American benevolence

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This page contains quotes on whether the United States has benign intentions when it intervenes in other countries.

Quotes for[edit]

  • Finally, it should be the earnest wish and paramount aim of the military administration to win the confidence, respect, and affection of the inhabitants of the Philippines by assuring them in every possible way that full measure of individual rights and liberties which is the heritage of free peoples, and by proving to them that the mission of the United States is one of benevolent assimilation substituting the mild sway of justice and right for arbitrary rule.
  • The struggle must continue til the misguided creatures there shall have their eyes bathed in enough blood to cause their vision to be cleared, and to understand that not only is resistance useless, but that those whom they are now holding as enemies have no purpose toward them except to consecrate them to liberty and to open to them a way to happiness.
  • Whether we like it or not, we must go on slaughtering the natives in English fashion, and taking what muddy glory lies in wholesale killing til they have learned to respect our arms. The more difficult task of getting them to respect our intentions will follow.
  • I am continually amused by the Communist argument that the United States tries to prevent the less-developed countries from industrializing in order to keep them subservient to herself. In our extended dealings with the American aid authorities, we have never found this to be the case; on the contrary, they have helped us with a wide variety of industrial projects, including those that compete directly with American industries. The Americans have enough sense to prefer strong and prosperous friends, and they realize that their most lucrative international trade is with other highly industrialized countries, not with weak and backward ones.
  • Today the greatest menace to mankind may well be the American tendency to overrespond to heathen evils abroad, either by attacking them or by condemning them to outer darkness. The study of American foreign missions and their long-continued conditioning influence at home needs no special advocacy in an age when we get our power politics overextended into foreign disasters like Vietnam mainly through an excess of righteousness and disinterested benevolence, under a President who talks like a Baptist preacher and who inherited his disaster from a Secretary of State who was also a ruling elder of the Presbyterian Church. Plainly the missionary impulse has contributed both to the American swelled head and to its recent crown of thorns.
  • American post-World War II policy is in this respect devoid of artifice or deception. The American mind set, the minds of our leaders or of the people, was entirely the mind set of an emancipator. In such a mind set, one need not feel or act superior, or believe one is imposing one's ethos or values on others, since one senses naturally that others cannot doubt the emancipator's righteous cause anymore than his capacities. In this respect, the American role as superpower, particularly in the early postwar years, is very analogous to the role that can be attributed to a professor, mentor, or other type of emancipator.
  • The defense policy of the United States is based on a simple premise: The United States does not start fights. We will never be an aggressor. We maintain our strength in order to deter and defend against aggression — to preserve freedom and peace.
  • When I came into office, I was determined that our country would go into the 21st century still the world's greatest force for peace and freedom, for democracy and security and prosperity. We have to promote these values just as vigorously as we did in the Cold War.
  • It is the threat of the use of force and our line-up there that is going to put force behind the diplomacy. But if we have to use force, it is because we are America; we are the indispensable nation. We stand tall and we see further than other countries into the future, and we see the danger here to all of us. I know that the American men and women in uniform are always prepared to sacrifice for freedom, democracy and the American way of life.
  • The United States is good. We try to do our best everywhere.
  • America has never been an empire. We may be the only great power in history that had the chance, and refused – preferring greatness to power and justice to glory.
  • The growth of entrepreneurial classes throughout the world is an asset in the promotion of human rights and individual liberty, and it should be understood and used as such. Yet peace is the first and most important condition for continued prosperity and freedom. America's military power must be secure because the United States is the only guarantor of global peace and stability. The current neglect of America's armed forces threatens its ability to maintain peace.
  • ...today we are called upon to stand for democracy under attack in Colombia.
  • Nevertheless Kosovo is not the only indicator of a change of mood, of the sort of moral interventionist internationalism which has come to be associated particularly with Tony Blair. [...] in fact, after a quarter of a century of doing nothing, the 'international community' in precisely the same year as Kosovo did engineer the independence of East Timor.
  • There is a difference between questioning policy and questioning motives. [...] no one should poison the public square by attacking the patriotism of opponents [...] Let me say it plainly: I not only concede, but I am convinced that President Bush believes genuinely in the course he urges upon us.
  • We got off to an unnecessarily bad start. But it is one of the noblest things this country has ever attempted abroad and it is a moral and strategic imperative that we give it our best shot.
