American Way of War
As Americans, do we ever think about how other Americans view the American Way of War? Do Americans ever stop to think about the fact that even though we read the same books and watch the same TV news program that we all grow up in different homes which have varying views of the American Way of War. If Americans were ask their friends or family what their view was, it would more than likely be very close to their own view. Those same Americans do not take the time to step back and realize that it is possible for other Americans to have different views of the American Way of War.
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Let’s take a step back to reality and look at the possible outlooks that Americans do have on the war and how each of these views vary. First there is the Idealist view of the American Way of War. The Idealist is certain America goes to war because we need to fight our enemies that want to destroy our democracy. These enemies want to take away our freedom and threaten us with their evil ways. While Idealists believes that we must go to war to fight our enemies they believe that war only happens in “the most extreme circumstances” because we are a peaceful nation full of democracy.
In order to defend our nation, the Idealist thinks we have to use “a substantial portion of our collective wealth” to protect our nation. Next we have the Dissenter’s view; empire is the name of the game and America does it with guns blazing. From this point of view it is thought that Americans have spilt blood all over this country in order to make the US take over “from sea to shining sea” and will continue to do so until we control every bit of land on planet earth, perhaps even outer space.
The man at the gym, according to the Dissenter, with the big muscles who groans and does not let you use the machine next to him because it will make him stronger is America. The American people are the guy at the gym flexing our big muscles in the face of anyone that wants to look our way, not because they are a threat but because we have to be the greatest person in town. We will take what we want because we are Americans and it is the manifest destiny that guides us. The Dissenter does not believe we are living in a democratic nation, he/she understands that the government and the top few rule this land.
Jingoists declare with unwavering certainty that whether or not American people feel that their country is going to war for the right reasons, Americans must support the government. If the government says we should go off and defeat the Canadians because they looked at us funny, then as Americans we must make sure they are crushed. In this “struggle for survival”, the greatest will come through and according to the Jingoist, America is the greatest so we will be the top of the survival game.
Jingoists pretend to care about democracy and spreading it to other countries, when the real goal is to continue to build our empire. The Jingoist does not care about Liberty and Justice except when it used by the government to cover up Americas empire building ways. In order to survive America must continue to “seize the moment” and improve the world. Even if Americans are wrong we must never ever show it to anyone, if we set out to defeat an enemy we must fully defeat them leaving nothing in our wake. In order to fully understand each view, the facts these views are based on should be examined.
As for the Idealists, they carry around a bucket of ideas the government gave them. Some of these ideas are that our nation is peace loving, we humanely fought our wars, the enemy is always lurking and the nation is 100% democratic. If Idealists get questioned they may resort to this bucket with quick one line answers neatly laid out for them by the government. This would not work when the Idealist encountered a Dissenter, as the Idealist would be shot down with various pieces of evidence undermining his/her ideals.
For example, Idealists believe America is a peace loving nation; the Dissenter disagrees and believes our nation was founded on “violence and bloodshed”. Dissenters can undermine Idealists by saying Columbus slaughtered the Indians just because we wanted more land. Dissenters would laugh at the Idealist on the humane issue. Dissenters would bring up how Americans handed out smallpox blankets to the Indians to make them die off, not sure that falls under the definition of humane in the dictionary. While the Jingoist has examples to back up his point of views, they stem from the claim that America is always right.
Jingoists turn a blind eye to right and wrong, only sticking with how the government is portraying the current war. For example, they speak of the seizure of Hawaii being necessary to save it from their primitives. While it is quite possible that Hawaii was not full of primitives, it is defiantly not a humane way to act as a country. The Idealist believes that we need to set up a large military to protect the American way of life. The American military must be ready for war at all times as we cannot have any “sneak attacks” by our enemies.
He/she has no doubt the government makes certain the military does not get in the way of democracy by implementing “checks and safeguards against the possibility of military priorities” taking over “the voice of the people”. What about the terrorist attacks of 9/11, where was the military at that time? If American military should always be on guard, how can our enemies crash our planes into buildings? In fact, the enemy flew a plane into the Pentagon! Pretty sure the military was asleep at the switch on that one.
If there are these so called checks and safeguards against the military taking over our voice, why is the government not listening to the American people to pull out of the current war? This is where the Dissenter comes to make some sense of the situations the Idealists questions. Dissenters do not think that there are enemies out there on the front lines just waiting to take over America. They think the only enemies are the ones that stand in the way of America’s manifest destiny. If our goal in 1846 was to take over the land that we wanted from Mexico to produce more cotton than that is what we will do.
If the government needs to dehumanize the people that are standing in our way in order for Americans to feel better about war than that is what it will do. For example, in 1846 the Mexicans were labeled by the US Government as “descendants of Aztec” and therefore not worthy of the land. This ploy by the government helped Americans think they were justified to take the land; the Mexicans are not worthy of it. The Dissenter believes that the government has adopted this trick in every war. The terminology “gooks” or “sand nigger” are current examples of this dehumanization tactic.
