NOTE: My statements are not necessarily my opinions. I often post point-counterpoint essays in which I strongly take one side of an issue and later counter that with antithetical views. This intellectual exercise helps me see the merit in opposing opinions and augments my creativity.

They are a damn sight worse than I ever thought they were.
American Elbert Hubbard, who wrote a critique of war and sought to interview Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany, after the RMS Lusitania was torpedoed and sunk by a German U-boat.

Perhaps the greatest unsolved mystery of all

In my mind, one of the greatest unsolved mysteries of all time is why so many people around the world and at home think that the United States is evil. I am not a mindless flag-waving apologist for the United States, and I realize that its track record is far from being unblemished. In fact, as you will later realize, I have 20/20 vision in seeing the flaws of the US government. To prove it, I will later mention one abomination that goes on every minute of every day in the good ol' USA that would boil the blood of anyone who cares about justice and our most basic Constitutional rights, yet you've probably never noticed this.

But evil? C'mon, what is the evidence for this?

When the US is said to be "evil," the person expressing that sentiment is usually trying to convey the idea that America is imperialistic.

Before I proceed, I ask that you think about this, not just react to it. Research has shown that when discussing politics, people generally enter and leave the discussion with their preconceived notions, thinking more emotionally than rationally. Therefore, all the logic in the world won’t turn a Democrat into a Republican, or vice versa.

After Germany capitulated in World War II, President Truman went to Europe to attend the Potsdam Conference. While there, he made a statement about America's aims:

"Let's not forget that we are fighting for peace, and for the welfare of mankind. We're not fighting for conquest. There is not one piece of territory or one thing of a monetary nature that we want out of this war. We want peace and prosperity for the world as a whole."

That is still true today. Oh, I know what many people say about America. It's evil. It's imperialistic. It invaded Iraq just to get its oil.

Remember when I asked you to put your thinking cap on? Well, it is now time to think. If we invaded Iraq to get its oil, why haven't we taken a drop of it after 4 years? During that 4-year period, fuel prices in the US have surged. Like other presidents, George W. Bush is concerned about his approval rating from American citizens. Bush's rating is very low, yet there is something he could do to become wildly popular and even revered at home: He could give us cheap oil.

Really cheap. Instead of paying over $60 per barrel to Middle Eastern countries, we could instead pay them nothing. Don't think so?

Who could stop us? Don't be misled by the difficulty we're having fighting a ragtag band of Islamic extremists in Iraq. The United States is its own worst enemy. We intentionally handicap ourselves by fighting with both hands tied behind our back. If we were to unleash our military, it could bomb anyone back into the Stone Age within minutes (if we use our nuclear weapons) to hours or days (if we use conventional weapons). We could seize oil not just from Iraq, but from every oil-producing country in the world except for Russia (for obvious reasons).

But we don't, even when we have darned good excuses for doing that, such as during the Gulf War. Iraq deliberately invaded Kuwait to seize its oil and other assets. Iraq was clearly a ruthless, bloodthirsty aggressor. We could have punished them by seizing its assets and giving them to Kuwait, or giving them to the American taxpayers—the ones who pay to combat genuine imperialists, such as Saddam Hussein and the many wannabes who would love to emulate the brutal way that he subjugated people and treated them like dirt.

For that matter, we could have punished Germany and Japan after World War II. They started the war without justification, killed well over 30 million innocent people, enslaved and tortured countless others, and indelibly affected—for the worse—the lives of just about everyone living at that time. We did not even demand reparations, so the cost for the war was borne by taxpayers in the United States and our allies. American taxpayers, suckers that we are, even paid to rebuild Germany and Japan. We treated their citizens with dignity and respect. Had Germany and Japan prevailed in the war, do you think they would have returned the favor? Ha! Look at how they treated their vanquished: they pillaged their assets, revoked their freedoms, enslaved them, starved them, raped their women, made their children miserable, and used them as guinea pigs to perform sadistic medical “experiments.”

