While working on this article, I started out with the focus being on just the war on terrorism and how Un-American and Un-Patriotic it is to NOT support it. I finished my piece, went to lunch, then later I went to dinner, then I spent some time thinking, slept on it overnight- about additional things I wanted to include and write about- something was missing. I came up with the addition of Patriotism and Humanism, and added it above the section on terrorism I started with. Then I added Nationalism because I realized the Patriotism we are seeing today is characteristic of Nationalism, because our leaders are misinforming our citizens, and blurring the lines.
I believe this is a more balanced explanation, and offers more to the reader to consider. If you believe that America comes first no matter what and that terrorism is terrorism- I am not arguing with you, asking you to change your mind, or accept what I am telling you as your new way of thinking.
My hope is that you will contemplate more than just the standard thoughts and concepts you are accustomed to within your dictionary, political party, peer group, media selections, personal opinions, and passions- and consider something you may not have considered before.
the quality of being patriotic; devotion to and vigorous support for one's country.
identification with one's own nation and support for its interests, especially to the exclusion or detriment of the interests of other nations.
an outlook or system of thought attaching prime importance to human rather than divine or supernatural matters. Humanist beliefs stress the potential value and goodness of human beings, emphasize common human needs, and seek solely rational ways of solving human problems.
a Renaissance cultural movement which turned away from medieval scholasticism and revived interest in ancient Greek and Roman thought.
(among some contemporary writers) a system of thought criticized as being centered on the notion of the rational, autonomous self and ignoring the un-integrated and conditioned nature of the individual.
Just from the look of the definitions of each of these, it would seem Patriotism is a lot simpler, right? Naturally.
In retrospect, it's not that simple. Some of the characteristics of Humanism are present in aspects of Patriotism and vice versa, but the two diverge inherently- at first- then somehow come back full circle. You'll see what I mean.
You can save yourself a lot of problems, most disagreements, at times- forego the sake of humanism/humanity in order to protect yourself from hardship, continue to relate and identify with your peers, and not raise eyebrows. American Patriotism today can oftentimes -but not necessarily- be built on a standard of inclusion of divine principles, good vs. bad; and can also center around not creating hardship for one's own society, disregarding effects on smaller groups or individuals. To be Patriotic is almost a requirement in most societies, and to go against the ideals and actions of your country, it's leaders, or it's people; is considered un-Patriotic- Punishable by imprisonment or death in many countries by governments, or complete persecution and isolation by peers and family.
I won't delve too far into religion but often it can define one's Patriotism and why one agrees with a particular cause or the beliefs and actions of a society and it's leaders, particularly when against the beliefs and actions of a foreign group or society, specifically heaven and hell when we leave this world. That is the simplest way for me to acknowledge religion/divine principles/supernatural as it applies to Patriotism without offending, misinterpreting, or distracting you from the purpose of this piece- despite religion being the defining factor for some in their Patriotism. I want to respect everyone's beliefs and opinions.
Patriotism, for some (most); can sometimes be considered simpler- doesn't require as much independent thought, intellectual or philosophical analysis of every day facts, events, or situations- based on the effect on humanity as a whole. Just go with the flow and support your country no matter what- vigorously. Some may not agree with that assessment, but it is strictly meant to focus on the 'go with the flow' and 'vigorous' nature of Patriotism. Patriotism is generally considered to be based more on integration and conditioning within a society, rather than one's own autonomous self, sans society's influence. Patriotism today is generally relative to people as a collective, their friends/family, their nation, and their leaders' ideas & actions; less as an individual. Patriotism today has become more leaning in the direction of Nationalism than just simply devotion to and vigorous support for one's country.
However, it is my opinion that many people in America; individualize their Patriotism as their own in one way or another. It does not mean their Patriotism is not their own individual thought or decision, or that it is aligned with Nationalism; or that they don't have their own ways of expressing or showing Patriotism. (Phew, glad we cleared that up.)
However, Patriotism today does not always follow rationality as the sole solution to resolving problems within a society. Before you disagree on principle alone, let me explain my reasoning. Often times the sole idea of protecting the society as a whole at all costs, becomes the main motivation- often without full consideration or assessment of the overall consequences of the actions taken, to adhere to this principle. It then aligns more with Nationalism. In the event consideration and assessments are made, the principle of protecting individuals may be ignored for the sake of Patriotism and maintaining the status quo ("the state of affairs that existed previously"). Solving problems remain about the needs of society as a whole rather than individuals- first- individuals second. More and more; Patriotism is used as a symbol or the cause for actions that that are technically based on Nationalism- that benefit America, without respect for other nations, or based on our ideas of what is best for other nations.
