In the book "The Kite Runner" being American means being free from his past for Amir. Amir had a hard time looking at Hassan and all the events that had happened since Hassan's rape. For Amir going to America meant being free from the issues that had happened. It was a promise of a new world and hope.
"America was different. America was a river, roaring along, unmindful of the past. I could wade into this river, let my sins drown to the bottom, let the waters carry me someplace far." (136)
For Baba, America was an ideal that he loved but the reality was just hardship. He had difficulty adjusting to the weather, the lifestyles of the people, the lack of trust, and the hard miserable hours at laborious jobs he had to work. He loathes Jimmy Carter and feels that he was not fit to be the president. Nothing is ever good enough in Americafor Baba.
General Sahib sees America as a waiting place while he waits for his country to begin to make some sense so he can go back to it. None of the men who had come to America were able to work at jobs in the same status as they had before they had come. It was very humiliating for them.