  • There was a time, not so long ago, when the might of our alliances was a driving force in the survival and the success of freedom... America must always be the world's paramount military power, but we can magnify our power through alliances... let there be no doubt, this country is united in its determination to defeat terrorism...
  • There's a great deal of criticism about the United States, but there is one thing that nobody criticizes the United States. Nobody thinks the United States went to strike against Iraq in order to gain land or water or oil, nobody thinks America has any ambitions about real estate. As it happened in the 20th century, the American boys went to fight in two world wars, many of them lost their lives. The United States won the wars, won the land, but you gave back every piece of it. America didn't keep anything out of her victories for herself. You gave back Japan, an improved Japan, you gave Germany, an improved Germany, you've heard the Marshall Plan. And today, I do not believe there is any serious person on earth who thinks the United States, whether you agree or don't agree with this strike, has any egoistic or material purposes in the war against Iraq. The reason is, for this strike, that you cannot let the world run wild. And people who are coming from different corners of our life, attack and kill women and children and innocent people, just out of the blue. And I think the whole world is lucky that there is a United States that has the will and the power to handle the new danger that has arrived on the 21st century.
  • ...in an Inaugural Address striking for its idealism [George W. Bush] told Americans that spreading liberty around the world was "the calling of our time" and that the nation's "vital interests and our deepest beliefs are now one."
  • I hope the President is incredibly successful with his policy now that we're there.
  • Two years ago I went to Iraq as an unabashed believer in toppling Saddam Hussein. I knew his regime well from previous visits; WMDs or no, ridding the world of Saddam would surely be for the best, and America's good intentions would carry the day. What went wrong?
  • It wants to stop being seen as the supporter of Muslim tyrants and instead become the champion of Muslim freedoms. President Bush and his secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, are transforming American policy in this realm, and while some of the implementation has been spotty, the general thrust is clear and laudable.
  • ...we guarantee the security of the world, protect our allies, keep critical sea lanes open and lead the war on terror. China, by contrast, seems to be threatening an invasion of Taiwan and could ignite an arms race that takes Japan, South Korea and Taiwan nuclear. [...] the Pax Americana in Asia, as in Europe, has been conducive to a half-century of growth, peace and prosperity. Things might be different if China were democratic. But for now a line must be drawn: An attack on Taiwan is an attack on all democratic states in the region.
  • Never has America been more alone in spreading democracy's promise. [...] It is the last country with a mission, a mandate and a dream, as old as its founders. All of this may be dangerous, even delusional, but it is also unavoidable. It is impossible to think of America without these properties of self-belief.
  • Mr. President, today, in his speech to the National Endowment for Democracy, President Bush gave a vivid and, I believe, compelling description of the threat to America and to freedom from radical Islamic fundamentalism. He made, in my view, a powerful case for what is at stake for every American. Simply put, the radical fundamentalists seek to kill our citizens in great numbers, to disrupt our economy, and to reshape the international order. They would take the world backwards, replacing freedom with fear and hope with hatred. If they were to acquire a nuclear weapon, the threat they would pose to America would be literally existential. The President said it well. The President is right that we cannot and will not retreat. We will defend ourselves and defeat the enemies of freedom and progress.
  • Whether you were for it or against it or whatever your opinions of it are to date, every American ought to be pulling for this mission to succeed.
  • The American people know the difference between responsible and irresponsible debate when they see it. They know the difference between honest critics who question the way the war is being prosecuted and partisan critics who claim that we acted in Iraq because of oil, or because of Israel, or because we misled the American people. And they know the difference between a loyal opposition that points out what is wrong, and defeatists who refuse to see that anything is right. When our soldiers hear politicians in Washington question the mission they are risking their lives to accomplish, it hurts their morale. In a time of war, we have a responsibility to show that whatever our political differences at home, our nation is united and determined to prevail.
  • The US has its own national problems - some of them serious - as well as global challenges such as terrorism and nuclear proliferation. So what the US wants is a peaceful and prosperous Latin America. This has been the aim of US foreign policy in the last 25 years.
  • The default position of leftists like, say, Michael Moore and many writers at The Nation, is that America is essentially a malignant, imperialistic force in the world and the use of American military power is almost always wrong. Liberals have a more benign, and correct, view of America's role in the world and tend to favor the use of military force if it is exercised judiciously, as a last resort, and in a multilateral context--with U.N. approval or through NATO. The first Gulf War, the overthrow of the Taliban and the Kosovo intervention met these criteria; Bush's Iraq invasion clearly did not.