If that isn't adequate justification for punishing those countries, what is? We could have sent a powerful message to the world by penalizing the countries that waged this aggressive war, but we instead gave them a helping hand rather than the iron fist they deserved.

No one could have stopped us. We had the A-bomb and no one else did. We could have subjugated the entire world, for that matter. I could have a cute little fräulein preparing a fresh and tasty breakfast for me right now, instead of eating soggy microwaved leftovers from two days ago. I could have some of General Tojo's descendants mowing my yard and painting my house. But we did not enslave the citizens of Germany and Japan, even though we could have turned every last one of them into permanent slaves to serve us and subsequent generations of Americans. "Hey, Hashimoto, you missed a spot! Better take care of that before I begin whipping you with a bamboo cane." Japanese soldiers, without any provocation, did far worse things to captured Americans and Chinese.

But we didn't retaliate, because we aren't imperialistic, and we are not evil—at least, not in this way (more about that in a minute). Both the Germans and Japanese behaved like utter savages in World War II, inflicting unprecedented barbarity. We even let the Emperor of Japan get off scot-free, allowing him to live a carefree life of luxury. Had Japan conquered the United States, they would have butchered President Truman and spat on his grave. Yet who is reviled around the world for being evil? The USA. Go figure.

In my opinion, the real reason we invaded Iraq was so that President Bush could pursue a personal vendetta against Saddam Hussein. Bush sought revenge because Hussein once tried to have Bush's father assassinated. If someone tried to kill your father, you'd probably want revenge, too. However, most people don't have the means to get even, whereas George W. Bush had the combined might of American armed forces at his disposal. I think that Bush's desire for revenge clouded his objectivity in assessing the true risk that Iraq imposed to us, so Bush bent over backward to find justification for the war. I won't argue that we were, or were not, justified in invading Iraq. That's debatable.

What isn't debatable is that we could have seized their oil, yet we did not. So, in this regard, it is just plain crazy to say that America is evil and imperialistic.

The truth is that the power-hungry control freaks in Washington don't need to subjugate anyone around the world to satisfy their thirst for conquest, because they have 300 million people to subjugate at home. Their primary means of control is by confiscating about half or more of every dollar we earn via myriad taxes, not just income and sales taxes. Unfortunately, 99% of Americans know more about Paris Hilton than they do about the taxes they pay. More than a few Americans are so stupid that they actually think the government PAYS THEM because they receive a refund every April—oblivious to the fact that this is as much a refund as it would be if I stole a dollar from you and returned a few cents.

How many people add up the other taxes? There are Social Security taxes (money I'll never see, incidentally), gasoline taxes, telephone taxes, other utility taxes, property taxes, real estate transfer taxes, gift taxes, estate (death) taxes, state income taxes, state "usage" taxes, city income taxes, alcohol taxes, cigarette taxes, firearms taxes, luxury (e.g., boat) taxes, workers' compensation taxes, capital gains taxes, corporate income taxes, inventory taxes, other business taxes, countless other taxes, and a bewildering number of fees for everything from driving a car to getting married to building a house (building permit, septic permit, well permit, driveway permit) that sap countless billions of dollars from American citizens to feed politicians and their not-always-benevolent aims. There are myriad fees for starting a business and running it, and additional fees if your business is one of the many ones subjected to additional regulation (food permit fees, astronomical FDA fees, medical license fees, DEA fees, etc.). Then there are fees for parking meters, driving on toll roads (and bridges and tunnels), traffic tickets (some of which are just another source of revenue for the government), and road usage taxes for truckers. If you buy a snowmobile or ATV, the government isn't satisfied by merely taxing you on its sales price; they also impose multiple never-ending registration and usage fees. If you ride a bicycle, own a dog, hunt, fish, hike, or often just breathe in the wrong spot, the government has even more ways to pickpocket your money. As if that is not enough subjugation, there are innumerable IRS penalties and court fines to drain even more dollars from citizens who might inadvertently not comply with one of the million and one laws and regulations governing us peons.

