America’s Faith in War

W.J. Astore

Wars Destroy, They Don’t Create

For various reasons, America’s ruling class has a great love of war, even as America’s non-ruling-classes have a general indifference to it, as long as its destructiveness is kept overseas and out of sight.

It’s strange indeed that we have such faith in war: such faith in destruction as being progressive.  Americans are a hyper-aggressive and trigger-happy bunch, quick to anger, slow to think. Fear, anger, and pride make us a menace to various peoples on the receiving end of American firepower, yet somehow we see ourselves as reasonable peacemakers.  Such a mass delusion can only be sustained through massive propaganda, a “victory culture” if you will, supported by all those Hollywood war movies, TV shows featuring SEALs and the like, military pageantry at sporting events, and so on.

Speaking of the military and sports, day 2 of the NFL draft opened with an array of military personnel in dress uniform on the big stage in Kansas City as fans broke into “USA! USA!” chants. Yes, I understand there are a lot of football fans in the military, and I’m sure there were more than a few service members and veterans in civvies in the audience. Yet, ask yourself: What are military members in uniform doing on the stage at the NFL draft? What role are they playing?

WTF? Troops being used as props by the NFL. Cue the “USA! USA!” chants

The answer is obvious. The military uses sports to help with recruiting, and the NFL uses the military to burnish its patriotic image. It’s supposed to generate feel-good moments for the live audience there and all the millions watching at home, but it just left me shaking my head at the opportunism and cynicism of both the NFL and the Pentagon. 

Speaking again of the NFL draft, it’s curious how each team has a draft room of experts that is sometimes referred to as a “war” room. The NFL loves its military metaphors and its “warrior” players featuring quarterbacks with “howitzers” for arms who throw “missiles” downfield.

I’ve never been keen on the whole “warrior” mystique because I find it in direct opposition to the citizen-soldier ideal of America’s founders. America was not supposed to have a “warrior” caste like the British had, occupied by the second sons of the aristocracy who had nothing better to do than to wage colonial and imperial wars overseas in the cause of plunder and profit. But the warrior ideal has been all the rage in the U.S. military since the collapse of the Soviet Union, and especially since 9/11.

In a recent article for TomDispatch, Joshua Frank cited just such a sentiment (from 2007) by a troop suffering from Gulf War Syndrome: “I’m a warrior, and warriors want to fulfill their mission.”

This mentality that they’re mission-driven warriors has been drilled into U.S. troops.  But our troops are supposed to be loyal to the U.S. Constitution, not to the mission. If you’re simply a warrior, you exist for war, full stop. You’re no longer a citizen-soldier (or citizen-airman, etc.).  You’re not really a citizen at all.  Warriors are disposable, simply grunts, so who cares what happens to them? You live by the sword, you die by it, end of story.

I wish more people recognized the danger and implications of this warrior mentality.

Finally, a couple of recent articles to consider.  Chris Hedges writes about the enemy within, America’s vast military-industrial complex, that is sucking the life out of what’s left of American democracy. And Caitlin Johnstone writes about how America’s aggressive and imperial presence is always advertised and disguised as “defensive” in nature. Both articles are worth reading as an antidote to all the reflexive “USA! USA!” war chants.

14 thoughts on “America’s Faith in War

  1. I made several comments in this Washington Post article Saturday, ‘Florida principal ousted over ‘David’ images gets to see the real thing’ but this comment still in the Newspaper record, it seems to me, is of the same Spirit that moved Bill to write this article on where Americans place their FAITH.

    Too many Americans have been indoctrinated and trained not to think too deeply, and generally don’t think or care for what is really happening in the larger world, or even in the Greater USA.

    That’s True for people in other Countries too, but the US is supposed to be the Leader in THIS World, and ever more Countries are beginning to see the US is not a good example to follow.

    The US, Economically and Militarily, still insists other Countries don’t resist, and continue to follow US Dictates setting the Rules for the US Rules Based Order, the US being Exceptional.

    The Revelation in US MSM Propaganda, not Russian, inform us mass killings in the US are on the increase, along with hunger, homelessness, teenage suicides, rising rents, groceries and everything else, but not too many questions why the financial, psychological and emotional costs are rising so fast in the FREE WORLD we’re told we live in?

    It’s mostly focused on what’s in it for me without having to wait too long, as if people really think they can buy a Stairway to Heaven on Earth.

    We have a very, very, very short period of TIME to do something GOOD and lasting for the Betterment of Life on Earth in TIME that is already without END?

    TIME continues without us when we EXPIRE.

    Jesus who embodied the Revelation of the Christ Alpha, is recorded to have said, ‘You hypocrites! Isaiah described you well. This people is close to me with their mouth, and honours me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. In vain they worship me teaching as DOCTRINE, the commandments of men.’


    1. A common reply to the many comments in The Washington Post on the WAR and Religion is “take your meds” and is the 1st reaction to my comment above.

      The 3rd reply was the perfect segue that moved me expand on the comment above.

      “What is noteworthy is The Christ is not addressing those words to those who don’t believe in the Living God, but to those who think they do.”
      I don’t think the “The” is capitalized.

      How could I not reply this way?

      It is in my comment. Christ is THE Spirit of the letter!
      Many Christians don’t grasp the height and the depth in the PRACTICE of the FAITH in the LIVING God above the NATIONS, Popes, Princes and Paupers.
      Therefore the law was a tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by FAITH.
      Galatians 3:24

      Every Congress, Parliament and Legislature sitting in THIS World TODAY is a Ghost of the Original as they sit in Moses’ seat, THE LAW giver.

