We had a server outage, and we're rebuilding the site. Most of the site features won't work. Thank you for your patience.
imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Calendar Publish RSS
latest news
best of news




A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List


IMC Network:

Original Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech

Surviving Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: canada: quebec east asia: japan europe: athens barcelona belgium bristol brussels cyprus germany grenoble ireland istanbul lille linksunten nantes netherlands norway portugal united kingdom latin america: argentina cmi brasil rosario oceania: aotearoa united states: austin big muddy binghamton boston chicago columbus la michigan nyc portland rochester saint louis san diego san francisco bay area santa cruz, ca tennessee urbana-champaign worcester west asia: palestine process: fbi/legal updates process & imc docs projects: radio satellite tv
printable version - js reader version - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

Blinded by America

by Khalid Adad Tuesday, May. 24, 2005 at 10:13 AM

It's far more important for us to criticize ourselves than it is to criticize others. If we want to promote democracy, freedom and peace, we should ensure that our words match our deeds-anything else is complete hypocrisy.


How nationalism blinds us and why seeing clearly matters

By Khalid Adad

[This essay was published in the Portland State University Vanguard, 5/17/2005. Khalid Adad can be reached at opinion@dailyvanguard.com.]

The United States is a magnificent entity, true and right, that works for the betterment of all mankind. Democracy! Freedom! Peace! Et cetera! Or that’s what you may think, if you care from the United States.

To many people in the U.S., this is a land of beneficent intentions. We don’t know exactly what the U.S. is doing in the world, but we do know we’re all for it. With every action, we see the same things: good intentions with good results, or good intentions that lead us to commit “mistakes.”

A perceptive, witty, high-profile liberal like Al Franken, who has documented the bullshit lies of the president, looks at the Iraq war, sees a mistake and says “we went over there with the best intentions,” but Bush “ignored all the planning” of the U.S. Army War College, and now our noble goals have gone astray.

That the mistake was not a mistake and the goals not noble, that the war was wrong, not just the “wrong war at the wrong time,” would never occur to him. His nationalist identity supersedes his identity as a “liberal,” so he says: Bush lied, true, but he lied with the best intentions.

People don’t want to see themselves as monsters and want to have a positive self-image. When we apply a label to ourselves, it becomes part of our identity. When others label themselves similarly, we identity with them, even if we’ve never met them. If we call ourselves “Americans,” then “American” will have a positive image, as will terms associated with it. These will keep their image, but lose their meaning.

This is how democracy, the idea that people should have a say in the decisions that affect them, to the extent they are affected, becomes “you will do whatever we tell you to.” Peace becomes war. Freedom becomes “we will rule over you for your benefit.” For us, these terms describe whatever the U.S. happens to be doing, whenever it happens to be doing it.

It’s easier to see why other countries do things than to see why we do. In 1990, Iraq went to war with Kuwait. Why? Saddam Hussein says he “defended Iraq’s honor” from the tiny gulf state, which was about to “reduce Iraqi women to 10-dinar prostitutes.”

We look at that and laugh – he wasn’t defending Iraq, he was attacking Kuwait. He invaded Kuwait to set up a puppet government, to control the oil and increase his own power. Obviously.

When our president, the ultimate symbol of the United States, sends the most incredible military force in the history of the world to Iraq he says it’s to protect people in the U.S. from Iraq. Later, he says his interest was actually to establish democracy. The Iraqis will have elections and, as Colin Powell put it, “the United States and its armed forces will go home, having made yet another friend.”

In this country, no one laughs. We associate this with our nation. The United States is a force for good – end of story.

If, in our efforts to establish a democracy in Iraq, we illegally rewrite Iraq’s laws without Iraqi participation and make democracy meaningless, or we ignore Iraqi opinion and do things our own way, that’s fine, it’s still democracy. How could the U.S. do anything undemocratic? Impossible! Whatever we do is democratic, by definition.

We feel a need to justify the government’s actions taken without our knowledge3 or input, even if we were lied to, even if they were carried out in secret because we wouldn’t have allowed them to be carried out if we had known. Nationalism can be good if it means we care about the people of our country, but nationalism can also prevent us from seeing the reality and judging the morality of what we’re doing.

We don’t assume what Saddam says is true, we look at what he does. When his actions and words don’t agree, his words are good for laughs and nothing else. We should look at ourselves the same way with an initial skepticism.

We shouldn’t assume whatever we happen to be doing is a boon to all the world. If we want to call ourselves Americans, and we want to be honest and moral, we need to look at our actions, not just words of amorphous meaning.

It’s far more important for us to criticize ourselves than it is to criticize others. If we want to promote democracy, freedom, peace and all the other wonderful things we say we do, we should ensure that our words match our deeds – anything else is complete hypocrisy.

Report this post as:

Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 1 posted about this article.
These comments are anonymously submitted by the website visitors.

Local News

Woolsey Fire: Worst News of 2018? J01 12:18AM

Oppose Environmentally-Harmful Development D10 4:03AM

Oppose Environmentally-Harmful Development D10 3:58AM

OUR HOUSE Grief Support Center Presents Night for Hope O30 5:38PM

Marshall Tuck’s racist dog whistle O27 5:01AM

Marshall Tuck’s ethnocentrism contradicts Californian values O27 4:32AM

Contra Costa-Hawkins O25 3:48AM

Debunking Some Anti-Prop 10 Propaganda O12 6:56AM

Why Should California Choose De Leon Over Feinstein? O10 9:55PM

Change Links September 2018 posted S02 10:22PM

More Scandals Rock Southern California Nuke Plant San Onofre A30 11:09PM

Site Outage Friday A30 3:49PM

Change Links August 2018 A14 1:56AM

Setback for Developer of SC Farm Land A12 11:09PM

More problems at Shutdown San Onofre Nuke J29 10:40PM

Change Links 2018 July posted J09 8:27PM

More Pix: "Families Belong Together," Pasadena J02 7:16PM

"Families Belong Together" March, Pasadena J02 7:08PM

Short Report on the Families Belong Together Protest in Los Angeles J30 11:26PM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

Actor Patrick Kilpatrick Discusses and Signs his New Book Dying for Living J23 10:57PM

“Animaniacs in Concert!” Starring Voice Legend Rob Paulsen Heads to the Lincoln Center J23 8:45PM




Paraphysique du burnout post-démocratique J23 9:06AM

911 : establishment terror J22 11:18PM

Actor Patrick Kilpatrick Discusses and Signs his New Book Dying for Living J22 10:42PM

The Attack of Corporations and the Rich on the Rest of Society J22 2:36PM

bataclown J22 12:32PM

bataclone J21 8:08PM


Mobile Royale Hack Online Generator - Get Unlimited Crystals J21 3:03PM

Unification, séparation et fragmentation J21 2:48PM

Testing Upload J21 7:10AM



Chemtrails and Prince J20 2:43PM

Wages For Housework J20 2:41PM

Tutelle comportementaliste J20 9:18AM

A Mistake: Jesse Jackson-Toyota deal-in Lexington -Ky is .8 billion over 10 years 2018 J20 1:17AM

If Trump Declares a AantionalEmergency, He'll Be Breaking the Law J20 12:47AM

Jesse Jackson's Sneak Attck on Toyota Lexington Ky and it's workers 2018 J19 9:12PM

Video: Chris Herdges in Eugene, 1 hr 24 min J19 5:37PM



Judge Delays Ruling on Puerto Rico Debt Deal White House Opposes Island's Food Assistance J18 6:04PM


More Breaking News...
© 2000-2018 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy