Dear Mr. President Bush,

Last week I was listening to NPR in the car and I heard you speaking about the recent arrest of Ramzi Binalshibh, the man who is believed to have had a hand in organizing the Sept. 11 attacks.

"We assess every threat. We take everything seriously," you said. "He forgot that the greatest country on Earth was after them."

Mr. Bush, I am tired of hearing you refer to the United States as "The Greatest Country on Earth" during public addresses and international speeches. Please just quit it. It's not the kind of thing we the people are interested in tolerating anymore within the global community.

Yes, we live in a great country, and the majority of us appreciate that. Many of us certainly believe that there is no better country than the good old USA. But we should stop saying it out loud, Mr. President, because we're coming across as pompous, selfish and obnoxious. Imagine if you lived in a neighborhood where one family kept consistently proclaiming, "We are the greatest family in the neighborhood! We have the finest house on the block!" How would that make you feel?

That would piss you off, Mr. President. In the interest of respect to our international neighbors, let's not be afraid to be modest. In the interest of guiding our citizens toward a better understanding of foreign policy in this fucked-up global age, let's try to resist exclamations that foster a condescending mind. Hell, if Niger or Thailand or even France started calling themselves The Greatest Country on Earth, we would openly laugh at them.

I don't blame only you, Mr. Bush. The press, the rest of our government, and most of the good people of our country don't bat much of an eyelash when you spout off such casual propaganda. But we're going to have to, if we want to get our country and our globe back on the road to life and love. International relations should not be remeniscent of folks screaming for the home team at football game.

Ryan D. Pants