hour in foreign countries; these are poor countries. Obviously if they paid the workers more then the countries would develop better economies, which is not only fair, but it would then make the people more happy and less likely to want to attack America with terroristic activity.
If what I have said is true, that America is wealthy in part because of foreign exploitation, then that means if we stop the exploitation then America may not be able to maintain its level of wealth. The fact that this is true is exactly why America has maintained the exploitation. As a country, we have a decision to make. What shall we do, continue to exploit and build a bigger and better military, system of global control, and national security to protect us from the people that we are exploiting? Shall we stop the exploitation and suffer the possible economic backlash? Neither choice is easy, and that’s exactly why our leaders try to hide the truth from us, the American people.