  • America still fields what is arguably the most disciplined, humane military force in history, a model of restraint compared with ancient armies that wallowed in the spoils of war or even more-modern armies that heedlessly killed civilians and prisoners.
  • You start to see — the more times I have been to Washington, the more times you talk to somebody about, we have got to get money for AIDS orphans, or we have to get money for — whether it be any kind of response to any tragedy, often, the answer is, well, we're at — we are at war right now. A lot of money's going to war right now. We don't have — so — so, you start to look at it in a different way. And, so, whether you're for or against the war, you can certainly see that the amount of money being spent at war and the amount of money we are not spending in countries and dealing with situations that could end up in conflict if left unassisted, and then cause war. So, you know — so, our priorities are quite strange. So, we're not — we are missing a lot of opportunities to do a lot of the good that America is used to doing, has a history of doing. And we're not able to be as generous. We're not able to be on the forefront of all of these wonderful things as much.
  • For all the propaganda of al Jazeera, the wounded pride of the Arab Street, or the vitriol of the Western Left, years from now the truth will remain that our soldiers did not come to plunder or colonize, but were willing to die for others' freedom when few others would. Neither Michael Moore nor Noam Chomsky can change that, because it is not opinion, but truth...
  • We will stand with Israel, because Israel is standing for American values as well as Israeli ones. [...] We will support Israel in her efforts to send a message to Hamas, Hezbollah, to the Syrians, to the Iranians - to all who seek death and domination instead of life and freedom - that we will not permit this to happen and we will take whatever steps are necessary.
  • The unwritten treaty between the United States and Israel is based on a similar world view. Both countries believe in democratic values, respect for human rights, solving conflicts through negotiation using rational and logical arguments, and both would like to see a better, more reasonable world living in peace and prosperity without oppressing people, while providing equal opportunities and exploiting the abilities of each and every person. [...] And anyone who does not want to solve the Middle East conflict because he is unwilling to pay the price of compromise, finds it convenient to hide behind slogans such as a war of religions or a war of cultures, in order to explain that the conflict is insoluble and that no territorial arrangement will satisfy the fighters for religion or culture. The conclusion: It is therefore preferable not to give up anything and to keep what there is, to fortify ourselves for the upcoming Armageddon, and to steal from welfare and education and health so that we can arm ourselves to the teeth.
  • I think the Iraqi people owe the American people a huge debt of gratitude and I believe most Iraqis express that.
  • There can be no debate about the rights and wrongs of what is happening in Iraq today. The desire for democracy is good. The attempt to destroy it through terrorism is evil.
  • We have set ourselves back in terms of the leverage we have in the world, in terms of our ability to persuade other countries to cooperate with us. And so we're gonna have to fix a very difficult situation. But the one thing I always remind people, because they get discouraged, they say, you know, people around the world, they're expressing hatred towards America. You know, people outside of this country are expressing disappointment because they got high expectations for America. And they want America to lead, they want America to lead through our values, and through our ideals and through our example. But they have high expectations of us because, I think, that this country is still the last best hope on earth.
    • Barack Obama on The Late Show with David Letterman, April 09, 2007 [36]
  • I want to remind you that after Vietnam, after we left, the — millions of people lost their life. The Khmer Rouge, for example, in Cambodia. And my concern is there would be a parallel there; that if we didn't help this government get going, stay on its feet, be able to defend itself, the same thing would happen. There would be the slaughter of a lot of innocent life. The difference, of course, is that this time around the enemy wouldn't just be content to stay in the Middle East, they'd follow us here.
  • We had saved the world from Nazism and fascism. We were wealthy and we were safe. Many thought it was time we went home. But Americans like President Harry Truman and General George Marshall saw the truth: that it would require not only America's military might, but our ingenuity, our allies, and our generosity to rebuild Europe and keep it safe from tyrants who would prey on poverty and resentment. Our leaders resisted the imperial temptation to force our will by virtue of our unmatched strength. Instead, they built bonds of trust founded on restraint, the rule of law, and good faith. They were magnanimous out of strength, not weakness. [...] We saw the power of this relationship during the Cold War, when America deterred the Soviet Union from its quest for world domination. We saw it when we established the United Nations and NATO, which have done so much for peace and human rights. After the Cold War, we saw it in Bosnia, where we helped broker a lasting peace. And we saw it again in Kosovo, where we joined our NATO allies to stop a brutal war criminal from perpetrating another campaign of ethnic cleansing.
