...has been difficult for the Bush administration in Iraq and Afghanistan, though I think somewhat easier in Afghanistan. Then again, the united States of America has had a negative image throughout the world once we attained a place of strength among nations, once we became a power, let alone once we became a world power. I think some of the main reasons that the image of our great nation has suffered is because: they from the rest of the world, both civilized and not so civilized, throughout history, have been envious of what we have attained while they have not attained such, have misconstrued that we have done so always at the great expense of others and therefore are a threat to them, have rushed to judgement based in great part upon what detractors of the USA and her principals have told them (such as political, religious, and military leaders, and naysayers within our own borders), and because in our Republic we have a form of government, a lifestyle if you will, wherein our citizens, even aliens within our country, can speak out against the government. Other nations do not understand the the rights we enjoy through our various liberties. These things are as foreign to a Chinese rice farmer, as they are to an Afghan goat herder, as they are to many within countries that were once within the Soviet Union, as they are to the citizens of Venezuela or Mexico, and even as they are to those in countries like Germany and England. None of these people share with us the full array of liberties that we here in the USA are free to enjoy.
Yet the USA, and her people, have often been able to overcome most of the negative images that have been portrayed about her by they who would demean us unfairly. A perfect example of about that which I speak started to take place on August 28, 1945 when at an airstrip near Tokyo, American forces began to land. Thus began the actual occupation of japan by armed forces of the USA. Prior to WWII, and all throughout WWII, the Japanese people had an extremely negative image of the people of the United States. They believed us to be barbarians of the worst order, they believed we had little to no morality, they believed us to be physically and mentally inferior to the Japanese people, they believed the USA was intent on dominating Japan and conquering (this before the war broke out). Why, all because of propaganda of the worst sort. Well, it was with the occupation of Japan, that the man on the street in Japan began to realize that such was not the case. of course this was a hard image to overcome, especially in light of the fact that we had bombed both Hiroshima, Nagasaki with nukes, and had fire bombed Tokyo; but it was an image that was eventually overcome. In fact it was overcome so much, that Japan shortly had become, and remains, one of our staunchest allies in the world.
Now if all of those negative things that people imagined about the USA had been true, then how was it that the Japanese became our allies, how was it that our nations got on friendly terms and maintain that friendship so many years later? Was it that the rumors of our horrendous barbaric peoples and customs were true, but we suddenly changed once we occupied Japan. No of course not! The fact is that most if not all of those rumors about how terrible we were were simply proven to be false by the actions we took with those we had defeated in battle. Yes, even though our enemy had been cruel, even though our enemy had provoked the fight, even though they had attacked us in a sneak attack, even though the badly mistreated prisoners of war, even though it was they who often acted barbaric by almost any other nation's standards of decency - we treated them better than fairly after we defeated them despite the fact that we fought them with all we had while they remained combative.
There is a lesson to be learned from all that, and the lesson is applicable today. We need to fight our enemies with all we have in order to win, and I do mean whatever it takes to preserve the Republic. Once we have defeated our enemy we can get down to the act of doling out sympathy for them, but not until that time. They are still kidnapping and beheading people (people who are not combatants), they are still sending suicide bombers against there own kind to provoke sectarian violence, they are fighting as dirty as one can fight; and what are we doing. We are trying to play politics and gain political brownie points by doing things in a politically correct manner. We are winning, but all the while we are dragging our armed forces through the mud because we have weighted them down with political correctness. These are wars which we wage against terrorism, in Iraq, and in Afghanistan and other places; they are not political forums.
We need to get serious, and kick some ass without bothering to stop to see if we have offended anyone. War is offensive - live with it, or lose the war. Then once our enemy has been defeated we can ask him how we can help him to come back into the developed world in a peaceful manner. That is exactly what we did in Japan, exactly what we did in Italy, exactly what we did in Germany, and all of these countries who once were our avowed enemies are now, at least to some extent, our allies. What we did in 1945 is what we we should be doing now.
All the best,