Those Who Will Not Learn From History Are Doomed To Repeat It

As I understand it, we had no choice but to destroy the Iraqi nation and decimate its people because Saddam hated us for our freedoms. Also, Saddam would have had weapons of mass destruction if only he had had weapons of mass destruction. And last, Saddam would have been in league with Al Qaeda if only he had not feared and hated Al Qaeda as much as he did.

For those three very good reasons, and possibly for other just as good reasons — reasons that are so really really good only a heavy Fox viewer is actually qualified to say just how truly good they are — we understandably invaded Iraq, murdered over 200,000 of its civilians, left 4 million people chronically homeless, and allowed the looting of a nation. I’d say we done some good in the world.

Pride time! That is, it’s plain we Americans done some good. Good? Hell, it was like Normandy all over again! So now it’s time for us to sit on our couches, dig our hands deep into our chips bag, lift up our eyes in bovine thankfulness to God for the Fox News Network, and then allow ourselves to be possessed by the thought that we Americans are, of all the world’s peoples, the one that is truly “exceptional“.

— Overheard in a Bar

34 thoughts on “Those Who Will Not Learn From History Are Doomed To Repeat It

  1. It’s fine to be wise AFTER the events, but I still recall how violated I felt, how angry, how determined I was to see those who flew those planes into buildings punished.

    I felt great when I saw the Americans blowing the crap out of those associated with what happened on 9/11, I saw they were dropping bombs which penetrated the earth as they tried to take out Osama bin Laden in the Afghanistan Mountains, and it pleased me no end.

    I also thought IRAQ was justified given all we’d been told about Madman Insane and his Weapons of Mass Destruction. Surely you haven’t forgotten his massacre of the Kurds? An animal like that had to go.

    It’s true there were a few porkies being told, and with hindsight, some of the decisions made, have left a lot to be desired, but what’s so different about these events, when compared to every other event in the history of the world?

    I’m Australian, I speak English because Americans came here and saved our arse’s in WW2.

    Sure, you blokes have made a few errors, but then, take a look at the big picture, take a look at your endless efforts to suppress dictators, and don’t forget the benefits to people like me in other lands, who would all be speaking Japanese if it wasn’t for the brave people of your amazing country.

    I for one will never forget, I will always be with America no matter what she chooses to do, even when she makes a few errors.

    Remember this, “The only people who can make mistakes, are those who are trying to achieve something in the first place”.

    Thank you America.

    Bob Page, Australia.

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    • Thanks for the interesting comments, Bob!

      As you might know, American Exceptionalism is the conviction that America has somehow been excepted from some laws of nature — or at least, some laws of history — that govern other countries.

      For the past 30 or so years, American Exceptionalism has increasingly been associated with the notion that Americans are a superior people who can do little or even no wrong in the world. So far as I know, most Americans do not believe that.

      But many of our more profound and vocal village idiots do.

      And whenever there is talk of going to war, those fools clamor loud and long — drowning out most other voices — in favor of bloodshed.
      Regardless of the cause.
      Regardless of the wisdom.
      And regardless of any justification for war.
      They are simply war crazy fools who can be counted on to favor any war — any war — at the drop of a hat. And we have them in numbers here.

      The notion that Americans are a superior people who can do no wrong in the world is a dangerous one, Bob. It’s a notion that can keep people from learning from their mistakes — or the mistakes of their government. And it is a notion that can live on to contribute to one tragedy after another.

      I hope that helps to put the post into context.

      Again, thanks for your comments.

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      • I see your point and I have to say, I’m not a fan of conscription, but then, I have witnessed the abuse’s which took place in my own country when we were subjected to it for the Vietnam War.

        One in all in is fine, but there were exceptions, and as a result, only those who weren’t connected, had to serve.

        Others, whose jobs were supposed to be held for them whilst they served, found themselves being fired just before their 18th birthday, allowing their employer’s to avoid their responsibilities, and many more were allegedly assisted by being promoted whilst they were away, only to return and find they’d been promoted out of the way, and as a result, lost their superior career paths.

        Bob.

        I don’t blindly support all wars, but you have to admit, 9/11 was a little difficult to ignore, it did bring our passionate loyalties to the fore.

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      • Bob, is it your impression that Saddam had anything to do with 9/11?

        By the way, I’m not a fan of conscription either, but when I see that it can be a way to more fairly share the burden of war, then I sometimes soften towards it. Some of the very people who were most cunning in escaping service in Viet Nam nowadays clamor the loudest for war at any opportunity. For instance: Both Dick Cheney and Rush Limbaugh were chicken to serve in Viet Nam, but now they are war hawks — hence we call them chickenhawks.

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  2. To comment on learning, one must accept we cannot put an old head on young shoulders.

    Just as we reach a stage of our lives where we are wise from experience, we retire and die.

    As a result, there is always some over enthusiastic, inexperienced person, about to make all the same mistakes we did.

