Other nations should worry about what U.S. thinks of them What others say

Posted: Wednesday, May 19, 2004

There has been enough far too much, actually talk in this nation about how Americans are perceived by people in other lands.

Special concern seems to be held by a small segment as to the reputation of the United States in other nations. They apparently believe that if everybody in the world doesn't love America, there must be something wrong with Americans.

This strange view was enunciated in an 8,000-word piece in a liberal newspaper a year after Sept. 11, 2001.

"There is another side of 9/11, clear across the globe, but it is difficult to navigate.

"To understand it, you have to give up the corner on feeling betrayed.

"You have to allow that those 82 minutes of terror, in which nearly 3,000 lives were taken, might have been the price for your country's blindness, for years of disengagement in a critical part of the world."

In our view, the people in certain nations should be concerned about the perception Americans have of them.

That perception was highly influenced by videos taken Sept. 11, 2001, of people dancing in the streets, overjoyed by the deaths of nearly 3,000 Americans at the hands of Islamic fanatics.

If it is true that the video does not reflect the majority opinion in those nations, then it is equally true that photos of improper actions by a handful of Americans do not and cannot be interpreted by any rational person as an indication of American thought or behavior.

Photos of barbarians slitting the throats of American citizens also have been seen by many Americans. Do the people in the nations where these barbarians are welcome approve of those actions?

Those who do are enemies of the United States, of freedom and of the world.

Let politicians disparage this nation, as Sen. Ted Kennedy did recently by comparing George W. Bush to Saddam Hussein. Let them refer to pride in America as "arrogance."

But, the mainstream majority in America is not buying this blatant attempt to use a just war as political fodder.

People in the United States are tolerant and respectful of foreign cultures and customs. They have no desire to conquer and take over other nations. But, when they see injustice, they are willing to use America's military might to fight it, knowing that freedom isn't free, and weakness can't buy peace.

There are people in the world who hate America because it is just, free and prosperous. They attacked America, without justification, on the whim of a religious fanatic.

No one needs to apologize for being an American.

Let other nations worry about their reputation and how Americans perceive them. Some need to.

The Florida Times-Union, Jacksonville - May 18

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