Patriotism represents that the nation/society determines the value, potential, purpose, rights, actions of individuals and how it affects the nation/society as a whole first, individuals second.
Nationalism generally stipulates that Society A determines how the actions of Society B affect Society A, first - before considering how Society A affects Society B.
What may be considered irrational to an individual or Society A as a whole (or an individual of or society B as a whole), may not be irrational for Society A, but may be considered absolutely acceptable for Society A, in order to preserve Society A, it's ideals, and remain patriotic, safe, functioning, civilized. Society A may determine it's effects on Society B, are also rational and acceptable for Society B despite the fact that Society B does not want to accept this. Herein lies the dilemma, and disagreements result in failed diplomacy and/or war. America and Americans are constantly reasserting our national identity, and we have developed as a distinct political and cultural entity. So did every other country in the world, most of which have been around a lot longer than America.
Humanism is often considered/criticized as more complicated and difficult to adhere to, based on the fact that it requires more independent/autonomous, philosophical, analytical, and intellectual thought- to separate individuality, potential, purpose, rights, and actions of individuals or smaller groups, from the collective of society- and focuses more on the rights of individuals as humans, rather than citizens subject to rules, influence, and requirements of a society or specific influential groups.
Often times this can upset the perceived balance of existing affairs or conditions within groups or a society as a whole, and is perceived as Un-Patriotic, strictly taboo- even in a free and free thinking society. Humanism dives deeper into the thoughts and reasoning for the perceptions and actions of individuals or society as a whole, along with the influence of others, other nations, or a particular environment on individuals or smaller groups within our society or within others.
Individual value, purpose, potential, and moral fiber matter more than just what society says it does or should matter. When individuals have common needs, most of society may have the same needs; but the needs of some individuals are just as important as the needs of society as a whole, are often ignored, or must be altered at the expense of society as a whole, often times met with great resistance.
Humanism requires solving problems in more calculated and complicated ways, with multiple variables and factors in decision making. Consideration of and determining how the decisions of of an individual will affect society versus how society's decisions will affect an individual; can be monumental or pivotal moments in determining the needs of individuals, a society as a whole, or even other societies.
Consideration of and determining how the decisions and actions of one society affects another is also very important and tests the limits and fundamentals of Patriotism, Nationalism, and Humanism. The consequences of the decisions and actions of one society towards or against another society must also be considered. Successive or Transverse consequences often follow or return in various forms when one society takes actions that affect another society. It is my opinion and observation that Humanism also includes and represents these considerations and assessments of the consequences; with regard to actions of individuals vs. society and society vs. society.
Although, when considering all of the factors of both Patriotism and Humanism, I humbly determined two hypotheses and conclusions. Without Humanism in the world, humanity would destroy itself because of Nationalism, and there would be no reason for Patriotism. Without Patriotism in the world, societies would allow other societies to embrace Nationalism and destroy each other, and there would be no Humanism. Does that make sense? I think so.
Moving on to the purpose of my comparison, while recognizing and respecting that everyone is entitled to their opinion. I do not perceive my American peers as wrong or right. I like to focus on facts and I personally believe that the rights of individuals/humans are just as important as those of each society as a whole. My sole purpose in writing this article is to get people thinking more, rather than just agreeing or holding bias- with everything they see or hear someone say in a meme, in the media, or in conversation with friends and family that maintain bias.
Terrorism and the war on terror have pushed and pulled at the seams of Patriotism and Humanism.
So, HOW MANY PEOPLE have been killed in the post-9/11 war on terror? (Straight to the point)
The numbers, while conservatively estimated, are staggering. In 2018, Brown University’s Costs of War Project released a new estimate of the total death toll from the U.S. wars in three countries: Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.
Brown’s researchers estimate that at least 480,000 people have been directly killed by violence over the course of these conflicts, more than 244,000 of them civilians. In addition to those killed by direct acts violence, the number of indirect deaths — those resulting from disease, displacement, and the loss of critical infrastructure — is believed to be several times higher, running into the millions. (Source: https://theintercept.com/2018/11/19/civilian-casualties-us-war-on-terror/)
How many people bear the invisible wounds and scars of our war on terrorism? Hundreds of thousands? Millions?
Nevermind that US forces have single-handedly killed at least 10,000 civilians violently- Around 7,000 American soldiers have lost their lives in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan since 9/11. To date, more than 52,000 service members have been physically wounded in the current conflicts and it is estimated that as many as 400,000 service members live with the invisible wounds of war, including combat stress, traumatic brain injury (TBI), depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). None of which would be the case, if we never went to the Middle East.