    It’s true we always repeat our errors, but it usually involves a different group of learners, lol.

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  3. Paul Sunstone Says:

    February 26, 2011 at 2:00 AM

    Bob, is it your impression that Saddam had anything to do with 9/11?

    By the way, I’m not a fan of conscription either, but when I see that it can be a way to more fairly share the burden of war, then I sometimes soften towards it. Some of the very people who were most cunning in escaping service in Viet Nam nowadays clamor the loudest for war at any opportunity. For instance: Both Dick Cheney and Rush Limbaugh were chicken to serve in Viet Nam, but now they are war hawks — hence we call them chickenhawks.

    No Paul, I knew Saddam had nothing to do with 9/11, but I won’t deny I found it difficult to accept anyone who was connected in any way, to anything, which threatened the people of my world, which to me is, of course, my own country Australia, America and the United Kingdom, but with American’s by far my favourite allies.

    I know America isn’t perfect, but then, neither am I, lol.

    I hear you loud and clear about the hypocrites, I’m aware and agree with all you say about them.

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    • I agree America has done some real good, Bob. Despite that we have been inconsistent in our support for democracy around the world, we have often acted decisively in supporting it here or there. Again, the efforts of our scientists and engineers, while not always beneficial, have often enough revolutionized the standards of living of perhaps billions of people — the Green Revolution being just one example of that. And we have shown the world — at least, shown whatever part of the world will listen — that humanity can in many ways exceed the old, dismal, traditional expectations for it. I could go on and on about American greatness. I’m actually — especially privately and after a few beers — capable of doing a bit of bragging on America now and then (if you ever get over this way, Bob, I want to buy you a beer, by the way). But I feel too much bragging is tempting fate. And too much bragging is also likely to obscure where we as a nation need to improve. So far as I’m concerned, the day we Americans stop trying to be better than we are, stop trying to improve, is the day we lose our real soul. Our real genius as a people.

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  4. It’s true the worlds recent history, especially given the intellect and access to information we all enjoy these days, has left a lot to be desired in the past 50 or so years, but it’s the new waves of learners and the cunning corrupt old ones, who will always ensure it’s unnecessary instability.

    I guess we need to take heart from whats happening around the Mediterranean, in that it shows the people do have a point they can be pushed to, and at that point, they will risk life and limb to correct things.

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  5. The U.S. from 1917 on have gone to war only when provoked save fot Irak where big oil was threatened. Australia would be speaking Japanese had not Tojo made the monumental error of attacking Pearl Harbor that brought the U.S. into the 1939-45 war.
    That prevented Australia from speaking Japanese and Europe from speaking German everywhere. Both times they jumped into the fray very reluctantly and very late in the game…but came out as saviours which they were but not by design, just by vengefullness.
    The Marshall plan however was a great U.S. unselfish gesture and they got precious little thanks for it.

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    • Paul, I can assure you, there are those of us down under who feel like you are blood.

      When we called upon mother bloody England to send our troops back so we could fight off the Japanese, they left us for dead.

      We didn’t care how late you got here, the fact is, you came, and when you did, you stopped those little animals, as they were back then, from taking all of us, and abusing us to death, just like they did with all of our troops they took prisoner.

      Our own people failed us, yet you guys saved us. I will never allow anyone to speak ill of your fine people.

      Like I said before, you all may not be perfect, but then, who is?

      I will always consider myself a part of you fine people, and Australians, those of us who remember, will never forget what you all did.

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      • Bob, the Paul you answer here is not an American but a Canadian. Of course England let the “colonies” to their own devices in 39-45. England itself was on the verge of collapse before Herr Hitler. They could hold until the U.S. jumped in thanks to the Anzacs (Australians, New Zealanders) and Canadians sending their best to bolster their army not to mention the famous “lend/lease” program of the U.S. who, though officially neutral, did give some help that way.

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  6. Oh dear.

    Well then, here’s a bit of history for you.

    December 12, 2000.

    September 11, 2001.

    What happened on December 12, 2000?

    The 2000 election of the President of the United States of America was decided.

    Not by the voters of the USA, but by the United States Supreme Court.

    George W. Bush was Selected, not elected, by Justices Rehnquist, Scalia, Thomas, O’Connor and Kennedy, all appointed by Reagan or Bush Sr.

    During the transition from Clinton to Bush, Bush was repeatedly warned of the danger presented by Osama bin Laden, even warned of the possibility of using passenger planes to inflict damage on our nation. Bush and Cheney and their people scoffed at all the warnings.

    I state unequivocally that Bush and Cheney enabled the events of September 11, 2001. There are far too many unanswered questions about the events of that day, as well as about events leading to that day.

    What role did Cheney’s staging of Air Force war games on September 11, 2001 play in the events of that day?

    Then, there is the troubling question of the following:

    “Six air traffic controllers provided accounts of their communications with hijacked planes on Sept. 11, 2001, on a tape recording that was later destroyed by Federal Aviation Administration managers, according to a government investigative report issued today.

