My Country Right or Wrong?

There is a really good article in today’s Guardian by Seumas Milne about the original reaction to 9/11 at

And in the comments I came across this really interesting response from an American Jennifer Abel that raises really interesting questions about the responsibility to critically support our countries, not just salute the flag and do whatever someone tells us to do:

Political and media reaction to anyone who linked what had happened in New York and Washington to US and western intervention in the Muslim world, or challenged the drive to war, was savage.

Indeed it was. And you Britons who said such things were lucky; you were merely called “pro-terrorist” or “anti-American,” while we Americans were also labeled “traitor.”

I think the rot set in long before 9/11; maybe it dates back to the Vietnam War. I can just barely remember, as a little girl, seeing cars festooned with faded old “America: love it or leave it” bumper stickers, obviously directed toward anyone who’d dare criticize their country. But what psychosis is necessary to believe honest criticism and love cannot co-exist?

To repeat an analogy I’ve used before: one day, while giving my boyfriend a backrub, I saw a mole I’d never noticed before, and immediately brought it to his attention. Why? Because I love him too much to say nothing if I see he has a problem which, left untreated, could destroy him.

But if I “loved” him the same way certain self-described patriots “love” America I would have said nothing, because “I love him far too much to admit he could have anything as ugly and imperfect as a melanoma on his body!” Such patriots would literally love their country to death.

This is Jennifer and her blog is at:

Picture of Jennifer Abel


About creativeconflictwisdom

I spent 32 years in a Fortune Five company working on conflict: organizational, labor relations and senior management. I have consulted in a dozen different business sectors and the US Military. I work with a local environmental non profit. I have written a book on the neuroscience of conflict, and its implications for conflict handling called Creative Conflict Wisdom (forthcoming).
This entry was posted in Conflict Processes, Middle East Conflict, Ways to handle conflict. Bookmark the permalink.

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