What does the chivalric tradition that originated in America's Civil War mean to the US today? Of all the scandals to come out of the Iraq war – Abu Ghraib, Haditha, the gang-rape and murder of 14 year old Abeer Qassim Hamza – the most dishonorable to date is the Bush administration's refusal to protect Iraqis who risked their lives by working as translators, interpreters, drivers for the US army. Targeted by insurgent groups, denied help from the US army, the Iraqis who cast their lot with America are being kidnapped and executed every day, and no news report or televised pleas of help have caused a stir in the American conscience.
This story of betrayal is nothing new. At the twilight of the Vietnam war, the US abandoned 3,300 of the 3,500 Vietnamese employees of the US Army, leaving them at the mercy of vengeful nationalists. Every war since, the US has brought war and lofty ideals of freedom and democracy to faraway lands, leaving a cruel fate to the locals who believed in them. Just like in Vietnam 40 years ago, America is demonstrating to the world that it has no honor, and that its word does not mean very much.
*As of February 2007, the US has opened its doors to 466 of the 2 million Iraqi refugees displaced since 2003. Sweden has accepted 70,000, Jordan 750,000.