Here is a pop quiz that few people can pass. Can you? Let's see.

Q: Can a citizen of the United States be compelled to work without compensation?

  1. Of course not, silly. Being forced to work for free is slavery, which is unconstitutional.
  2. Only incarcerated prisoners sentenced to hard labor can be forced to work for free.
  3. Yes.

The correct answer is #3, Yes.

OK, time for the next question:

Q: In the United States, who can be compelled to work without compensation?

  1. Illegal immigrants.
  2. Enemy combatants being detained for planning or committing terrorist acts against the United States.
  3. People convicted of treason against the United States.
  4. People convicted of both mass murder and rape.
  5. Emergency room doctors.

The correct answer is #5, Emergency room doctors.

Skeptical? I'll prove it with this excerpt from my www.ER-doctor.com site:

As an ER doctor, the federal government obligates you to see every patient who walks in the door, whether or not they can pay for their care, even if what they have is clearly not an emergency (for example, in True Emergency Room Stories I presented a case in which a woman came to the ER via ambulance after calling 911 because she wanted me to check her vagina to see if it was "tight enough").

I would not object to this if the government fairly compensated me for that care, but they don't. In fact, I could be fined $50,000 per occurrence by refusing to see a patient. There is a name for forcing people to work without compensation: it's called slavery.

Essentially, the government created an unfunded mandate, and put the burden for funding that mandate onto the backs of ER doctors. My income as an ER doctor was cut in half because so much of the work I did was without compensation. Not only did I treat thousands of patients for free, but I actually lost money from them because I still had to pay for malpractice coverage and other expenses.

This unfunded mandate is a moral abomination. If the federal government thinks it is so important that emergency departments treat everyone, then it should provide the dollars to pay for that care. Instead, it uses (abuses) its power to do whatever it pleases, even if it is antithetical to our Constitution and something that would infuriate anyone subjected to these "work for free or else" laws.

Who else in our society must endure such subjugation? Even if you are hungry and in danger of dying from starvation, you cannot go into a restaurant or grocery store and demand free food (try that and you'll go to jail). Even if you are freezing to death in wintertime, you cannot force a builder, landlord, motel, or hotel to give you free shelter. No matter how badly you need clothing, you cannot force a store to clothe you without paying. No matter how much you need transportation, you cannot force a car dealer to give you a free automobile. No matter how badly you need glasses or contacts, you cannot force an eye doctor to give them to you free. The need for food, clothing, and shelter can be far more important than healthcare, so why is it that only ER doctors must work for free? Is it fair? Obviously not.

I can hear the liberal minds whirring as they try to justify this abomination. "But you weren't forced to work for free all of the time."

So what? Imagine if autoworkers were forced to work 30 minutes of every hour without compensation to build cars for poor people, or people who simply chose not to pay. If the government, with its characteristic arrogance, demanded that of autoworkers and others, I guarantee you that the government would be overthrown in a heartbeat. Even the military and police would point their barrels toward Washington, and with perfect justification. Long ago, our government declared that slavery was an unconscionable national disgrace that would never be repeated, but consider this: the slaves received at least meager compensation for their work in the form of food and lodging. They were never asked to work for free. American politicians don't care if ER doctors are forced to work without compensation half of the time. Those politicians know that it is wrong (if they take the time to think about it) and unconstitutional, yet they do it anyway because it's just one more way in which they buy votes for themselves.

Most people do not care about politicians doing evil things unless they are victimized by those injustices. Well, folks, today's politicians have a nasty little surprise for you, too, but most of you are so busy watching Paris Hilton and frittering away your time in other ways that you'll never figure it out until it is too late. I wish you good luck. You’re going to need it.