None of these nations officially declared war and sent thousands of troops to our country and occupied or attacked us. The hijackers in the September 11 attacks were 19 men affiliated with al-Qaeda and plotted together to exploit our security weaknesses and attack the United States on 9/11, killing about 3000 people and doing billions of dollars in damage. Fifteen of the 19 were citizens of Saudi Arabia, two were from the United Arab Emirates, one from Lebanon, and one from Egypt. Not Iraq, not Iran, not Afghanistan. Neither of these nations attacked us either directly. The U.S. went after al Qaeda and also went after the Taliban in 2001 there in Afghanistan because it was determined to be the ally of al Qaeda and designated a terrorist group. However, despite the efforts to eliminate a safe haven for terrorists in Afghanistan, since Mullah Omar did not hand over bin Laden, and the Taliban protected al Qaeda, the disproportionate response and deaths of actual civilians of Afghanistan, was devastating.
Then also Iraq in 2003, the coalition aimed "to disarm Iraq of weapons of mass destruction, to end Saddam Hussein's support for terrorism, and to free the Iraqi people. The misinformation about weapons of mass destruction was built on the premise of terrorism. Hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians have died in Iraq since 2003.
-Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda link allegations were made by the U.S. government officials who claimed that a highly secretive relationship existed between Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and the radical Islamist militant organization Al-Qaeda between 1992 and 2003, specifically through a series of meetings reportedly involving the Iraqi Intelligence Service (IIS). The consensus of intelligence experts has been that these contacts never led to an operational relationship, and that consensus is backed up by reports from the independent 9/11 Commission and by declassified Defense Department reports as well as by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, whose 2006 report of Phase II of its investigation into prewar intelligence reports concluded that there was no evidence of ties between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda. ( Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saddam_Hussein_and_al-Qaeda_link_allegations)
The U.S. imposed on these nations, our own agents, and expected them to agree to our policies. Then the U.S. left a gap in Afghanistan and Iraq for ISIS to grow and occupy for almost 10 years- without the US realizing the magnitude of different opposing groups looking to fill the vacuum- leaving Afghan and Iraqi forces in many cases to manage much of security operations on their own. ISIS moved in and filled positions with previous individuals that worked in various areas of government and infrastructure before, only they worked under ISIS rule. ISIS filled gaps with their own people too. While things seemed to be getting back to normal, ISIS was using these people to maintain stability and collect revenue. Often times things ran smoother than they did before the U.S. invasions, because of ISIS organization and practices. The U.S. contractors were too busy profiting from the nations' resources to notice, rather than recognizing the corruption. The U.S. and contractors were not putting enough human resources or the revenue from natural resources of these nations, back into the infrastructure- to benefit the people of those countries, and ensure that corruption was not allowing ISIS/the terrorists to benefit.
However, let me be clear about my position as I write this- so there are not any misconceptions about my intentions in writing this or where I stand on the issues presented. This does not justify terrorist acts on foreign or domestic soil, and I do not support attacks on US forces, contractors, or journalists at home or abroad. I only seek to determine where to draw the line with regard to the cost, decision making, and where the consequences outweigh the benefits of the war on terrorism- Ideologically and objectively. The U.S. has wasted trillions of dollars. No other nation has done this. What else could we have done with this money?
Saddam Hussein was an oppressive dictator and the leaders Iran have oppressed their citizens and caused increasing tensions in the Middle East. In my opinion,iIt is not for me to decide what type of government they should have that aligns with their beliefs, causes, and purposes in life. However, I believe all citizens of the world deserve freedom from tyranny, liberty, justice, and a government of, for, by the people. Democracy is most likely the closest to this in our eyes, but America does not have the right to enforce this on every nation, especially those that have been around for thousands of years, while ours is less than 300 years old.
These nations have co-existed fairly peacefully for quite some time, despite the skirmishes and wars of their own. The war on terrorism has significantly disrupted the region, displaced millions of people, and we have attempted to spread our democracy and policies without their consent. In a lot of cases, they are retaliating, trying to drive us out. Extremist groups that commit mass murder, abuse their power in the region, clearly need to be dealt with, but generally these nations would deal with it on their own, or submit to their new rulers. America's involvement is questioned by many nations.
There are many wealthy individuals and political groups throughout the Middle East, not necessarily tied to any one government; that fund groups in attempts to make the United States leave the region- not just terrorist groups like ISIS, that seek to control everyone with a caliphate, sharia law, or murder all who don't abide by the rule of one group.