    “It is unclear what information was on the tape because no one ever listened to, transcribed or duplicated it, the report by the Department of Transportation inspector general said.”
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A6632-2004May6

    What was on those tapes?

    And why was it necessary to totally destroy them?

    Too many unanswered questions.

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      • I quite agree that it appears that Al Qaeda was behind the attacks but I wonder whether or not they were enabled by persons within the Bush administration to carry out those attacks. The immediate response to those attacks under the aegis of Cheney and Bush was exceedingly pathetic.

        Under normal circumstances, those planes headed for the towers and the Pentagon would have been taken out. The failure to do so raises an enormous number of questions. Prior to the Bush administration the eyes on American skies were quite vigilant.

        Why was the vigilance gone on that day?

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      • Diligence? Gone? Are you kidding? Diligence is no more than what a person is “supposed” to be when they’re at work.

        How many people are one hundred percent diligent in their work?

        Familiarity breeds contempt, all that’s happened on that day was the fact no one was being diligent, which would be the case with most employees in any work place on any day.

        Most people don’t want to go to work in the first place, but they must eat, so they force themselves out of bed, struggle through traffic or the public transport system, and upon arrival at their place of work, think of nothing other than a coffee or a snack.

        When one accounts for the time a person spends in their work place, not a great deal of that time would involve diligence in the majority of cases.

        This is the human behaviour that a primitive group took advantage of, which enabled them to inflict the damage they did.

        No way was there any conspiracy, far too many people would have to have been involved, and the fact not one person has ever revealed any proof of such a conspiracy, is all the evidence one needs to know without doubt, what we saw, was what we got, on that horrific day.

        There is no such thing as a secret in today’s world.

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  7. I find the very concept of American exceptionalism distasteful, crude and well arrogant beyond belief. It’s unnecessary. We were blessed with a land with great natural resources, enough land (after we have removed the indigenous populations)and ambition to forge a prosperous nation. But we are “from” other stock. Any other country could do as well given the same opportunities.

    Our entry into Iraq was uncalled for, and many of us were fairly certain that we were being pushed into it by a neo-con mentality that had nothing to do with WMD’s, 9/11 and had everything to do with restructuring the Middle East and oil. It will be remembered as a shameful event in our history and frankly the miserable humans who concocted it will not be treated well by historians.

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    • I’m sorry to say, Sherry, I actually got suckered by Cheney in the end. I bought into his story Saddam was very close to getting WMDs. I was actually naive enough to believe a Vice President would not lie about such a serious matter. Not something that serious.

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    • As a Canadian living in the United States, I usually keep my opinions to myself, but generally speaking I’m amazed by how determined Americans seem to be to keep their own country as far behind other countries as possible. American Exceptionalism? Exceptionally what? We have more gun violence, more people in prison, more people given the death penalty, more child poverty, more carbon emissions, less social programs than most other developed countries. Americans actually actively work at keeping their own quality of life at a low standard. I can’t understand it. They help other countries if money or revenge serve as motivation. Great.

      Forgive me, I am Canadian.

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      • Bob, I’ve deleted your post. In the future I would greatly appreciate it if you would refrain from indulging yourself in personal insults. I will usually tolerate any difference of opinion over ideas, but I will not tolerate personal attacks.

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      • People who comment on my blog, Bob, should feel they can do so without opening themselves to vicious personal attack and cyber-bullying.

        Consequently, I will not allow anyone to use my blog as a platform for personally insulting the commentators on the blog.

        That’s final.

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      • Grasshopper: “Forgive me, I am Canadian.”

        So far as I can see, Grasshopper, you don’t even give offense, so there’s nothing to forgive. But for the low, low sum of $29.95, I’ll absolve you of all your imagined sins anyway. 😀

        I do think, however, that Americans — average Americans — often altruistically send money and other aide, with no strings attached, to other peoples who are suffering from natural disasters, etc.

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      • I think you’re right Paul. I was referring more to the voting patterns and subsequent policies of the government. I don’t mean to imply that no Americans are ever altruistic or generous. I know that’s not the case.

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      • Actually, Grasshopper, I didn’t really think you were implying Americans lacked altruism. But I wanted to be a mean, nit-picky old bastard about it anyway. ‘Cause that’s me when I get into a fairly rare but totally sour mood.

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  8. Due diligence and so forth.

    If I were responsible for my nation’s security, by God! I would not be asleep at the wheel like George W. Bush and Condaleeza Rice were.

    As for Cheney, it was terribly, terribly convenient for the terrorists that he decided to stage Air Force war games on the very same day.

    Pure coincidence? Truly?

    And, what about the anthrax attacks? Attacks on both Senators Daschle and Leahy, both liberal Democrats who stood in Dick Cheney’s way? I see the chubby hand of Dick Cheney involved in that little gambit.

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