  • I didn't come here to be a congressman. I came here to do something. And I think the top of our list is providing for the safety and security of the American people. That's at the top of our list. After 3,000 of our fellow citizens died at the hands of these terrorists, when are we going to stand up and take them on? When are we going to defeat them? Ladies and gentlemen, let me tell you, if we don't do it now, and if we don't have the courage to defeat this enemy, we will long, long regret it.
  • The reason we have no moral authority is we’re not acting. I heard the same argument with Milosevic. I went over there, found out there was genocide going on, I came to your husband, I said, "We must act!" Now, look, we acted. Not an American was killed. We saved hundreds of thousands of lives.
  • I see four core American interests in Iraq that cannot be abandoned. There must be no Afghan-like Al Qaeda takeover of wide areas. There must be no genocide (say a Shiite sweep against Sunnis). There must be no regional conflagration (for example, a Turkish invasion). And there must be no return to the old order (murderous Stalinist dictatorship). To ensure this, the United States must keep a military presence in Iraq for the foreseeable future.
  • Boy, America has had a lot of shitty presidents. Just take a stroll down repressed memory land and look at that police line-up from November 22, 1963 through January 1992... What no one is saying is the one overarching reason [George W. Bush]'s the worst: the Bush administration is the first that doesn't even mean well.
  • I understand the bombings brought the war to its end. I think it was something that couldn't be helped. [...] Luckily Hokkaidō was not occupied. In the worst case, Hokkaido could have been taken by the Soviet Union. [...] I don't hold a grudge against the United States.
  • Bill O'Reilly: Talking Points believes America, Britain and our allies that tried to do a noble thing in Iraq. We despise those who are rooting against the effort. But we understand the frustration that good Americans feel over a country that may not want to be free despite the president's opposite belief.
    Tony Snow: ...The Iraqi people when posed with a choice between al Qaeda and the Iraqi government they've chosen the Iraqi government. Think about Anbar Province. Last November written off. Everybody said it's wholly owned and operated by al Qaeda. But when it became clear we were putting more forces in, what happened? The local tribal leaders said, thank God you're here, they're killing our people. They're invaders, they're desecrating Islam. They are humiliating our people. Help us out. What's happened now? They've put al Qaeda to route and all of a sudden Anbar is something that we're pointing to as a success story. Markets are opening, people have political rights. And you know what they're saying to Americans? They're saying thank you. Same thing is starting to go on in Diyala Province, similarly in neighborhoods in Baghdad. Same pattern. ... what they need is a sense you are there to stay, you are in there to fight and you are in there to win. Just told you about Anbar. I told you about Diyala. There is safety in the north, there is safety in the south. --July 12, 2007 [44]
  • ...there are Islamic extremists who do want to destroy America... we have Osama bin Laden on the run, and there's no question that Americans are for justice.
  • Think of it like this. When Burger King, if it closes down in the neighborhood, the McDonald's makes a lot more money because there's no competition. Without America competing for the sanity and safety of the Middle East, the terrorist threat will spread like a cancer, and those cancer cells are all throughout the region... We need to stop listening to the clowns in Washington. Dig deep for the courage and conviction to do the hard work that lies ahead so our kids don't have to. This is like winning this war in Iraq. We as a nation can do anything that we set our minds to. Why? Because we're Americans. We're winners. Because we're on the side of what is right and what is just.
  • This country has shed more blood for the freedom of other people than all the other nations in the history of the world combined, and I'm tired of people feeling like they've got to apologize for America.
