Is it really that hard to admit when mistakes have been made?
Over the last week, Neoconservative pundits have hammered President Obama after he mentioned a recent history of 'American arrogance' in several of his speeches during his G-20 tour of Europe.
Is it really that horrible to admit that U.S. foreign policy has been in error in recent years?
These pundits typically argue that Obama is pandering to the leftist Europeans at the expense of the American citizenry.
I couldn't disagree more.
To assume that an admission of arrogance is somehow unpatriotic is pure hubris and only works to provide even further evidence of the isolationist attitude which has permeated the right-wing.
Over the last eight years, the Bush Administration regularly ignored its NATO allies, instead pursuing unilateral policy which focused on the blunt tactics of brute force.
We as Americans should be concerned with Europe's opinions on world affairs and even more so their opinion of us.
Even if we ignore the ridiculous coercive tactics the Bush Administration used in order to 'sell' the Iraq War, the instances where the U.S. acted in ways nothing short of criminal are easily stated.
Directly relative to Europe, there are numerous documented cases where German, French and English nationals were kidnapped from their home-towns by U.S. intelligence agents.
In most cases, these individuals were then shipped to U.S. funded illegal prisons speckled all over the third-world.
If these prisons were legitimate, their existence would have never been hidden.
Several of these kidnapees - who have since been released due to a lack of any evidence whatsoever - have attempted to sue the U.S., but have been unsuccessful because the evidence is considered 'highly sensitive' material.
However, they all report instances of abuse and torture while in U.S. custody.
Would we be so willing to ignore such acts if the tables were turned?
Instances like these are very much examples of American arrogance and if we are to ever mend the diplomatic damage incurred by Bush, et al. we must be willing to accept our nation's many errors.
Does anyone argue that the imprisonment of Japanese Americans during WW II was inappropriate? How about the treatment of Native Americans in the 19th century?
Every nation makes mistakes - and in order to ensure they don't happen again, we must be willing to accept the bad news.
We acted in ways which mirrored Europe's own empirialistic history - and they will understand that.
Obama's admissions are the first step in healing the wounds caused by the ethnocentric, fundamentalist doctrine which was embraced following the September 11 attacks.
Those who would like to quell any and all dissent need to reference the history of the creation of this nation.
Simply put - in order to fix injustice, the presence of injustice must first be recognized.
Jon Alexander is editor of the News Enterprise. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org