To Kill An American

Today someone forwarded me an email. The contents of the email speak of a certain Utopia, and sadly i cannot share the same views. However it makes interesting reading and shows another point of view. On the one hand i abhor any killing, be it american, pakistani, iraqi or any other nationality. However time and again, America has shot itself in the foot and repented for it years later.

The email…

You probably missed it in the rush of news last week, but there was actually a report that someone in Pakistan had published in a newspaper an offer of a reward to anyone who killed an American, any American.

So an Australian dentist wrote the following to let everyone know what an American is… so they would know when they found one.

(Good on ya, mate!!!!)

An American is English, or French, or Italian, Irish, German, Spanish, Polish, Russian or Greek.

An American may also be Canadian, Mexican, African, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Australian, Iranian, Asian, or Arab, or Pakistani, or Afghan.

An American may also be a Cherokee, Osage, Blackfoot, Navaho,Apache, Seminole or one of the many other tribes known as native Americans.

An American is Christian, or he could be Jewish, or Buddhist, or Muslim.

In fact, there are more Muslims in America than in Afghanistan. The only difference is that in America they are free to worship as each of them chooses.

An American is also free to believe in no religion. For that he will answer only to God, not to the government, or to armed thugs claiming to speak for the government and for God.

An American lives in the most prosperous land in the history of the world.

The root of that prosperity can be found in the Declaration of Independence, which recognizes the God given right of each person to the pursuit of happiness.

An American is generous. Americans have helped out just about every other nation in the world in their time of need.

When the Soviet army overran Afghanistan 20 years ago, Americans came with arms and supplies to enable the people to win back their country!

As of the morning of September 11, Americans had given more than any other nation to the poor in Afghanistan.

Americans welcome the best, the best products, the best books, the best music, the best food, the best athletes. But they also welcome the least.

The national symbol of America, The Statue of Liberty, welcomes your tired and your poor, the wretched refuse of your teeming shores, the homeless, tempest tossed. These in fact are the people who built America.

Some of them were working in the Twin Towers the morning of September 11, 2001 earning a better life for their families. I’ve been told that the World Trade Center victims were from at least 30 other countries, cultures, and first languages, including those that aided and abetted the terrorists.

So you can try to kill an American if you must. Hitler did.

So did General Tojo, and Stalin, and Mao Tse-Tung, and every bloodthirsty tyrant in the history of the world.

But, in doing so you would just be killing yourself. Because Americans are not a particular people from a particular place. They are the embodiment of the human spirit of freedom. Everyone who holds to that spirit, everywhere, is an American.

Author unknown

One Comment

  1. m March 19, 2006

    Dear Mr. Australian dentist (or Peter Ferrara / National Review)

    It is with great interest that I have read your text “to kill an American” which has been re-published on many websites. While I second the rejection of appeals to – potentially arbitrarily – kill people, I must disagree with the reasons given in your argument. Americans are not the embodiment of the human spirit of freedom, prosperity and generosity.

    America(n)s prosperity:

    The US Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per Capita ranks 6th in the most recent UNDP Human Development Report1. Looking at other years, sources and taking into consideration the purchasing power parity, the US often ranked among the top five countries in the last few years – respectable average figures.

    Unfortunately, very few people in the US earn and own huge sums while most people are well below the “average”: “The top one percent are now estimated to own between forty and fifty percent of the nation’s wealth, more than the combined wealth of the bottom 95%.”2 1990-2000, 17% of the population were living below 50% of the median income (Canada 12.8%, Germany 8.3%, Scandinavia just above 6%).3 I wonder what the growing class of working poor thinks about prosperity in the land of unlimited opportunities.

    US federal government debt is well above USD 8 Trillion, that’s around USD 27’700 for every American. Current state and local government debt are USD 5’700 per American. Private household debt accounts for another USD 35’000 per American. The above figures add up to USD 68’400 per American without including future structural underfunding of Medicare and social security or business and financial sector debt. Sounds more like (foreign) credit-financed consumerism than prosperity to me.4

    America(n)s generosity

    The US net official development assistance decreased from 0.21% of its Gross National Product in 1990 to only 0.15% in 2003. Other countries figures for 2003: Netherlands 0.80%, Sweden 0.79%, France 0.41%, Canada 0.24%. Actually, in 2003, all of the reporting countries spent more on aid than the US.5 (For the same year, military spending (in % of GDP) looks different: Canada 1.2%, Netherlands 1.6%, Sweden 1.8%, France 2.6%, USA 3.8%.)

    Military interventions are not international aid (or “help”). You say that “when the Soviet army overran Afghanistan 20 years ago, Americans came with arms and supplies to enable the people to win back their country!” That is one interpretation of history. A more balanced view is that the (then Marxist) Afghan government asked for increasing Russian support to quell its opponents6, while American intelligence services began to aid the anti-government opposition factions in Afghanistan 6 months before the Soviet deployment.7 It was an American-Russian substitute war, not selfless American aid for righteous freedom fighters. In the next paragraph, a few additional examples of unrequested American “help” are mentioned.

    America(n)s spirit of Freedom

    Many Americans enjoy considerable freedoms, compared to citizens of many other countries. The American constitution and its spirit are valuable developments of modern times. Nevertheless, the absolute statement that “Everyone who holds to the spirit of freedom, everywhere, is an American” has little ground and largely exaggerates the current state of things in the US. Today, the US is governed just as much by greed and fear as by the spirit of freedom and tolerance. During the last few years, new laws have extended the government’s powers to spy on citizens. (Please refer to this review of the patriot act by the CATO institute as an example)8.

    When it comes to freedom and justice outside the US, the standards have always been lower – not only since the war on terror. Since after the Second World War, the US has manipulated the political developments in other countries in dozens of cases, usually to install a government or system they could remote-control. Many people died in conflicts or lived under brutal authoritarian regimes due to the interventions of the US. To name just a few examples: Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Nicaragua and El Salvador… The list is long.9 But in the eyes of many Americans, it is support to freedom fighters when America does it and an evil invasion when others do it. Reality is complex and one can easily make as many enemies as friends when meddling in other nation’s business.
    Hearts and minds

    While I oppose your argument because of its absolutism and exaggeration, I do acknowledge that American society has achieved many valuable goals, including a relatively high freedom and living standard for many of its citizens. On the other hand, we should not cultivate the false illusion of a perfect, righteous “beacon of light”American nation. There are other countries with just as much freedom and prosperity who haven’t caused as much international damage as the US. But let’s face it, America is the (currently) only superpower and globally pulls strings to its interests – it’s understadable, who would not if they could? It is crucial though is that Americans stay truly informed of what their elite is doing and why, in order to use their political freedom to vote and elect wisely and not become victims of the greed and fears of a few.
    In the long run, truth, fairness and some modesty win hearts and minds.

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