Now let's return to the original topic: the all too common perception around the world that the United States is evil. Had Germany and Japan prevailed in World War II, the world would be a vastly different place than it is today. Millions of Muslims think the US is evil, yet we created a world in which they are free to follow their religion. If some of their followers attacked Berlin or Tokyo (had Germany and Japan won WW II), Muslims would likely have been been murdered by the millions.

I thought I knew how intolerant and savagely brutal Germany and Japan were in WW II, but after watching documentaries such as Hell in the Pacific and Ghosts of Bataan, I am stunned not only by their barbarity, but by how many of them actually enjoyed inflicting torture. German and Japanese soldiers committed innumerable monstrous acts, such as killing millions of innocent people and raping untold numbers of women and girls. The Russians retaliated for this during their conquest of Berlin in 1945, during which time they raped millions of women (including elderly women AND GIRLS), 10,000 of whom subsequently committed suicide. As I discussed in another article, Soviet soldiers did things to German women and children that made most of Hitler's atrocities seem almost humane. In a different article, I revealed how Japanese soldiers and even scientists gave the Soviet barbarians a run for their money in terms of doing evil things. After spending hours documenting that, thinking I'd discovered the depths of Japanese savagery during World War 2, I found other crimes so heinous, described in yet another article, that I recommend not reading it if you're recently eaten.

Here are more examples of their crimes against humanity:

Japanese soldiers raped and then killed many thousands of Chinese women—without any provocation, I might add. Had Muslims attacked Tokyo, Japanese military personnel would have raped and then butchered every Muslim woman they could get their revengeful hands on. Muslim men would be treated like dogs, enslaved, beaten, spat upon, then killed and buried with pigs. If history is any guide (and it is), some unfortunate Muslim men would also be skinned alive, just as some Japanese did to captured Allied soldiers in WW II. Other Allied POWs were burned alive or beheaded while others died of starvation or dehydration. At least one man that I know of had an arm repeatedly broken by the Japanese, who refused to let a doctor set his fractures.

400 POWs being transported to Japan were stuffed into the hold of a ship with nowhere to urinate or defecate except where they stood. That atrocious odor was compounded by the smell of decaying corpses from men who died en route.

Some Japanese soldiers cannibalized Allied POWs. The lucky victims were killed first; the unlucky ones had their flesh stripped while they were alive. Japanese would fillet off more flesh on subsequent days to, for example, make a biceps burger.

Incidentally, I am not making this stuff up. It actually happened, although you probably never heard about it in your high school or college history classes in which the teachers and professors intentionally—I think—sanitize history. (Why they sanitize it is something I will address another day.)

Rather than turning POWs into hamburger, the American military bent over backwards to treat their prisoners decently. Our military leaders naively thought that if we were kind to Axis POWs, the Germans and Japanese would reciprocate and treat Allied POWs decently. American leaders didn't just order that POWs be treated according to the rules of the Geneva Convention, but that they were treated as good as, or better than, our soldiers.

I watched a documentary that demonstrated how we treated German POWs. They were housed in the same type of barracks as our GIs, with the same number of men per building. They were paid for their labor, given first-rate medical care, and given the same food as American GIs—or, upon request, an equivalent of their own type of food to suit their German palates. In fact, German POWs were fed better than American civilians, who were subjected to rationing. While Americans went hungry at home, German POWs ate fresh meat and vegetables without rationing.

German POWs were also provided with a theater in which they could entertain themselves by putting on plays. A captured German General was given his own private villa that included a garden and a servant. At dinner, the General was served beer and wine—and if his servant happened to be female, I wonder if he wasn't given an even better treat at bedtime. If German prisoners died in captivity, they were given a military funeral, complete with Nazi flag. This luxurious treatment infuriated many American civilians, who objected to how kind we were to people who were trying to either exterminate or enslave the rest of the world.

By now, my point should be obvious: the United States is not evil. We're tolerant. We don't want to subjugate the world, even though we could have done that.