  • ...freedom is never granted. It is earned by each generation... in the face of tyranny, cruelty, oppression, extremism, sometimes there is only one choice. When the world looks to America, America looks to you, and you never let her down... I have never lost faith in America's essential goodness and greatness... I have 35 years of experience, fighting for real change... the American people and our American military cannot want freedom and stability for the Iraqis more than they want it for themselves... we should have stayed focused on wiping out the Taliban and finding, killing, capturing bin Laden and his chief lieutenants... I also made a full commitment to martial American power, resources and values in the global fight against these terrorists. That begins with ensuring that America does have the world's strongest and smartest military force. We've begun to change tactics in Iraq, and in some areas, particularly in Al Anbar province, it's working... We can't be fighting the last war. We have to be preparing to fight the new war... We've got to be prepared to maintain the best fighting force in the world. I propose increasing the size of our Army by 80,000 soldiers, balancing the legacy systems with newer programs to help us keep our technological edge... I'm fighting for a Cold War medal for everyone who served our country during the Cold War, because you were on the front lines of battling communism. Well, now we're on the front lines of battling terrorism, extremism, and we have to win. Our commitment to freedom, to tolerance, to economic opportunity has inspired people around the world... American values are not just about America, but they speak to the human dignity, the God-given spark that resides in each and every person across the world... We are a good and great nation.
  • Had I won the Nobel Peace Prize, what I would have done is awarded it to either the Bush administration for successfully disarming the nuclear program of North Korea and working diligently to do the same thing in Iran, or I would have awarded it to General Petraeus and the United States military. If there has ever been an engine for peace in the world, it is the United States military.
  • No people in the history of the world have sacrificed as much for liberty. The lives of hundreds of thousands of America's sons and daughters were laid down during the last century to preserve freedom, for us and for freedom loving people throughout the world. America took nothing from that Century's terrible wars - no land from Germany or Japan or Korea; no treasure; no oath of fealty. America's resolve in the defense of liberty has been tested time and again. It has not been found wanting, nor must it ever be. America must never falter in holding high the banner of freedom.
  • ...in a little place called El Salvador, a Republican president, Ronald Reagan, provided that little shield around that government, while they stood up and had free elections and brought freedom to El Salvador... that lady in El Salvador who stood there in the line for the elections... she had a bullet hole in her arm and she was asked, do you want to go to the aid station, and she said, yes, but first, I vote.
  • ...we went into Iraq at the invitation of the government, not as an invasion.
  • You’ll be there to defend the innocent from the enemies who planned and carried out and rejoiced in the death of thousands of Americans ... America can never go back to that false sense of security that came before September 11, 2001.
  • I'd like to be a president (known) as somebody who liberated 50 million people and helped achieve peace.
  • In these most recent 20 years -- the alleged winter of our disrespect of the Islamic world -- America did not just respect Muslims, it bled for them. It engaged in five military campaigns, every one of which involved -- and resulted in -- the liberation of a Muslim people: Bosnia, Kosovo, Kuwait, Afghanistan and Iraq. The two Balkan interventions -- as well as the failed 1992-93 Somalia intervention to feed starving African Muslims (43 Americans were killed) -- were humanitarian exercises of the highest order, there being no significant U.S. strategic interest at stake. In these 20 years, this nation has done more for suffering and oppressed Muslims than any nation, Muslim or non-Muslim, anywhere on Earth. Why are we apologizing?
  • We would gladly bring every single one of our troops home if we could be confident that there were not violent extremists in Afghanistan and now Pakistan determined to kill as many Americans as they possibly can.
  • Building a democracy, especially in this part of the world, which we did not know any form of democratic government, is very difficult. But we are making progress, and we are moving along, thanks to the help of this wonderful U.S. military who have come from a far to help us and give us a chance to build a decent nation here. [...] Seriously, this is no pandering, these people have saved us from tyranny, from genocide.
  • I believe the United States of America is the greatest country on earth and therefore will not apologize for policies or actions which have served to free more and feed more people around the world than any other nation on the planet. You know what, when everybody else apologizes for all the crap they've done then we can apologize for our crap too. Boo-hoo, cry me a river.
  • It’s now a long, confused history. [...] the price of defending our nation cannot be spending years — at a cost of precious lives and hundreds of billions of dollars — in a vain attempt to give people who despise us a way of life they don’t want.
  • ...it's a different situation. The Afghan people by and large like America. They like us. They hated the Russians. But they fear the Taliban because they don't have security. [...] I submit we give it one more shot. We give McChrystal the 40,000 he needs and we see what happens.
  • [The United States has] certainly at a high level, gone to extremes to protect innocent civilians. Where they've made mistakes, and mistakes have been made, in Kosovo, in Iraq, in Afghanistan, apologies have followed. The United States, in general, has accepted and tried its best, with the assistance of military lawyers, has tried its best to avoid violating international humanitarian law.
