History says U.S. could be a bigger bully

This is in response to Andrea Edl’s Wednesday column “America the International Bully.”

It would be naive to say the United States went to Iraq purely for the purpose of setting up a democracy; it would be foolish to believe oil and other ulterior motives did not play a role.

However, the fact remains Saddam Hussein murdered tens of thousands of his own people, and the world is a better place with him out of power. And yes, while there are other examples of ruthless dictators in the world whom the US has not gone after, put it this way: Wouldn’t you feel safer knowing there is one less criminal, say a murderer for example, off the streets in your own neighborhood rather than lurking the streets at night?

You noted several historical references, showing our nation is not a “model country, with a beautiful, flawless history” as you stated it. You noted the Civil War, for example.

While any war taking human lives is sad, that war put an end to the institution of slavery. Dare I say you wish the war was never fought, thus forcing African-Americans back to work on plantations in Georgia? Let’s not forget it was Confederate forces that attacked Fort Sumter and shot the opening shots of the Civil War.

Then you mentioned the dropping of the atomic bombs on Japan, noting it “killed hundreds of thousands of innocent people, the list flows on.” If memory serves me correctly, something happened on Dec. 7, 1941 that led to our eventual dropping of atomic bombs on two Japanese cities.

Look up something called the “Bushido Code” sometime and maybe you’ll learn something. The Japanese refused to surrender; in fact, they believed it to be the most dishonorable action one could do. The Japanese government, and the populations of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were warned by means of leaflets dropped from planes, as well as radio and telegram broadcasts if they did not surrender, a terrible new weapon would be unleashed against them, all while the civilian population of Japan was being trained to defend the island nation with sticks and metal pipes against an American invasion.

Even after the first bomb was dropped, we still gave the Japanese government the chance to surrender or face another bombing. The Japanese government still refused to surrender. An estimated 100,000 to 1,000,000 America casualties would have occurred in order to take Japan. You chose to write about the “innocent Japanese”, but why didn’t you mention what the Japanese did in Nanking, or how the Japanese often used live Allied prisoners for cruel medical experiments, so that Japanese surgeons got more practice operating on wounds? But as soon as peace was declared, the U.S. was there to help rebuild not only Japan and its vanquished allies, but Europe as a whole.

How many other nations rebuild the cities of their former enemies after a war? Or maybe you think Hitler wasn’t such a bad guy either, and going to war with Germany was a mistake as well?

The U.S. has done so many positive things for other nations, but yet you seem to forget that. Whenever disaster hits another part of the world, the U.S. is among the first to offer aid. (By the way, Japan offered the huge sum of $1 million for the Hurricane Katrina relief, while Kuwait offered $500 million).

The fact of the matter is while no nation’s history is perfect, I feel your choice of pointing out America’s flaws in a historical context was poorly chosen.

If America was such a bad place to live, we wouldn’t have millions of people coming to our shores from all over the world to start a new beginning. I doubt they have problems with illegal immigration in places like China, North Korea, or Iran.

Rick Pennington

Senior, History