if you've been blessed to travel or spend time overseas, or been part of something like military service, aid or mission work overseas.... there is a pride you can't help but feel, not only in what you're doing, but what you're representing to the people of the country you are in. i finally understand the american pride my parents have, the pride leaders like kennedy and reagan had in great abundance in america, and also in what their fellow americans can do. i've seen my countrymen and women do some amazing things, and i pray that there will continue to be more of these amazing things like the liberation of afghanistan and iraq, the first private craft into space (an american), etc etc, and very few abuse scandals and embarassing intelligence failures... these do detract from our image, and believe me, folks you know in foreign countries let you know about this, not so much in angry terms but in a disapointed term "you're supposed to be different, supposed to be better than this, america". america is the ideal of the world. our achievements are not an insult to the peoples of the world, but an inspiration, our image not a point of jealousy (for anyone except some european leaders and countries) but a reflection of the best mankind can achieve. that's why i can understand the criticism bush has recieved for alienating allies at times. some of those allies aren't good allies (france, germany to an extent) ,some of them shouldn't be our allies anyway (pakistan, saudi arabia) and some of these allies have been legitamately frustrated (britain, poland, india). we should focus on repairing the ties with the last group and maintain a cautious, polite distance with the first two groups. our actions, whether we like it or not, are under the microscope. people pay great attention to what america does. when we go around saying we don't need the geneva conventions, or certain people shouldn't fall under our constitution,or to hell with what people think.. we should be wary. people around the world get worried, and rightly so, less out of a selfish self-interest, but out of a concern for the ideal of america being tarnished. for some, this nation represents the last great hope of mankind, and i agree with them. there are some who criticize these actions taken by pres. bush because they don't understand what pride is, they can only see america as the enemy and the problem. i say it, because we're better than this. we can beat the terrorists, we can convict the terrorists, we can win the war on terror, all within our existing legal framework and existing treaty agreements. we don't need to support or coddle dictatorships (pakistan, uzbekistan, turkemenstan) to win this thing, especially when we're calling for democracy and freedom across the world to take hold.