Dissenters have no doubt the US Government will tell its people any kind of story in order to get them to believe in the war. What differs in Jingoists perspectives is that they support these lies that the government tells the American people. Unlike the Idealist, they have claims to back up their statements; even if the claims are given to them by the government or media. The Jingoist supports the claim that we created the Atomic Bomb because we had no other scarier cloud to hang over the enemies head. How about not involving ourselves in the war in the first place and staying neutral?
Even if countries rule differently most get along fine without us intervening in their affairs. This does not matter to a Jingoist who will continue to support America no matter what. According to the Jingoist, we had to “intervene for the sake of humanity. ” The real truth is if America did not intervene it would make America look weak. Jingoists could never have Americans be seen as weak, as we cannot achieve global domination if we look weak. Jingoists believe Americans must support the government to the fullest extent we can.
What about democracy and the voice of the American people when it comes to war? According to the Idealist, the people have the final decision when it comes to going to war and war is based on democracy. For example, Idealists think because Americans pay taxes which help build the military than Americans obviously support the war. Also, it is thought by an Idealist, American people have always had a voice when it comes to the time of war. Idealists have an unusual statement that accompanies this thought, which is the draft was “the will of the people. Americans, according to the Idealist, would never be the first to yield guns as war would only be declared if the enemy shot first. For example, Idealists believe that in the 1846 war with Mexico that the Mexicans shed blood on American soil first so we would need to declare war. When in fact it was us Americans who shed blood first and the U. S. government made it look like the Mexicans were the first. The Dissenter does not believe American people are given a fair say in the war and there is a false democracy in the country, especially when it comes to the treatment of Dissenters.
There is no free speech when Dissenters want to oppose the war. Instead they were “tarred and feathered” during the Revolutionary War and even “lynched during World War II. ” While the Dissenters were being told in which area of the street they could voice their opinion, the government was sitting with the few making plans to develop nuclear weapons. This is not democracy. It is because of the government, not the voice of the people that we live in the shadow of a nuclear upheaval. The government created the Atomic Bomb to stay powerful and benefit their needs, not the needs of the American democratic nation.
Since the government creates the wars then it would make sense the Government creates the military. Unfortunately, the choice to join the military is only a choice for a small few. The poor, less educated, and jobless are the ones who are signing up for the war because they have no other option. The ones who can afford college and are able to find work keep on doing so. According to the Dissenter this is almost as bad as the draft. During the draft the rich could buy a pass to let them out of the draft and to go to college.
While on first glance Americans can lie to themselves and say that the military is “all-volunteer” when they look real closely they will see the real truth. The Jingoists view of democracy falls right in line with how they view everything else about the American Way of War. Jingoists support their country no matter what. If there is a draft, so be it. If the government wants to go to war then so be it. It just does not matter to the Jingoist that building atomic bombs are not the way you want to go about showing our strengths to another country.
Jingoists believe it is in our biology to fight for our survival, so why would they care about democracy. They only care that the government tries to hide their lies behind the curtain of democracy, “liberty and justice. ” Now that a step back has been taken, one can decide if the American way of war is the way the Idealist, Dissenter, or Jingoist views it. I think it could be hard to say which is the true American way of war; since it seems America is made of up of all three of these types of people. However when looking at the majority of the American people, most could be described as Idealists.
Since this is the majority of the view in American than this is the most accurate description of how America views war. Most Americans will continue to believe the stories that are being fed to them from the schools, media and government authorities. The majority of Americans think that we are nice old America just trying to help out these undemocratic civilizations. I would hope that as Americans we can live our own lives and base our knowledge on facts as the Dissenter does and not fall into Idealist naivete or Jingoist lies. Americans cannot continue supporting how our government tells us to act no matter what.
At least the Dissenter has the knowledge to make an informed decision. If my friend told me to jump off a bridge because it would make me the next Emperor, I would not just jump. I need to review the facts of the situation: how high is the bridge, how deep is the water and Emperor to what? I believe the Idealist and Jingoist would jump off the bridge if the government, school or media told them too. America needs to become more like the Dissenter and question the US Government’s actions before the Jingoist gets their way and the world is being destroyed by a bully.
A good way to look at these views and determine the most accurate view of the American way of War is by looking at the treatment of our Veterans. Idealists do not think anything is wrong with the Veterans, which is most Americans. Jingoists know that Veterans are suffering but will do nothing about it. I believe Idealists and Jingoists turn a blind eye to the Veterans on the street. I think this because, the Idealist thinks that on Veterans Day and Memorial Day all of us Americans sit around and reflect on those who have fought and those who have lost their lives in the wars.
Jingoists would put out their American flag for these holidays and do a lot of talking about supporting America. The Dissenter has it right when he/she says these days are for American to enjoy at “the beach or mall, not for deep reflection. ” If American people take a look around the next time these holidays come up it will be obvious the Dissenter has the clearest view of this country. However, if you look at the above you can clearly see it is the Idealist view that is the majority view of war in American culture.