The independent groups, whose interference in operations and attacks on any foreign forces attempting to impose foreign rule; are typical of most of these nations since the beginning of their existence. It has only grown the more the U.S. has remained in the region, and attacks have become more common.
We have designated all of those who oppose our occupation and fight us, as terrorists, evil that needs to be terminated.
We expect all of the various ethnicities in the region to submit to U.S. policies and not put up a fight. While this generally stems from our experience of U.S. forces human loss in past wars and the 9/11 attacks, our Patriotism for our country, a mostly common belief in God/that murder is wrong, and Humanism for the individuals that have died and our own citizens- America has completely disregarded any soldier that fights against our forces in the Middle East as a fellow human.
Whether to defend their countries and region or just to drive out an occupying force- we do not consider them a fellow human being with individual beliefs and thoughts that involve protecting their land, their way of life, the same way they have for millennia- the same way we would defend ourselves here in America, based on our last 300 years of existence - if they came here to kill us as revenge, for killing civilians and soldiers in their region- or to stop us from doing it ever again in the future- the same way America claims we are doing in the war on terrorism. Not all of the soldiers enlisted into the military or militias in the region that are fighting us have a choice, and not all are led by leaders that believe they should murder all of our soldiers or citizens in America.
This idea has been aggressively presented in the media. Some of the soldiers fighting us now, are fighting us because of civilians and soldiers that were killed when we were after other specific terrorists or groups.
Casualties of war and collateral damage are discussed in America like there is no choice, and we are the only ones that have the right to make such decisions that all soldiers and militants in the Middle East deserve to die- that we are the crusaders sent to stop them at all costs. At some point the overlapping of success and mistakes with regard to killing terrorists vs. soldiers and civilians have turned the Middle East into a melting pot of one big mess for America.
At some point, you have to ask yourself why. It's not just because we are American and they are Arabs or terrorists or because America is Christian and they are Muslim. The rabbit hole goes far deeper, and is more characteristic of a river of never ending branches and streams. Our foreign policy and government's decisions have been a mixed bag. When diplomacy fails, we attack and enforce policies. Most in our government's opinion, are for the benefit of the citizens of those countries, and ours.
Trying to force American ideology and religious influence, on these countries; has been the first and foremost mistake. Comparing religious differences and claiming that America's 300 years of religious upbringing, organization, and government policies are better and more than several thousand years of their own religion and management, is just never going to work.
How long can that go on before the people of those regions show resistance and decide they have had enough? This is what is and has been happening. You cannot win a war against this many different tribes and groups of people, who have a long history of fighting off invasions for thousands of years, especially when it is ingrained into their culture, their mythology, their folklore. They have been taught to resist at all costs.
"So, as Americans; we should just ignore their beliefs and all the civilian deaths. America is blameless. Terrorists and the civilians that might or might not support and abet them, are to blame for their own demise, for all of the deaths, for America invading sovereign nations & killing more people than were killed by terrorists because they are resisting.
It's un-American to argue otherwise, and it's okay and necessary to assassinate a foreign country's general- even though our government and forces are responsible for more deaths than be can be credited with. It is okay and necessary to completely destroy the infrastructure of nations, destabilize the region and it's population, install our own leaders, and take credit for rebuilding- while making American taxpayers fit the bill- so American contractors can line their pockets with profits and exploit the resources of that nation, without putting the revenue back into their infrastructure. You are either an American and you stand with America, or you side with the terrorists you unpatriotic SOB!" (my sarcastic and somewhat embellished, but poignant example of Patriotic statements I have heard; based on what a lot of people in America think.)
Is this ideology what it is to be a real 100% American and Patriotic? A Christian? A good human being, even?
As an American or as a human being, do you believe this is all right, wrong, or somewhere in the middle?
Are you un-Patriotic and un-American if you do not support the government and our President for all of these actions, and protest what you believe is wrong?
Is it right/wrong that most of the people from Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria feel that America is invading their sovereignty, and demonizing their right to defend their countries & allies, despite the actions of extremist groups or Iran backed militias?
Is it right/wrong for wealthy individuals or political groups in the Middle East to fund militant groups and proxies to interfere with U.S. occupation & invasive operations, or attack U.S. bases in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria; in the hopes of exhausting U.S. resources and creating enough problems for the U.S.- that we eventually leave the Middle East, stop waging war there- because they believe what they are doing is right by defending invasion and foreign rule like they have for thousands of years?
When a U.S. airstrike kills 106 Iraqi civilians, along with 40 militants; is it right/wrong for their citizens to wish to imprison or kill our general for taking innocent lives, the same way we have taken the life of Suleimani for his leadership?
