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War Culture Essay

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Submitted By normanisbunny
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War culture, while not heavily discussed in media or amongst politics today, is hiding right under our noses—and thriving. War culture has evolved so rapidly and widely it has managed to have a profound effect on everyday life influencing media, pop culture and even constitutional crises due in large part to the culture of fear it creates. In recent times war has been used as a way to secure foreign oil and fulfill other political agendas that don’t necessarily benefit the majority of our nation. War, once considered a last resort, is now a go to tactic. It has become so commonplace it’s quietly become a big part of our lives that we never really notice. War culture is almost subtle, one doesn’t even recognize it at first but as we analyze certain events, police tactics, symbols and images in media and literature it becomes clear just how instrumental war culture has been in shaping a national identity.
The action of occupation by force that the US military uses has influenced police tactics at home. While the whole of America might not be considered a police state, there are instances of police brutality that mirror tactics used in detention camps. One of the most recently talked about incidents in which military like action was taken against civilians were the actions that took place in Ferguson, Missouri. On August 9th 2014, 18 year old Michael Brown was gunned down by Officer Brian Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri. The circumstances surrounding the events were questionable as many felt as though Michael Brown’s death was very much preventable. The wrongful death of Michael Brown led to protests in Ferguson. In “The Us War Culture Has Come Home to Roost” Gilbert Mercier reports that police forces using armored trucks tried to disrupt peaceful protesters with tear gas and rubber pellets. The use of excessive force in this case exhibits how the government tries to instill fear in those who question the law. It’s an attempt to make an example out of those who question the government.
While America wants to make an example out of its own civilians who question the law and jeopardize the authenticity of their patriotism, it also wants to instill a (false) sense of security in its people. In The American Way of War by Eugene Jerecki, the Patriot Act is analyzed in such a way to expose its unconstitutional flaws. After the 9/11 attacks the government made it a point to create a sense a fear of terrorism in the general public. . The Bush Doctrine was created under the Bush Administration and it it essentially allowed for America’s military to attack a country that did not attack America first. The justification for this attack was that there was an imminent threat and there needed to be action taken before action was taken against America first. This was otherwise known as the preemptive strike. Jerecki claims that this would “prove to be the most radical expansion of American foreign policy” (226). After achieving this goal, it decided to draft an act that would essentially violate basic constitutional rights and invade the privacy of millions of civilians without their consent or knowledge. Not only did the Patriot Act allow for military surveillance and intelligence reconnaissance tactics used on the public but it challenged the checks and balance system of the government.
The US Government worked tirelessly to convince the public that there was something to be feared in Iraq despite Iraq not having been involved in the terrorist attacks of 9/11. One such tactic the government used to instill a desire for war amongst its people was the act of “stovepiping.” Stovepiping was a process “by which Bush administration officials provided raw intelligence from the field directly to high level officials bypassing vital filters” (227). What stovepiping did was allow for the government to create made up intelligence and promote it to the general public as reasons why the war and invasion of Iraq was necessary. The government tricked American people into thinking the threat from Iraq was greater than it actually was by exaggerating evidence against Saddam Hussein and his weapons of mass destruction.
One of the most disturbing aspects of war culture was how detainees were treated at detention camps. The way in which American soldiers abused those in camps like Abu Ghraib in Iraq was misrepresented in the media. The American people “were robbed of a deeper understanding of what Abu Ghraib meant”(228). That is to say the mass media outlets made sure to stress how these acts of abuse and cruel and unusual punishments were “isolated events.” Their angle was to portray the officers and soldiers who committed these acts as bad apples who had gone off their rockers. However that was not the case, as the world would find out in 2004 in an article published by the Washington Post. The article exposed the existence of a so called Torture Memo, this was a document that allowed for the US military to utilize by redefining what it meant. The Torture Memo interpreted the Geneva Conventions more liberally than any other administration before and circumvented the court’s and Congress’s power to check the executive branch. To put it simply, the Torture Memo and loose interpretation of the Geneva Conventions were unconstitutional and expanded the executive branch’s power to areas in which it didn’t have power before.

Perhaps no other administration has compromised and undermined the core constitutional values like the Bush administration. While the Bush Doctrine went against the Truman Doctrine by allowing for the attack of an unassuming country with less defense it also challenged the merit of habeus corpus. It denied detainees under the jurisdiction of the US military the right to a trial, instead subjecting them to biased military tribunals. Again this action was just another notch on the Bush administration’s belt of unconstitutional actions. Again by finding a loophole in the Geneva conventions the executive branch was able to interpret these legal principles to benefit themselves. By labeling the detainees as “unlawful enemy combatants” they were no longer under the protection of the Geneva Convention therefore they were no longer given the write of a writ trial.…...

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