Absolutely that is one of my points.
We can comfort ourselves by self-righteously denouncing our enemies methods, while ignoring the inconvenient fact that we have ourselves used similar methods in the past.
Unfortunately this is unlikely to convince our enemies or neutrals, as they are all perfectly well aware of our past history and how it clashes with our present position that such methods are never acceptable.
Or we can recognize the facts of our past and attempt to demonstrate why our use of somewhat similar methods was appropriate, give the situation at the time, and those of our enemies today are not acceptable. This alternative has at least some chance of changing other's minds.
The alternative has no chance of doing so. Pretending that everything America has done is beyond criticism may make us feel better about ourselves, but it will certainly not convince anyone else that what we are doing now is right.
What I am talking about is that most Americans today seem to fall into one of two camps: 1. America is and always has been wrong in everything it does; 2. America is and always has been right in everything it does.
Since that is the position, nobody seems to want to discuss particular policies, as minds are already made up in advance.
I am attempting to argue for a middle position. America has been on net a very positive influence in the world. Which does not mean that many of our policies and the methods we have used were not wrong, on occasion.
I believe the most effective approach to making us an even more positive influence is to recognize our past missteps and misdeeds as the most efficient way to avoid making similar mistakes in the future. This approach is a balancing act, and carried too far it leads directly into the Clinton approach of traveling all over the world and apologizing for everything we have ever done (or not done).