Is it right/wrong for Iran and it's proxies to want to attack our interests and push America- with less than 300 years of establishment, out of the Middle East, where these countries have managed their own affairs and driven out invasions for over thousands of years? Are they not Patriots to their own countries and causes?
Is it right/wrong for Iraq to vote unanimously to expel U.S. troops from Iraq?
If the U.S. is just trying to end terrorism, shouldn't the countries in the Middle East still have more of a say in the policies, procedures, and actions that go on in their own countries/regions?
Should the U.S. have the right to enforce policies and actions in the Middle East without the consent of those countries, and without consequences for actions that result in destabilization of the region or intended/unintended deaths- because we are targeting specific individuals and groups to prevent terrorism?
Is it right/wrong that the President can at any time by Executive Order, based on a presumed threat, revoke the assassination ban in E.O. 12333? Here is the law.
Can the President revoke the assassination ban in E.O. 12333?
As it is part of an executive order, the President may modify or rescind the assassination ban in E.O.
12333, Section 2.11, byexecutive order. Except in specific circumstances, an executive order
revoking a previous order would have to be published in the FederalRegister under 44 U.S.C.
§ 1505(a) if it is deemed to be an order of general applicability. However, under 44 U.S.C.
In the event of an attack or threatened attack upon the continental United States and a
determination by the President that as a result of an attack or threatened attack–
(1) publication of the Federal Register or filing of documents with the Office of the
Federal Register is impracticable, or
(2) under existing conditions publication in the Federal Register would not serve to give appropriate
notice to the public of the contents of documents, the President may, without regard to any other
provision of law,suspend all or part of the requirements of law or regulation for filing with the Office
or publication in the Federal Register of documents or classes of documents.
Such a suspension would remain in effect until revoked by the President or by concurrent
resolution of Congress.
Did the President exert Executive Privilege? Did he need consent of Congress? Should he have notified Congress before he ordered the airstrike?
These are all questions that most Americans would rather just not think about, and why our media focuses on 'terrorism' and doing what America thinks is right for America, rather than the overall humanity and human condition of these situations in the Middle East.
“People tend to turn away from disasters such as a war gone bad very quickly. They turn away because it bothers them morally, but also because the carnage challenges their strongly held self-perception that their country is a force for good in the world,” said Tirman. “In the face of something horrible, people are much more likely to become indifferent than they are to protest. Oftentimes it’s even easier to just blame the victims for causing their own suffering.”
“It matters how you fight and what you do afterwards,” said Eviatar. “Hundreds of thousands of people have now been killed in the name of fighting terrorism. We need to ask who has benefitted from this, who has suffered, and what the cumulative effects are.”
If 'America is safe' and 'kill or be killed' are your only argument for why you can sleep soundly at night, knowing of the death our war on terrorism has caused; then it begs to ask the questions-
How will the rest of the world view Americans going forward? Will it matter?
How can we claim that American foreign policy is right and justice is being carried out when so many more civilians die; than the individuals we intend to target?
At what point does the cost far outweigh the cause and become negligence, abuse of power, and murder?
At what point does the ideology of America-freedom from tyranny, with liberty and justice for all, become a lie? "Liberty and justice for all" doesn't just mean in America. It means everyone and everywhere in the world.
What side of history do you really want to be on? How do you want to be recognized in the future?
A blind eye and deaf ears are turned toward these events more and more every day in America, and we are teaching people in other countries to do the same. We agree with whatever it takes to keep us safe here on American soil, before we protest in order to uphold freedom, liberty, and justice for all of the people in the world. We are only firm in our stance that it apply to Americans, but not the rest of the world.
These are dark times. America is becoming more and more comfortably numb to mass death and disproportionate retribution in the world, because of government policy and our desire to direct the actions of the rest of the world.
Humanity is paying the price. We are responsible for what we do and what our leaders do. The decisions will have unseen consequences, that will come to fruition.
Patriotism is a very important part of being an American or any citizen of any country for that matter. So is Humanism, more importantly. Humanity depends on individuals caring about other individuals, and societies doing the same for individuals and other societies alike.
However, blind adherence to Patriotism and Nationalism has also led to the destruction of societies again and again. It could one day, very well cause the destruction of humanity as we know it- a day when Humanism no longer matters or exists.
Little by little Humanism has given up ground to Patriotism and Nationalism, even in America, a country built on the premise of freedom, individuality, liberty, and justice for all. Somehow politicians and many Americans have evolved Patriotism into Nationalism, more and more. I don't want to be remembered for just the things I did for myself, for America, but for other individuals in the world. It starts with Humanism. One person at a time.