  • Al-Qaeda was embedded in Afghan society, it was given safe haven by Mullah Omar and the Taliban leadership. And they were given a chance to turn over al-Qaeda and Bin Laden before we attacked them, and they refused.
  • America has never fought a war against a democracy, and our closest friends are governments that protect the rights of their citizens.
  • These terrorists aren't trying to kill us because we offended them. They attack us because they want to impose their view of the world on as many people as they can, and America is standing in their way. We need to make it unmistakably clear that we will do whatever it takes, for however long it takes, to defeat radical Islamic terrorism. We will punish -- we will punish their allies, like Iran -- and we will stand with our allies, like Israel.
  • I don't mean to sound sappy, but the thing that I feel most overwhelmingly is just how humbling it is to be alongside the American troops that are here. The American troops that are here, I believe from what I've seen them do, that they can do any military mission that is assigned to them, and I believe that whatever the U.S. military tries to do, even in those hard places in southern Afghanistan, they will do. But, you can also tell when you're here, that even if everything goes perfectly on the military side, that may very well do that, that will only determine about 20% of the variables that need to be determined in terms of the success of this war effort. It really is up to the Afghan people. Americans will clear that space, it is humbling to see them in action. They're working so hard and they're so good at it, but whether or not the Afghans step up is gonna be whether or not there's something that you can really think of as a victory here.

Quotes against[edit]

  • We make no hypocritical pretense of being interested in the Philippines solely on account of others. While we regard the welfare of those people as a sacred trust, we regard the welfare of the American people first. We see our duty to ourselves as well as to others. We believe in trade expansion. By every legitimate means within the province of government and constitution we mean to stimulate the expansion of our trade and open new markets.
  • The guns of Dewey in Manilla Bay were heard across Asia and Africa, they echoed through the palace at Peking and brought to the Oriental mind a new and potent force among western nations. We, in common with the countries of Europe, are striving to enter the limitless markets of the east [...] These people respect nothing but power. I believe the Philippines will be enormous markets and sources of wealth.
  • And as for a flag for the Philippine Province, it is easily managed. We can have a special one - our States do it: we can have just our usual flag, with the white stripes painted black and the stars replaced by the skull and cross-bones.
  • In its advocacy of the Monroe Doctrine the United States considers its own interests. The integrity of other American nations is an incident, not an end. While this may seem based on selfishness alone, the author of the Doctrine had no higher or more generous motive in its declaration. To assert for it a nobler purpose is to proclaim a new doctrine.
  • Hence in Britain, empire was justified as a benevolent "White Man's Burden." And in the United States, empire does not even exist; "we" are merely protecting the causes of freedom, democracy, and justice worldwide.
  • Everything which the Arab reality offers that is generous, open and creative is crushed by regimes whose only anxiety is to perpetuate their own power and self-serving interest. And what is often worse is to see that the West remains insensitive to the daily tragedy while at the same time accommodating, not to say supporting, the ruling classes who strangle the free will and aspirations of their people.
    • Abdellatif Laabi (Moroccan writer), Jeune Afrique magazine, September 5, 1990, cited by Adel Darwish and Gregory Alexander in "Unholy Babylon, The Secret History of Saddam's War" (Victor Gollenz Ltd London 1991): p. 71
  • I never criticized United States planners for mistakes in Vietnam. True, they made some mistakes, but my criticism was always aimed at what they aimed to do and largely achieved. The Russians doubtless made mistakes in Afghanistan, but my condemnation of their aggression and atrocities never mentioned those mistakes, which are irrelevant to the matter — though not for the commissars. Within our ideological system, it is impossible to perceive that anyone might criticize anything but "mistakes" (I suspect that totalitarian Russia was more open in that regard).
  • Throughout the world, on any given day, a man, woman or child is likely to be displaced, tortured, killed or "disappeared", at the hands of governments or armed political groups. More often than not, the United States shares the blame.
  • Never before in modern history has a country dominated the earth so totally as the United States does today. [...] American idols and icons are shaping the world from Katmandu to Kinshasa, from Cairo to Caracas. Globalization wears a 'Made in USA' label. [...] The Americans are acting, in the absence of limits put to them by anybody or anything, as if they own a blank check in their 'McWorld.' Strengthened by the end of communism and an economic boom, Washington seems to have abandoned its self-doubts from the Vietnam trauma. America is now the Schwarzenegger of international politics: showing off muscles, obtrusive, intimidating.
