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Challenging American Exceptionalism


Challenging American Exceptionalism

Marjorie Cohn

President Barack Obama stood behind the podium and apologized for inadvertently killing two Western hostages - including one American - during a drone strike in Yemen.


“President Barack Obama stood behind the podium and apologized for inadvertently killing two Western hostages - including one American - during a drone strike in Yemen”

If she’s talking about Weinstein and Lo Porto they were killed in a strike in Pakistan, not Yemen. Most Americans have no idea where either of them is anyway so i guess that’s close enough.


The ridiculous statements by U.S. officials that America is “exceptional” are disturbing on many levels, not the least of which is that similar statements often were made by the Nazi regime in Germany before and during World War II. It’s patently absurd to say that America is “exceptional” for confronting its problems honestly and forthrightly (which it rarely does, by the way). Virtually every nation on Earth does the same, to some extent. By the way, there are many other disturbing similarities between the U.S. and the Nazi regime, including its penchant for promiscuous killing as a part of foreign policy and the use of the word Homeland, which was lifted directly from the Nazi lexicon. Future historians will conclude that U.S. officials and industrialists were greatly influenced by those whom they allegedly defeated in 1945.


I wish America would show its exceptionalism to the American children in poverty.


I am a fan of Ms. Cohn’s, however, I don’t think this statistic is accurate:

“Nevertheless, of the nearly 3,852 people killed by drone strikes, 476 have reportedly been civilians. The Open Society Justice Initiative (OSJI), which examined nine drone strikes in Yemen, concluded that civilians were killed in every one.”

I don’t recall if it was the Lancet or which source stated that it was more like for every “terrorist” taken out, 9 civilians went down for the count. This statement taken later from Ms. Cohn’s article seems more accurate:

“A study based on classified military data, conducted by the Center for Naval Analyses and the Center for Civilians in Conflict, concluded that the use of drones in Afghanistan caused 10 times more civilian deaths than manned fighter aircraft.”

Lastly, while the subject of 911 is the Great Taboo, the fact is that all of the foreign invasions justified by and through this event have mostly been about Western militias brutally taking control of Arab lands and resources.
The fact that men of “military age” residing in those lands decide to fight back (against the invaders) hardly defines them as terrorists or enemy combatants.

Part of the process of deconstructing the American Exceptionalism narrative must aim at its false rationales for war. After wars are declared, citizens of OTHER “homelands” are passively placed into enemy, insurgent, and terrorist categories when they are mostly people merely defending their own turf, way of life, and livelihoods.

Until the frame that characterizes others’ defense of their own lands as terrorism is itself negated, continued military operations (probably designed to ensure the very blowback they allege to wipe out) will continue to the bane of human existence.

And since all this idiot martial manpower should be directed at preparations for climate chaos instead of turning more than a million souls into ghosts… the magnitude of this corruption of purpose and resources is profoundly understated.


People have a very skewed idea about the percentage of our budget that is dedicated to foreign aid. If we actually spent what people think we spend (or a lot more!) on helping people throughout the world to grow food, get clean water, medical care and education, we’d be a lot safer and closer to being exceptional. It would also be a lot cheaper than what we spend on defense. But then there’s no benefit to the MIC in that…


Right. Add Iraq to those.
And, as if the avg American, in addition to not knowing where the countries are, actually cares about the people
in these countries.


Since WW-II, estimates run as high as 6-million deaths
around the world at the hands of the U.S. military,
and covert U.S. government operations.

Now that’s EXCEPTIONAL – that the U.S. can get away with it.


American exceptionalism was laid to rest 40 years ago when a second-rate military power kicked our ass in Viet Nam.


“People are a lot more comfortable with a Predator [drone] strike that
kills many people than with a throat-slitting that kills one.”

Don’t agree at all. If another country were droning the US, American citizens would the opposite of comfortable. If the US were slitting throats, Americans either wouldn’t notice, wouldn’t credit their eyes, or would come around quick enough when plied with propaganda.

It’s not the particular kind of atrocity that signifies; it’s who it’s being done to,