Germany and Japan were not tolerant. They were evil, and would have obliterated anyone who wasn't a good little slave. Had Germany and Japan won World War II, Muslims would not have the freedom to read the Koran and follow other tenets of their religion. Indeed, there might not even be any Muslims by now, because the Germans and Japanese had an exceedingly low tolerance for opposition, annihilating even those who had done nothing to them. Unrelenting attacks, such as ones perpetrated by various Muslims against the US and its allies, would have likely resulted in an unstoppable campaign by the Axis powers to exterminate every Muslim in the world. Yet we're the evil ones? Go figure.

Incidentally, the folks who believe that "America is imperialistic" don't have facts on their side.

Exhibit A: Before the US entered World War II, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill repeatedly begged President Franklin D. Roosevelt to enter the war. Churchill tried persuading Roosevelt every way he could, but Roosevelt—upset over British imperialism—refused. He wanted Great Britain to renounce the imperialism which enabled that comparatively tiny nation to become a world empire. Churchill wouldn't yield, even in his darkest hour when defeat by Germany seemed imminent.

Exhibit B: Think of how many countries we could have taken over (every country in the world), and compare this with how many we have. Even when we enter a country to fight a war, we eventually leave that country, and our involvement almost invariably results in more freedom for its citizens. Had we decided to stay in Kuwait and turn it into a giant free gas station for the USA, who could have stopped us?

The reality is this: America has a long track record of renouncing imperialism even when we could greatly benefit from it. We live by the principle that "might doesn't make right"—except, of course, when American politicians and bureaucrats shaft American citizens, which they do every hour of every day.


UPDATE: If you agreed with everything I wrote above, I have bad news for you: I no longer agree with all of it! While the United States is not very evil compared to Nazi Germany or Saddam Hussein's Iraq, the USA is indeed imperialistic and does things that would repulse any principled person. Want proof? Read my free book, From Bailout to Bliss. During the many months of research I performed for that book, I dug deeper than I ever had and discovered dirt that my teachers and professors conveniently neglected to mention.

One of the hazards of writing as much as I do (several books and dozens of websites) is that some of what I wrote in the past does not reflect my current opinions. After five, ten, fifteen or more years, everyone will change their opinions as they grow as people and make up for their educational deficiencies. Aside from the above topic, I've also experienced a sea change of opinion about Republicans and how our forefathers treated Native Americans. If you're interested in how those opinions changed, read From Bailout to Bliss.

Alexis de Tocqueville said, “America is great because she is good. If America ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.”

We're not as good as we once were, so we are not as great as we once were. The American people are not bad, but our leaders often are. They set the agenda for domestic and foreign policy. Some of what they do is good, but some of it is downright evil, violating the most basic principles of ethics, laws, and morality. Americans are slowly waking up to the realization that our leaders have been screwing us for longer than we realized, but they were screwing other nations for several decades. We do a lot of good around the world, but also more than a few bad things.

“Man's mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions”.
Oliver Wendell Holmes

“I am not surprised by anti-Americanism; but it is a foolish indulgence. For all their faults (and all nations have them) the United States is a force for good; they have liberal and democratic traditions of which any nation can be proud. I sometimes think that a good rule of thumb to ask of a country: are people trying to get into it or out of it? It's not a bad guide to what sort of country it is.”
Tony Blair, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

Related articles:

Notes:

  1. Article by Wall Street financier (etc.) Ziad Abdelnour: The Case for America
The views expressed on this page may or may not reflect my current opinions, nor do they necessarily represent my past ones. After reading a slice of what I wrote in my various websites and books, you may conclude that I am a liberal Democrat or a conservative Republican. Wrong; there is a better alternative. Just as the primary benefit from debate classes results when students present and defend opinions contrary to their own, I use a similar strategy as a creative writing tool to expand my brainpower—and yours. Mystified? Stay tuned for an explanation. PS: The wheels in your head are already turning a bit faster, aren't they?

“The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.”
F. Scott Fitzgerald

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