Should Middle Eastern countries apologize?
by Franklin Clark, Reporter -- fclark@cadizrecord.com
Mar 07, 2012 | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Last week, Carl McCammon asked readers a question: Do Arab countries owe us an apology when our flag is burned by their citizens?

Short answer: yes.

Long answer: Yes, but why are we comparing ourselves to them?

I’m sure most of you have heard of the concept of American Exceptionalism: the idea that America is the greatest country in the world. Some people add that it’s also the greatest country that has ever existed. That last part seems hard to prove, but there it is.

I’ve noticed that when someone points out areas where there could be improvement in the country, some of the more defensive proponents of American Exceptionalism compre us to countries in the Middle East and other third-world countries.

To me, it seems daft to defend our place as the best country in the world by comparing us to what many believe are the worst countries in the world. If you want to critique the latest Lamborghini, you don’t compare it to a aging Yugo or a Datsun.

That almost turned into a rant. Back to Carl’s question.

Yes, they should. It seems obvious that many of those countries foment anti-American (and anti-Israeli) sentiments to draw attention away from their corrupt, incompetent and often autocratic leaders.

At the same time, civilian deaths and actions like the accidental Quran burnings and an incident where a Marine sniper squad posed with an Nazi SS flag do throw some fuel on that fire.

I could easily point out the excesses of some of the worse Mideast countries, and I’m not saying our sins are greater than theirs.

But as the greatest country in the world, we should perhaps try to do our best to earn that title. Oftentimes we do, but not always. It doesn’t seem like apologizing for the Quran burnings will do any appreciable harm, and with the largest military budget in the world, the idea that it will make us look weak seems laughable.

People will argue that civilian deaths are unavoidable in war. They’re right. That’s why war should be a last resort.

***

Here’s hoping our readers stayed safe during last week’s rather epic storms. It seems we were once again spared most of nature’s wrath, and although there was some damage, it’s just fortunate that no one here was even hurt. Some places weren’t nearly as lucky.

I must admit that the hail made me nervous there for a few minutes. It ended up sounding worse than it was, at least here at the office.

And while all this mild weather certainly feels great, it will undoubtedly make the bugs worse when summer comes. So just be prepared for that.

In the meantime, stay warm and/or cool, depending on what time of the day you’re reading this.

Franklin Clark is a reporter for the Cadiz Record and can be reached by email at fclark@cadizrecord.com.
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