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American Double Standard

  1. Mar 25, 2003 #1

    russ_watters

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    I am struck by an amazing double standard people have in their opinions of the US. First let me state explicitly that I know the US is not perfect. Its government is not perfect, its military is not perfect, and its people are not perfect. This should be obvious. Americans are humans (duh). However people REPEATEDLY make it a point in these threads to say as much bad about the US as they possibly can to "prove" that the US isn't perfect. WHY?

    Certainly Americans have done some terrible things - even recently. But people try to make it seem like ONLY Americans do these things and EVERYTHING americans do is terrible. Does that make it right that others do them? Certainly not. But it does mean there is plenty of culpability to go around. And plenty of improvement for EVERYONE to make.

    Any criticism of specific actions of the US (or any country for that matter) *MUST* be weighed against corresponding actions by other countires. No double standards. Some examples from this forum:

    In one thread, an article on collateral damage is copied verbatim with no explanation, opinion, or point for posting it. When asked, the poster said he just wanted everyone to know that the US is not perfect. Duh?

    In another thread, spying done on the UN is assumed to be American in origin with little or no evidence. Nevermind that EVERYONE spies or most countries even have unspoken agreements about it and consider it necessary to diplomacy.

    In another thread, in an effort to downplay Iraq's ourtright BARBARIC treatment of American POWs (beatings and public interrogations are bad enough, but Iraq is summarily EXECUTING POWs), links are posted with 30 and 50 year old examples of American soldiers calling POW's NAMES and not giving them regular MAIL!!!?? Thats just sickening how someone can equate those two things. I personally know a WWII vet who when rescued from a German POW camp weighed 72 pounds and is 6'2" tall. The rescuers carried POWs two at a time out of the camp - one under each arm. There are *NO* similar recent (past 100 years) examples of US actions.

    Other posts lambast the US's killing of civilians in when in fact the US takes by far the most precautions of any country in the attempt to limit civilian casualties in war. The dropping of no unguided munitions whatsoever on Bagdhad is one such precaution. Iraq's tactics are aimed at MAXIMIZING their OWN civilian causualties in this war by going out of their way to put civilians at risk. That also is truly sick. Even the Iraqi government is only claiming a relative handful of civilian casualties in this war (note: not all civilians are non-combatants). Additionally Iraqi forces doing fake surrenders and wearing civilian clothes may allow them to kill a few more American soldiers, but only at the cost of putting their own civilians at risk.

    So, why the double standard? It almost seems like many of you consider the US to be superior - that any deviation from absolute perfection is if not shocking, but unusual. At the very least many of you imply with these double standards that the US SHOULD be superior - that we SHOULD be held to a higher standard. Being the world leader, I have no problem with being held to a higher standard. What I have a problem with is the US being the just about the ONLY country that is held to ANY standard.
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2003
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 25, 2003 #2
    Hmmmm...good post, overall, several very good points. I would just suggest that when some of us make those comments, what we are weighing American actions against is what the government says.
     
  4. Mar 25, 2003 #3

    amp

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    I agree Zero,

    Russ you made good points. The problem ...I think is the majority of Americans don't go along with what is often done in their name. I support the troops in harms way, yet I also am apprehensive for them. Why? If, this war drags on (and at this point it seems it will) there will be much larger numbers of causalties, if America somehow loses this war... Saddam will likely become the the Arab world leader. (something Bush would have inadvertently caused and what Saddam wants more than anything) Other countries are slyly getting involved (Russia, selling Iraq weapons) to seek to weaken US military power (I suppose) The US has an enormous amount of assets invested in this war, por exemplo, over 1.5 billion dollars worth of assets were expended in the opening of shock and awe (Tomahawks are 1 million each and about 1500 were used).
     
  5. Mar 25, 2003 #4

    Phobos

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    Excellent post, Russ.
     
  6. Mar 25, 2003 #5

    Njorl

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    When you choose to interfere with another's affairs, it is right that you be held to a higher standard. Still, that standard is not perfection. The Iraqi government is so utterly despicable that any comparisson is ridiculous.

    Njorl
     
  7. Mar 25, 2003 #6
    Re: I agree Zero,

    You are simply incorrect. For example, over 70% of the American people are for this war with Saddam's regime.

    Just exactly how long should it take to depose a regime and rebuild a country? Six days? Fourteen? Twenty-one?

    Larger than what? Relative to what?

    Surely, you don't believe we will loose the war?!?!?!?

    We've already dealt with the Russians on this. And we will deal with any other punks on the block that want to interfere.

