Lowering the bar | AspenTimes.com

Lowering the bar

In response to Ken Wright’s letter (Post Independent, Nov. 12), I would urge you, and anyone else interested in “checking the facts before they write it down,” to check out this Web page: http://www.moveon.org/gore/speech2.html.

In the event that some readers do not have access to the Internet, I have quoted a small selection from Al Gore’s Nov. 9 policy speech:

“White House officials themselves leaked the name of a CIA operative serving the country, in clear violation of the law, in an effort to get at her husband, who had angered them by disclosing that the president had relied on forged evidence in his state of the union address as part of his effort to convince the country that Saddam Hussein was on the verge of building nuclear weapons.”

I have to wonder if Mr. Wright was aware of this information prior to writing his letter to the editor. It’s quite possible that he did not know, as it seems that the doors of (American) perception are carefully and precisely regulated.

One of the ways the Bush administration gained support for involvement in Iraq has been by misrepresenting their agenda to the public, promoting the notion that Americans are “liberating” the Iraqis from Saddam’s tyranny. For a more accurate depiction of the administration’s motives behind its current foreign policy, one need only look to the history of American colonialism. Insight may be derived from Joseph Freeman and Scott Nearing, co-authors of “Dollar Diplomacy: A Study in American Imperialism.”

“From the day on which the republic of the United States was established, its foreign policy has paralleled its economic expansion. “Foreign policies,” according to Secretary of State Charles E. Hughes, “are not built upon abstractions. Statesmen who carry the burdens of empire do not for a moment lose sight of imperial purposes and requirements.

“The imperial purposes and requirements of the United States at the foundation of the republic were those involved in conquering ” and in developing ” the commerce and the manufacture springing up along the Atlantic. The history of the United States during the first half of the 19th century is thus an almost unbroken record of territorial acquisition.”

This seems a more likely explanation for America’s current foreign policy, i.e., presence in Iraq. Historically, we are a capitalist, imperialist society.

According to “Dollar Diplomacy: A Study in American Imperialism”:

“Even before the opening of the nineteenth century there were people like Alexander Hamilton who saw visions of an American empire uniting the United States, Central America and South America into a ‘great American system, superior to the control of all trans-Atlantic force of influence, and able to dictate the terms of connection between the Old and the New World.'”

However, as much as we are a nation of capitalists, we are also a nation of idealists, as Calvin Coolidge said in 1925. The current administration has manipulated that idealism to suit their aims.

And if, as Mr. Gore asserts, “our nation’s greatness is measured by how we treat those who are the most vulnerable,” then the current administration’s imperialist actions have jeopardized America’s integrity in the eyes of the world.

In the words of Mr. Gore: “… these gross violations of … rights have seriously damaged U.S. moral authority and goodwill around the world, and delegitimized U.S. efforts to continue promoting human rights around the world. As one analyst put it, ‘We used to set the standard; now we have lowered the bar.’ And our moral authority is, after all, our greatest source of enduring strength in the world.”

America, it is time to look in the mirror, remember who we are, what we believe, and what we are going to do about it.

Kathryn Preston


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