  • It's threatening enough when government uses force in America, but the really big guns come out when government intervenes overseas. The Cold War may be over, but since then we've still sent soldiers to Somalia, Panama, Bosnia, and a hundred other countries in the name of "keeping the peace". Sometimes we seem to bomb first and ask questions later. We bombed this factory in Sudan... Our interventions may even make America less safe, more vulnerable to terrorism, because they tend to make us new enemies.
  • We bombed Hiroshima, we bombed Nagasaki, and we nuked far more than the thousands in New York and the Pentagon, and we never batted an eye... We have supported state terrorism against the Palestinians and black South Africans, and now we are indignant because the stuff we have done overseas is now brought right back to our own front yards. America's chickens are coming home to roost.
  • The CIA, in its present state, is viewed by its Capitol Hill overseers as incapable of targeting Osama bin Laden. That leads to an irresistible impulse to satisfy Americans by pulverizing Afghanistan, a desire heightened by Friday's refusal of the country's Taliban rulers to give up bin Laden.
  • Fundamentally I don't see how the government of my country has done anything whatsoever to address and correct the root causes of international terrorism. Quite the contrary; every action I can see seems almost designed to have the opposite effect — as if orchestrated to maximize the finances of those who make armaments, by maximizing the number of people who now hate me personally for actions that I do not personally condone. How can I be a proud citizen of a country that unilaterally pulls out of widely accepted treaties, that refuses to accept a world court, that flouts fair trade with shameful policies regarding steel and agriculture, and that almost blindly supports Israel's increasingly unjustifiable occupation? And worst of all, I find that my leaders, including you, are calling for war against a sovereign nation that we suspect to be corrupt, thereby (even if our suspicions are correct) undermining all precedents against unilateral action by other countries who might in future decide that our own policies are wrong. If we peremptorily strike country X, why shouldn't country X have a right to do the same to us, and to our children and grandchildren in future years?
  • We haven't [helped pay for schools, roads and even day care centers]. How would they look at us today if we had been there helping them with some of that rather than just being the people who are going to bomb in Iraq and go to Afghanistan?
  • Regime change, substituting one tyrant for another tyrant, with the biggest tyrant pulling the puppet strings of all the tyrants, does not make for peace... When we turn right around and say that our God condones the killing of innocent civilians as a necessary means to an end. We say that God understands collateral damage... We say that God will bless the shock and awe as we take over unilaterally another country... making a preemptive strike in the name of God. We cannot see how what we are doing is the same thing al-Qaeda is doing under a different color flag, calling on the name a different God to sanction and approve our murder and our mayhem...
  • ...I think the more the West supports Musharraf, the stronger the extremist forces grow and the moderate forces are being marginalized, that's not good for Pakistan... There is rising anti-Americanism for different reasons. One of them is that Musharraf is a dictator and people feel angry that the West talks about freedom but turns a blind eye to the empowerment of Pakistanis. The second reason is that we have a very large Pakhtun population and the bombing in Afghanistan led to many civilian deaths and people knew each other across the border, so there is that grief...
  • Every time you talk about Vietnam, it's always — the Vietnam war is summarized this way, "58,000 American killed and anywhere between 2 and 3 million Vietnamese." There is a distinction between 2 and 3 million, but that's okay. I used to joke all the time — racism in America, is so endemic and so hard to see, but I was always — I used to joke that I was very proud of Bill Clinton because he was the first president, in Kosovo, the former Yugoslavia, since World War II to actually bomb white people.
  • ...the reason that we went into Iraq was to establish a permanent military base in the Gulf region and I have never heard any of our leaders say that they would commit themselves to the Iraqi people that ten years from now there will be no military bases of the United States in Iraq. I would like to hear that. But that's one of the things that concerns Iraqi people. And when I meet with Arab leaders around the world they all have noticed this. They're the ones that have brought it to my attention and I think it's an accurate statement.
  • We are not going to see any more US troops come home in body bags at Dover for the sake of some Cheney affiliate grabbing the petroleum in Iran's Ahvaz fields.