    And when it comes to the money, how much money is the liberation of Iraq worth? It doesn't matter anyway. Bill me!
     
  8. Mar 25, 2003 #7

    LURCH

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    I used to be very upset by this double standard applied to Americans. But now I found that a source of pride. Implicit within it is the global recognition of the moral superiority of Western culture.

    For example; when Saddam Gassed and entire Kurdish village in his own country, the world sadly shut its head, heaved a collective sigh of resignation, and returned to their dinners. When one American munition goes astray and accidentally kills a single civilian there is goal outrage, even here. By holding us to a higher standard, the people of the world are unintentionally expressing their expectation that Americans will conduct themselves more nobly than other people.
     
  9. Mar 25, 2003 #8
    Lurch, there may be another reason for the double standard. Maybe it arises out of fear. If a weak country picked a fight with its even weaker neighbour it wouldn't bother anyone because they know the aggressor is not a threat to them. But what if a country that was powerful enough to be a threat to anyone showed aggressive tendencies? America is the most powerful nation on earth and could be a threat to any other country. Naturally the rest of the world will be keeping an eye on it to make sure it behaves, not because they respect its moral superiority but because it is a potential threat.
     
  10. Mar 25, 2003 #9
    That's just human nature Russ. When you disagree with something someone does you will criticise them for any deviation from perfection. It' just human nature.
     
  11. Mar 25, 2003 #10
    exactly Laser Eyes, kinda like how a material arts expert gets charged assault with a deadly weapon for simply taking a swing at someone.
     
  12. Mar 25, 2003 #11

    Kerrie

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    Re: Re: I agree Zero,

    proof please?
     
  13. Mar 25, 2003 #12
  14. Mar 25, 2003 #13

    russ_watters

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    Wow. I gotta say these responses are far more reasonable than I was expecting. Glad to see it.
    Lurch, though I am leaning in that direction, I am trying hard to avoid it because it can lead to arrogance (at least the appearance of it). In a convoluted sort of way though, it does give me a sense of pride when the US is held up against the standard of perfection - even though we will inevitably fail before it.

    Kerrie, these opinion polls are conducted on virtually a daily basis by all major news outlets. Just pick one at random.
     
  15. Mar 25, 2003 #14

    Kerrie

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    i question this because i am skeptical that the media is portraying these "statistics" in order to convince those in opposition that their fellow americans support our governments role in Iraq...especially when EVERYONE i know is against the reasons for this war...
     
  16. Mar 25, 2003 #15

    drag

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    What ?!
    The USA IS perfect !!!
    No doubt about it whatsoever !
    USA ! USA ! USA !

    Live long and prosper.
     
  17. Mar 25, 2003 #16
    sure enough Kerrie, the major media coperations have a lot of money to gain by pushing this war forward. here is a nice little analisis of the situation:


    http://www.fair.org/reports/iraq-sources.html
     
  18. Mar 26, 2003 #17
    Birds of a feather....


    Your 'friends' will hardly be a representative sample kerrie.
     
  19. Mar 26, 2003 #18
    Depending on how the question is phrased, you can get anything from 40-70% support. Claiming that Americans are behind this war, exactly the way it is being conducted, is a falsehood.
     
  20. Mar 26, 2003 #19

    kat

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    I'm not sure that I've seen any polls differentiate between supporting war and whether a person agrees with "exactly the way" the war is being conducted. I'd have doubts about any poll that tried to nuance itself in such a manner.
    Historicly there has always been a 20%ish portion of the U.S. that does not support war. Even in the beginning years of the Vietnam war those who opposed war were floating right around 20%.
    I can't see trying to support polls being erroneous by stating "nobody I know". I interact with a broad range of Americans throughout the week and I find that the polls appear to accurately reflect the populace that I interact with as a whole. Taken in portions, college and highschool students seem to oppose the war in greater numbers, school administrators and professors tend to oppose in greater numbers. (There is no real science to those observations)
    One could also say that the media exagerates "anti" war fever by focusing disproportionately on anti-war protesters.....

    Having said ALL That...Polls make good indicators but not good proof.
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2003
  21. Mar 26, 2003 #20

    russ_watters

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    Kat virtually everyone I know is FOR the reasons for the war. In any case, certainly the media manipulates statistics. But being liberal, the media tends to manipulate them AGAINST a republican president. Just listen to the tone of the questions in the daily press breifings.
    Granted, zero - but then so is EVERY opinion poll. Unless you are saying there is no way to know what popular opinion is, we'll have to make do with the only method we have.
     
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