Published June 11, 2010
During the 2008 presidental campaign, Barack Obama was asked whether he believed in American exceptionalism. Sure, he said, "just like the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism." In other words, the only people who think there is anything exceptional about America are some naïve, insular Americans.
You're wrong, Mr. President. For evidence, start with your own American military. It’s most formidable fighting force in the history of the world. In wartime, amphibious assault ships carry the helicopters and marines that will storm the beaches and seize control of an area.
But these ships and helicopters, sailors and marines have two other roles: they also provide humanitarian assistance and disaster relief. The hospital units aboard these ships – which in wartime treat casualties – in peacetime provide medical care to those in need. The ships make annual visits to the poorest countries in the world, providing the only medical care these people receive – everything from dental exams to complicated surgeries.
They provide basic medical services to hundreds of thousands worldwide. Just one ship, the USS Iwo Jima, plans to hand out 30,000 prescription eyeglasses this year alone when it makes its annual port calls in Central and South America this winter.
Other ships do the same in Africa and Asia.
In the last decade or so the U.S. military has also assumed a third role – leading disaster relief efforts around the world. Those same landing craft and helicopters that carry marines to storm the beaches can carry doctors and nurses to care for disaster victims -- water sanitation and roadbuilding and communications equipment – food and supplies.
Since the U.S. navy is forward deployed and sailing the seven seas, we are often the first outsiders on the scene after earthquakes and tsunamis, sometimes arriving within hours.
Is there any other country willing and able to do this? On those scope and throughout the world? Is America exceptional? You betcha!
Kathleen Troia "K.T." McFarland is a Fox News National Security Analyst and host of FoxNews.com's DefCon 3. She is a Distinguished Adviser to the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies and served in national security posts in the Nixon, Ford and Reagan administrations. She wrote Secretary of Defense Weinberger’s November 1984 "Principles of War Speech" which laid out the Weinberger Doctrine. Be sure to watch "K.T." every Monday at 10 a.m. ET on FoxNews.com's "DefCon3" already one of the Web's most watched national security programs.
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