  • Whatever the motives of George W Bush, for Tony Blair, the war against Saddam was supposed to be another demonstration that military force could be applied to produce good outcomes by removing one of the worst tyrannies on the planet.
  • He is a war criminal. He brought about the war against Iraq deliberately, with lies and falsehoods.
  • Eyes are shedding tears, and the heart feels pain and sadness for our people in Lebanon due to the bombing, terror and clear aggression that the Zionist enemy conducts and that is shielded by a number of countries, including the United States.
  • The scale of the tragedy that has befallen Lebanon is a result of the continuous Israeli attacks, which have reached the point where patience can no longer bear. It is not possible to stand with folded hands before them. The international community must take the intitiative to impose an immediate ceasefire and to halt this horrific tragedy. The Muslim world and all peace-loving people will not excuse the parties that put obstacles in the way of this.
  • [The execution of Saddam Hussein] was an opportunity to set the world a good example of civilized behaviour in dealing with a barbarically uncivilized man... If Bush and Blair are eventually put on trial for war crimes, I shall not be among those pressing for them to be hanged... Uniquely privileged evidence on the American government's enthusiastic arming of Saddam before they switched loyalties is now snuffed out at the tug of a rope (no doubt to the relief of Donald Rumsfeld and other guilty parties -- it is surely no accident that the trial of Saddam neglected those of his crimes that might -- no, would -- have implicated them).
  • The war is an immoral abomination that we'll pay for for decades to come. We're paying for it now at the rate of 100 kids a month while Bush plays politics with it. [...] I've always thought that they were bad people with evil intent - and all that, it's playing out now.
  • Republicans sure don't care about finding $200 billion to fight the illegal war in Iraq. Where are you going to get that money? Are you going to tell us lies like you're telling us today? Is that how you're going to fund the war? You don't have money to fund the war or children. But you're going to spend it to blow up innocent people if we can get enough kids to grow old enough for you to send to Iraq to get their heads blown off for the President's amusement.
  • An even more appalling measure of Western arrogance - also speaking volumes about "us" when confronted with the incomprehensible "other" - is the diatribe with which the president of Columbia University, Lee Bollinger, chose to "greet" his guest, a head of state. Bollinger, supposedly an academic, spoke about confronting "the mind of evil". His crass behavior got him 15 minutes of fame. Were President Bush to be greeted in the same manner in any university in the developing world - and motives would abound also to qualify him as a "cruel, petty dictator" - the Pentagon would have instantly switched to let's-bomb-them-with-democracy mode.
  • The Americans were caught with their pants down after 9/11. They are committing unspeakable acts. I think that the human rights violations there are unacceptable and that they will be sorry for it and pay reparations for it. We are not like that. Because our High Court has prepared the tools to deal with the reality that isn't only 9/11, unfortunately. We have prepared tools to defend human rights in times of peace as well as in times of war.
  • We are a nation at war and in many [ways] the reasons for war are fights over energy sources, which is nonsensical when you consider that domestically we have the supplies ready to go.
  • Writes a soldier: "I’m a Christian and a soldier. I take offense from your writings. I believe in freedom of speech, but that comes with the responsibilty of tempering it as well. You make it sound like soldiers are evil murderers. Who do you think protects your right to free speech? Who do you think lays their lives on the line every day for people like you who don’t appreciate the sacrifice that soldiers make for you and your family. You may not agree with the War in Iraq, but that doesn’t mean you have to treat soldiers like they are evil. I hope that one day you rot in Hell." I replied: Sir, do you really think that Bush or Obama can give you the right, and absolve you of the sin, of killing innocent people? That category includes not just civilians, by the way, but also soldiers defending their country from foreign invaders. I hope that one day you go to Heaven.
  • George W. Bush: We are showing the people of the Middle East that America stands firmly for liberty and justice and peace. And we are leaving the next President with a stable foundation for the future, and an approach that can enjoy broad bipartisan support at home. There is still more work to be done. The war is not yet over, but with the conclusion of these agreements and the courage of the Iraqi people and the Iraqi troops and American troops and civilian personnel, it is decisively on its way to being won. Shukran jazeelan [Thank you].
    Muntadhar al-Zaidi: [in Arabic] This is a gift from the Iraqis! This is the farewell kiss, you dog! This is for the widows and orphans and all those killed in Iraq!
    • Press conference in Baghdad, December 14, 2008 [94][95]

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