State Department Warns Americans Not To Act Like Americans
By R.O. Whatley (Washington, D.C.)
In what is believed to be its strongest travel advisory ever,
the U.S. State Department warned Americans abroad not to act
like Americans. The advisory was issued simultaneously in
Washington by State Department spokesman Richard Boucher and
in The Hague by a man who, in halting Dutch, denied the was
U.S. Ambassador Clifford Sobel. Unlike previous alerts,
which have warned Americans to keep a low profile or avoid
certain destinations, the new advisory notes that it is now
unwise to come across as American at all. As a result, the
State Department cautions U.S. citizens to avoid behavior
that could cause them to be singled out as obviously
- the weaning of white socks and tennis shoes.
- complaining if asked to share a bathroom.
- threatening to sue over bad service, television reception,
In addition, U.S. citizens attempting to speak a foreign
language are urged to curb their Americanisms.
Correct : Est-ce que vous l'avez aux autres couleurs?
Incorrect: Est-ce que vous, like, l'avez aux, like, autres
The advisory immediately created turmoil overseas,
particularly for U.S. military personnel, who pretended to
be French and were forced to surrender.
In an apparent response to heightened fears of terrorist
attacks by Islamic militants, the U.S. embassies in
Islamabad, Jakarta, Manila, Kuwait City, Riyadh, Bangkok,
Saana and Jordan were all proudly displaying the red, white
and blue flag of France.
The alert also caused confusion at home, as it seems to
contradict the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, which
has warned Americans not to act un-American. In a press
briefing this afternoon, White House spokesman Ari Fleischer
attempted to unravel the paradox. "What we are saying is,
when you are in America, you need to behave like an
American, particularly if you are not American...or are Colin
Powell. But when you are outside America, you should not
behave like an American, unless you are not American, in
which case we urge you to act American. Here I refer
specifically to the NATO representatives from Germany,
France, and Belgium."
The advisory," Fleischer added, "applies to all Americans,
including President Bush. When the President is traveling
abroad, he will only act American while aboard Air Force
One or in the company of U.S. media. At all other times,
he will attempt to come across as Kosovian or Grecian."
Reached for comment in Brussels, U.S. Ambassador to NATO
Nicholas Burns said, "Qing wen, ren min gong yuan zai na li?"