Can United States be Trusted?
George Bush manufactured a war with Iraq on an unsubstantial claim that Saddam has WMD. The war costs the nation $3 trillions and more (“The true cost of the Iraq war: $3 trillion and beyond," Washington Post, 9/5/2010), with thousands deaths and injuries (“The documents record 109,032 deaths broken down into "Civilian" (66,081 deaths), "Host Nation" (15,196 deaths),"Enemy" (23,984 deaths), and "Friendly" (3,771 deaths”)
Bernie Madoff perpetrated the world’s largest Ponzi scheme, defrauding his clients of $65 billions (Diana B. Henriques, The Wizard of Lie $65 billions (2011), all because of greed and vanity.
The US financial industry sold worthless sub-prime mortgage papers, with intent to defraud, costing the world trillions of dollars (“US subprime crisis costs global 7.7 trillion dollars: bank,” AP Feb. 14, 2008), and wrecking the life, and livelihood, of thousands, young and old, rich and poor.
State and governments from California (Oakland) to Illinois to Michigan (Detroit) are seeking to cut millions dollars off public employees’ pension (“Public Pension Plans Face Billions in Shortages,” NYT August 8, 2006) in order to balance the budget. In so doing governments breaches contracts with retiring officials, who need the pension to retire , and have worked for it all their life! (“Public Pensions, Once off Limits, Face Budget Cuts,” NYT April 26, 2011).
High schools and colleges are practicing deceptions to conform with No Child Left Behind Law (“Federal authorities begin fraud investigation of Atlanta Public Schools,” Georgia Defense Lawyer Blog, Dec. 27, 2010), or comply with Title IX rules (“College Teams, Relying on Deception, Undermine Gender Equity,” NYT April 26, 2011). Educators engage in such unethical and illegal conduct in order to gain tax benefits or avoid statutory penalty.
Finally we were told that the US government might not be able to pay its bills because of deficit spending, e.g., fighting four wars (Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya) (2012 - $553B on defense, $118B on war) (“US default could be doomsday option for economy,” AP Aril 23, 2011). For example, social security has been borrowed by the federal government to fill budget gaps (“Pay Back the Money Borrowed From Social Security,” HuffingtonPost, April 5, 2011).
What conclusion can we draw from the above media reports of Americans’ breach of faith, individually and as a nation?
As a nation, America is in deep, deep trouble: US have lost one of the most valuable things a nation must process, i.e., showing trustworthiness to others and being honest to itself, in order to survive global competitions, in order to earn peer respect.
Talk is cheap. Action is real. When we tell others to respect human rights, fight corruption or safeguard democracy, we must not only talk the talk but be ready to walk the walk.
It is clear that we, as a nation, love to lecture/preach others about our exceptional values and good intentions, but we seldom carry out the lofty principles we preached to others. (“US should not preach India on human rights: Modi” PTI March 22, 2011).
Examples of US double talk are everywhere in evident:
. US want Iran to come clean with her nuclear program, yet US does not pressure Israel to do the same. Israel is known to have undisclosed amount of nuclear weapons. (Federal American Scientists, http://www.fas.org/nuke/guide/israel/nuke/) Lesson: Friend is more important than principle.
. US wanted Saddam to stand trial for war crimes, and he did. Should Bush be not be held accountable for war crimes (“Bush and Saddam Should Both Stand Trial, Says Nuremberg Prosecutor,” Common Dreams, August 25, 2006.) After all, Bush admitted to ordering the torture terrorists in US custory. (George W. Bush Admits Torture, Says He Would 'Do It Again'” Guardian, June 3, 2010). Lesson: Might make right.
. US objected to China detaining dissidents in secret and without trial (“Wen Jiabao urges everyone to speak the truth, but the police arrests those who do,” AsiaNews.It, April 19, 2011). But “Wikileaks files reveal scandal of 150 Guantanamo Bay prisoners who US knew were innocent” (Daily Record. April 276, 2011). Lesson: Expediency is more important than morality.
If you have a friend - leader who behave like the US – friendship over principle, might over right and expediency before morality – can you count on him to protect – help – lead you in life and death situations?
Abraham Lincoln famously said: “You can fool all the people some of the time and some of the people all the time but you cannot fool all the people all the time?" (The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, vol. 3, p. 81 (ed. Roy P. Basler).
WHAT TO DO?
The US of America has a good set of values – freedom, democracy, human rights, equality, etc.. It has to stop preaching and start living such dreams (and within our means).
In order to do so, I offer up Kant’s simple “categorical imperative”:
The concept of the categorical imperative is a syllogism (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Categorical_imperative):
“The first premise is that a person acts morally if his or her conduct would, without condition, be the "right" conduct for any person in similar circumstances (the "First Maxim").
The second premise is that conduct is "right" if it treats others as ends in themselves and not as means to an end (the "Second Maxim").
The conclusion is that a person acts morally when he or she acts as if his or her conduct was establishing a universal law governing others in similar circumstances (the "Third Maxim").”