Lampshaded by the good prince.
- "Growing up, we were taught that the fire nation was the greatest civilization in history, and somehow the war was our way of sharing our greatness with the rest of the world. What an amazing lie that was. the people of the world are terrified by the fire nation. They don’t see our greatness. They hate us. and we deserve it! We created an era of fear in the world. and if we don’t want the world to destroy itself, we need to replace it with an era of peace and kindness.” —Zuko, Day of Black Sun Part 1
and you know, this is all of Zuko right here. At the start of the series, he’s bitter, angry, uncompromising, (your typical villain) but that’s because he’s been at sea for two years. His whole life has been a disappointment. After his mom disappeared, he was treated like utter trash
But I don’t think his ideals were ever wrong, even during his ponytail phase. I don’t think Iroh’s were wrong when we has the general in charge of seizing Ba Sing Se. From the Fire Nation’s perspective, they’re not the aggressors. They’re the liberators, freedom spreaders, the “We’ll improve your lives and culture if you primitive people would just calm down and submit.” Sure there are sadists among them. The Zhaos and the Azulas. But I swear look at any random Fire Nation soldier, and they will not be a bad guy. They will be a soldier fighting for their nation. They will be human.