500 Words – Honor and America's Promises

What is honor exactly? And does America have it?

Honor (according to dictionary.com), is having high public esteem, having high respect, and being a source of credit or distinction.

When looking at the average headlines on Foxnews or CNN, would you say that America can be labeled as honorable throughout the world? Do other countries respect us, and hold us in high public esteem?

Columnist Orson Scott Card wrote a rather pointed essay describing the state of America’s honor. He gave past and present examples of the honorable state of America. The rest of this article will be a brief summary and commentary on some of the author’s points of this must-read essay.

Honor and World War II

America didn’t fully enter the second World War until after we were surprise attacked at Pearl Harbor by the Japanese. In a surprise show of force, we conquered fascism in Europe and imperialism in the Pacific. The United States proved it could be a super power and proved to the world it could be depended on. The author seems to imply that the height of America’s honor was at the end of this war.

Honor Deteriorates and Broken Promises


The author mentions that after America withdrew from Vietnam, we didn’t fulfill our promise to supply the South Vietnamese with weapons. In essence, we left the South Vietnamese out to dry and let them be slaughtered.

Iran Hostage Crisis

On November 4, 1979, Iran captured about seventy hostages at the United States Embassy in Tehran. The author argues that Ronald Reagan acted dishonorably when he traded hostages to end the crisis.

Beirut Barracks Bombing

A peacekeeping force is sent into Lebanon after the Israeli invasion . On October 23, 1983, two truck bombs killed hundreds of U.S. and French forces. Approximately 220 Marines were killed. President Reagan pulled out our troops after the bombing. The author argues that Reagan acted dishonorably because he withdrew troops without avenging the loss.

Gulf War I

President Bush promised support for an uprising against Saddam Hussein after the end of the first Gulf War. The support never came and the people supporting the uprising were slaughtered.

Withdrawal from Somalia

The United States military originally went into Somalia as a peacekeeping force. However, things escalated and soon Army Rangers were in the fight of their lives in the Battle of Mogadishu. Eighteen American forces were killed and President Clinton soon afterwards ordered a withdrawal.

Rwandan Genocide

Millions of Tutsis were systematically murdered by Hutu militia groups from April to June 1994. The author argues that a show of force by the United States could have stopped the genocide.

The Present Test of Honor

The United States is currently in the struggle for Iraq. President Bush has promised the American and Iraqi people that we will establish Democracy in that troubled country. However, support at home is waining and our House and Senate will not approve more funding for the war without a timed withdrawal from Iraq.

The author argues that if America is proven a liar at this point in our history, that honor will be hard to restore. The credibility of the presidency will be shattered, our reliability as an ally will deteriorate, and our enemies will be strengthened.

The author then compared Nancy Pelosi to Neville Chamberlain. Chamberlain is historically known as a coward who showed no backbone when negotiating with Adolf Hitler in the 30s. As a result, millions perished. Will Pelosi and this Democratic congress go down in history as putting the final nail into the coffin that is buried along with America’s honor?


America’s honor is waning. To be strong as a country and to defeat fascism and Islamic extremism, America needs to honor its promises and finish what it started. It may cost lives now, but regaining America’s honor will cost many, many more. That’s my 500 Words.

11 thoughts on “500 Words – Honor and America's Promises”

  1. Great deep-thinking article ronalfy! Did you know there is a "deep thinker" blogger award? I should have nominated you. You're good at this.

    I can understand the reasons we need to stay and finish what the President started. What saddens me terribly is seeing all the loss of life as I'm sure it does others. And when we look at the situation in Iraq, it doesn't appear to be getting better. They send new leaders over hoping to improve the situation under new command, yet it hasn't changed things. How will this war 'ever' end when it does not appear to be improving, and most of the time it appears totally out of control. I understand it would be a mistake to pull out now. Does anyone actually feel it's possible to see a real end to this war?

  2. Grandma,

    This isn't really a war that has an "end". America simply cannot babysit Iraq forever, so the strategy is to train Iraqi forces to fend for themselves. Unfortunately, that strategy is slow to come to fruition, but it is working. America right now is acting as the runner who is ready to hand over the baton any time Iraq is ready for it. Unfortunately, what seems likely to happen is that the United States will drop the baton before it has finished its leg of the race.

  3. I don't know if Honor is the correct word… It should be changed to competence… Honor is merely a word that strokes the ego.. We don't need Honor we need to do the right thing and get our troops out of Iraq and home. Let them fight it out…. We are merely targets for terrorists and other extremists over there… Until we get rid of the worst president in the history of the United States our Competence will never be restored.

  4. Always good to see more than one view on a topic. 🙂

    Two questions come to mind: how is abandoning Iraq showing "competence"? And why is Bush "the worst president in the history of the United States"?

    The prediction at the end of the article is rather scary, all the more so because it could come true. I'd rather it didn't.


  5. We show the competence to know we will not and cannot win this war…. It is the Iraqis that need to win the war….. and how is Bush not the worst president ever…. His no child left behind… Well since that was adopted the drop our rate has increased… His war on terrorism…. hasn't produced Bin Laden… the reason we started that campaign… Gas prices? ….. and just watch him talk…. Stupid.. just ask the 2/3rd of American's who realize that he is incompetent

  6. Why doesn't General Petraeus agree with you?

    Agreed, the Iraqis need to do their part in this fight. However, we are part of the reason they have this chance for freedom. Competence is sticking with them until the job is done (yeah, "done" is quite the subject of debate all by itself).

    Let's see, No Child Left Behind. I'm right with you that that was a bad idea and should be dropped. I suppose no other Presidents backed legislation that didn't work very well or made a situation worse?

    War on Terror? Let's see, what happened on September 11, 2001? Agreed, Bin Laden has been rather slippery. So, where does that leave President Clinton? Remember that he passed up an opportunity when Sudan offered Bin Laden on a silver platter?

    The reason we got involved? I doubt anyone can truly answer that question. There were a lot of reasons. And some of those reasons haven't panned out since then. That doesn't change the fact that Congress voted to go to war. And President Bush is the Commander in Chief.

    The President's talking is stupid? He isn't a great orator like Ronald Reagan, true.

    Two thirds of American's realize Bush is incompetent? Besides the fact I'd have a hard time talking to that many people, I'd like to see your source for that number.

    Ok, considering all of the above, I can see valid reasons (well, the second to last one is just an <a href ="http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/ad-hominem.html&quot; rel="nofollow">ad hominem) why you would choose not to support President Bush or vote for him (assuming he was running for an office…). However, none of those make him the worst President in history.

    Of course, you are entitled to your opinion. 🙂


  7. 2/3rds believe he is incompetent… Look at the presidents approval rating…. That is a pretty reliable source

  8. What you mean is, 2/3 of Americans (well, statistically, anyway) disapprove of the job President Bush is doing. Yes, some probably consider him to be incompetent as well, but that isn't what the stat says.

    What do you think of this?


  9. This argument is shifting towards President Bush, which is where it shouldn't be. This argument is about America's honor. America does not get its honor from one man alone. And America's honor is not based on one President's approval rating.

    The point of the examples and the essay was to point out that America's honor is not a partisan issue; it is an American issue.

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