Some thoughts on “patriotism” written on July 4
The Japanese pilots who bombed Pearl Harbor were being patriotic. The German people who supported Hitler and his conquests were being patriotic, fighting for the Fatherland. All the Latin American military dictators who overthrew democratically-elected governments and routinely tortured people were being patriotic — saving their beloved country from “communism”.
General Augusto Pinochet of Chile, mass murderer and torturer: “I would like to be remembered as a man who served his country.” 1
P.W. Botha, former president of apartheid South Africa: “I am not going to repent. I am not going to ask for favours. What I did, I did for my country.” 2
Pol Pot, mass murderer of Cambodia: “I want you to know that everything I did, I did for my country.” 3
Tony Blair, former British prime minister, defending his role in the murder of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis: “I did what I thought was right for our country.” 4