The complexity of politics is comprehensively captured in this 1986 song, by Jackson Browne, known for his environmental activism. The narrator of the song clearly has always loved his country that is in his blood and bones, but having grown up, sees it’s not so “black and white.”
It’s not acceptable to blindly accept American exceptionalism – the term first coined by Alexis de Tocqueville, that the USA is tasked with bringing their version of liberal democracy to the rest of the world – because of what that requires. What that requires is more “Vietnams” when might is not right. That there is a price to pay for the parents that send their kids to war, since we know there will be more conflicts to come, and nothing resolved.
Quoting the Star Spangled banner, Browne is thinking hard about how he was politically socialized as a youth, into a reflexive, uncompromising support for his country’s foreign policy. Now, he sees this mindset is not all it’s cracked up to be. Browne was probably thinking of American involvement in Nicaragua and El Salvador, for this Reagan era song. But you may find it is equally relevant in more recent times with U.S. involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan.