In today’s On the Square, David Mills observes that many European liberals are wringing their hands over the killing of Osama bin Laden:

Few would definitely condemn the American action, bin Laden being too obviously the enemy even for the most sentimental of liberals to excuse him, as so many still excuse the adorably roly-poly mass murder Mao Tse Tung. (But he was a Communist breaking several million eggs in order to make the new society omelet, and not a religious fundamentalist, so he’s okay. You can’t make an omelet etc.)

They would suggest that the United States acted too quickly, or without enough thought, or without proper consultation, or without thinking of the future, or just in that simple-minded, violent, cowboy way those simple-minded violent American cowboys always act when not restrained by European moral sensitivity. Or, and this image doesn’t contradict that one, in that big, bumbling, clumsy, childish way Americans always act when not restrained by European experience.

A prime example of what David is talking about is provided by N.T. Wright, the former Bishop of Durham and a Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at the University of St Andrews. Wright has had considerable success and influence within the U.S. with both his scholarly work and his popular-level books. But he has never hid his hostility to “American exceptionalism” and our cowboy mentality to international affairs. In his latest missive he compares the U.S. to the Lone Ranger and the U.N. to a “hapless sheriff”:

Consider the following scenario. A group of IRA terrorists carry out a bombing raid in London. People are killed and wounded. The group escapes, first to Ireland, then to the United States, where they disappear into the sympathetic hinterland of a country where IRA leaders have in the past been welcomed at the White House. Britain cannot extradite them, because of the gross imbalance of the relevant treaty. So far, this is not far from the truth.

But now imagine that the British government, seeing the murderers escape justice, sends an aircraft carrier (always supposing we’ve still got any) to the Nova Scotia coast. From there, unannounced, two helicopters fly in under the radar to the Boston suburb where the terrorists are holed up. They carry out a daring raid, killing the (unarmed) leaders and making their escape. Westminster celebrates; Washington is furious.

What’s the difference between this and the recent events in Pakistan? Answer: American exceptionalism. America is allowed to do it, but the rest of us are not. By what right? Who says?:

Consider the following scenario. A group of IRA terrorists carry out a bombing raid in London. People are killed and wounded. The group escapes, first to Ireland, then to the United States, where they disappear into the sympathetic hinterland of a country where IRA leaders have in the past been welcomed at the White House. Britain cannot extradite them, because of the gross imbalance of the relevant treaty. So far, this is not far from the truth.

But now imagine that the British government, seeing the murderers escape justice, sends an aircraft carrier (always supposing we’ve still got any) to the Nova Scotia coast. From there, unannounced, two helicopters fly in under the radar to the Boston suburb where the terrorists are holed up. They carry out a daring raid, killing the (unarmed) leaders and making their escape. Westminster celebrates; Washington is furious.

What’s the difference between this and the recent events in Pakistan? Answer: American exceptionalism. America is allowed to do it, but the rest of us are not. By what right? Who says?

Read more . . .

(Via: TitusOneNine )

Articles by Joe Carter

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