Good vs Evil
Justifying the unjustifiable
Mystical imperialism is a term used to describe 19th century British efforts to colonize the world by bringing Judeo-Christian ethics, morals and philosophies and applying them to the pagan world. In effect what Mystical imperialism became was a philosophy that rationalized the expansion of empire by infusing a sense of the divine into the raw politics of empire building.
Presidents have consistently referred to America's mission in moralistic terms as battles of 'good versus evil'.
You are either with us or you are against us in the fight against terror.
You know, I laid out a doctrine -- you just got to know it still stands -- it said, either you're with us, either you love freedom and with nations which embrace freedom, or you're with the enemy. There's no in-between. And the doctrine still stands.
I've often spoken to you about good and evil, and this has made some uncomfortable. But good and evil are present in this world, and between the two of them there can be no compromise. Murdering the innocent to advance an ideology is wrong every time, everywhere. Freeing people from oppression and despair is eternally right. This nation must continue to speak out for justice and truth. We must always be willing to act in their defense—and to advance the cause of peace.
States like these, and their terrorist allies, constitute an axis of evil, arming to threaten the peace of the world. By seeking weapons of mass destruction, these regimes pose a grave and growing danger. They could provide these arms to terrorists, giving them the means to match their hatred. They could attack our allies or attempt to blackmail the United States. In any of these cases, the price of indifference would be catastrophic.
The terrorist attacks of 11 September left Americans with a myriad of powerful emotions - anxiety, fear, sorrow, despair, and incandescent rage. Among these emotions, scholars argue that fear represents the common baseline for comprehending the complex aftermath of 9/11... That fear was caused by extraordinary images of indiscriminate violence - planes crashing into buildings, skyscrapers in flames, men and women leaping to their deaths, and landmark structures collapsing to the ground as panicked crowds ran for safety amid a whirlwind of dust and debris. This vivid imagery demonstrated that the point of terrorism is fear. And fear, in turn, would define the very fabric of subsequent responses.
Exceptionalism and dehumanization
Any effort that has self-glorification as its final endpoint is bound to end in disaster.
Only if we don't consider ourselves better than others will we be exceptional human-beings.
It is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional, whatever the motivation. There are big countries and small countries, rich and poor, those with long democratic traditions and those still finding their way to democracy. Their policies differ, too. We are all different, but when we ask for the Lord's blessings, we must not forget that God created us equal.
The data is piling up to confirm that we're Number One, but in exactly the way we don't want to be—at the bottom.
[Dehumanization is] conceiving of others as subhuman creatures.
The Holocaust did not start with the gas chambers and the Rwandan genocide did not start with the slayings. It started with the dehumanization of a specific group of persons.
People assigned to positions of power tend to dehumanize those in less powerful positions...
Masters of evil
The problem today is not just lying but "immoral morality," doing evil in the name of good.
I believe that weapons of mass destruction are a real evil, yes. I certainly do believe that.
The pervasive rhetoric of good vs. evil, dark vs. light, civilization vs. barbarism that underpins US policy in the war on terror makes possible both interstate wars in/on Afghanistan and Iraq and the global torture system (manifest in Abu Ghraib and Guantánamo) of disappearances, extraordinary renditions, indefinite incarceration without trial, psychological intimidation and abuse of prisoners, and the undermining of civil rights in the US. All in the name of 'freedom'. The articulation of 'we' the US as 'innocent and unsuspecting' erases the history of US actions in the Middle East, its complicity in the imperial origins of most Middle Eastern states and in repeated military and covert political operations, and its support of Israel against the Palestinians (Kolko 1988).