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That's one way to look at it. But you can also argue that America is "exceptional" -- a word West uses later in the interview -- based on the story of how West left the military. Namely, under pressure, following his abuse of an Iraqi detainee. For a civilized nation that holds itself out as the leader of the Free World, there is no place in the military for someone who would allow soldiers to beat a detainee, then threaten that detainee's life with a mock execution.