The book that used this subject heading as its title was published while we were studying in Oxford where we actually met George Kennan shortly before his nervous breakdown as he was shifting his views on the most realistic ways that we might deal with the world in the context of the Cold War:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ugly_American

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_F._Kennan

Those of us who closely followed American policy from that time on are all too aware of the brutal ways that America has employed its “military industrial complex”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military-industrial_complex

condemned by Dwight Eisenhower shortly before leaving the presidency

http://coursesa.matrix.msu.edu/~hst306/documents/indust.html

not only to contain Communism, but to exploit resources coveted by American corporations and to destabilize incipient democracies while installing and supporting America’s own brutal dictators such as Saddam Hussein recently hanged and Panama’s Noriega shortly to be released from an American prison where he has been incarcerated since George Bush I invaded Panama to remove his former protégé:

http://www.voanews.com/english/2007-01-24-voa45.cfm

American hypocrisy and brutality are all too well known out there in the wider world, particularly by those who have suffered from it.  At the moment the U.S. has been transmogrified once again from victim nation as we were seen immediately after 9/11 to the ugly ones personified in the smirks of George W. Bush on such occasions as his consent as Texas governor to the execution of Karla Faye Tucker:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karla_Faye_Tucker

which first alerted me to the brutality behind this smiling face.

Watch him now as he runs his press conferences, joking along through brutal matters, as though they were frat meetings planning another annual roasting of young pledges or possibly another pig night at Yale?

http://hnn.us/articles/33300.html

In fairness DKE had probably abandoned this ugly annual ritual prior to Bush’s glad handing presidency of the jocks there.  Still the same brutal frat attitudes most likely endured — the contempt for “townie girls” as they were known and gang raped when Smithies were not readily at hand.

The Ivies have given us the best and worst of our American political leaders.  If they are not running for president, they are facing indictments.  Note the news coverage of various connected with Bush and his administration these days.

What is most deadly, however, is when these uglies run amuck and become killers in the international scene.  All the worst elements of the American character are reflected outwards.  Iraqis and Afghans are portrayed on the nightly news reports clearly as THEM!! The death stats are numbers to be hurriedly rattled off between commercial breaks and more titillating news reports on this or that celebrity misdeed — or tragic, but sexy death!

Yes, we Americans have an ugly side to our characters which delights in human killing and suffering.  We feature it daily in our news and entertainment outlets.  Try flipping the dial and keeping count!

“A war is just if there is no alternative, and the resort to arms is legitimate if they represent your last hope.” (Livy cited by Machiavelli)

Ed Kent  718-951-5324 (voice mail only) [blind copies]
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