      After some 4000 years of Mosaic Law guiding the Nations through Trials and Judgments, and 2000 years of The COMMON ERA of Christ, has THE LAW led THIS World to that PEACEFUL place the same Book of the Law tells us is the Result and to get it into PRACTICE to make it so, ‘Your kingdom come, your Will be done on Earth, as it is in Heaven?’

      THE LAW has brought THIS MATERIAL WORLD to the precipice of Armageddon/WWIII.

      As for SAVING GRACES, it’s written in the Book of Books, ‘You search the Scriptures, for in them YOU THINK you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me.’
      That was Christ Alpha speaking through Jesus some 2000 years ago. This is the TIME of Christ Omega in the Revelation of Jesus Christ.


      1. Ray, many Americans aren’t Christian. By citing so many references to the Bible for support, you won’t convince non-Christian Americans, and you’ll also tend to alienate those who don’t like being preached at, including some Christians.

        For secular points, I suggest secular arguments. They’re usually more persuasive.


        1. It’s the parables in the mixture of Spiritual and Secular, especially if it fits like a glove, some People don’t want to see.

          Dennis, an avowed non-religious Atheist, likes the same comment in your substack site. How about that?


        2. Bill, posting in Caitlain Johnstone’s article this am, ‘It’s Good When Idols Get Knocked Off…’ with my political-religious ways, I got 11 likes and 7 respectful replies and discussion on my comment, more than I ever got here. The 1st paragraph is Caitlin’s.
          I start with ‘Most Christian America’ I use facetiously.

          “Our entire culture — movies, schoolbooks, religions etc — tells us to always be looking for heroes. Tells us to look outside ourselves for celebrated leaders who will show us where to go. And I just think that’s a terrible dereliction of duty — of our duty to find the truth for ourselves.”

          Most Christian America doesn’t fully grasp the Truth in this teaching of The Christ, ‘And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God comes not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is WITHIN YOU.’

          That’s where the questioning must start for The Truth to be found!

          The serious discussion caused me to expand on the Vision as best I could with many more comments in reply to others, those being liked too.


        3. Bill, No one challenged or disparaged this comment in this ZeroHedge this am, ‘Bernie Sanders: Government Should Confiscate All Wealth Over $999 Million’ Apparently 145,963 People read the article leaving 2,015 comments that stopped

          While Jesus never mentioned abortion, he did say ‘Hardly ever will a rich man enter the kingdom of heaven, and it’s easier for a camel to go through the eye of the needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.’ The final straw for the Religious Authorities was when he overturned the tables on the BANKERS and MERCHANTS working out of the Temple property in a Kosher Deal with the Priests of the Temple, the Headquarters of the Western World Religious Establishment when The Christ walked the Earth some 2000 years ago.

          It’s not that Christ excludes the rich, but Jesus also taught you cannot serve 2 Masters. You cannot serve God and MONEY, a straight line running through the Billionaires to the poorest of the poor in THIS MATERIAL World, with hunger and famine increasing for so many Humans created in the Image and Likeness of God. People are responsible for the choices they make in THIS World Individually, not the choices others make.

          We know how God sees it when Jesus said the poor widow who put pennies from her poverty into the Treasury, put in much more than the rich who gave out of their abundance beyond ANY HUMAN NEED.

          His Brother James is even more specific in Chapter 5 of his Book in the Book of Books;

          Go to now, you rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you.
          Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth eaten.
          Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were FIRE. You have heaped treasure together for

          Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by FRAUD, cries: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord Almighty.

          You have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton; you have nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter.
          You have condemned and killed the just; and he does not resist you.
          Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waits for the precious fruit of the earth, and has long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.

          To my mind, reading that Biblical History from 2000 years ago, this World is undergoing Regime Change big TIME in real TIME.

          People from the majority of Nations on God’s Earth are clamouring for the Regime Change of the Powers of THIS World

          Have you seen any big time TV Evangelist living the lifestyle of the rich and famous expound on those scriptural themes in their Bibles?

          They all preach this world is in THE LAST DAYS, but they don’t see these LAST DAYS are the same LAST DAYS James wrote some 2000 years ago would come in THE LAST DAYS.

          If they did, they would be preaching from their Pulpits, it’s time to change the Oligarchic Plutocracy Pyramid System which rules over us.

          That would bring them in conflict with the Authorities of THIS World, who could take their TAX EXEMPT status away from them.


    2. Yes, those images of “David” are too scandalous, Johnny and Suzy. But look here at all our nuclear weapons! Aren’t they grand?


  2. ‘Catastrophe: The Global Cost of the Ukraine War’
    The Russia-Ukraine war has been a disaster for Ukraine, obviously – but also a calamity for the entire world. Ukraine has already suffered levels of death and destruction reminiscent of the height of the Yugoslav wars (1992-1995, 1998-1999) and the worst months of the Iraq War (2003-2011, 2014-2018); It even calls to mind the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war.[1] The wealth, tenacity, and exceptional military power of the contestants – Russia, Ukraine, and USA-NATO – have made for a high-intensity war. Although physical destruction has been largely limited to Ukraine, the other effects of the war have not been limited. The impact on life and livelihood outside the combatant countries has been profound. In fact, many more people have died outside Ukraine due to the conflict than inside.

    The war’s acute global effect is due partly to the importance of Russia and Ukraine to global agricultural and energy production. Amplifying this, however, is the intentional global economic warfare – sanctions, blockades, embargoes – that has accompanied the fighting. And that is only part of the war’s broader impact.

    The conflict and the economic warfare it involves, have driven up food and energy prices worldwide, disrupted world trade, helped stall and reverse post-pandemic economic recovery, and drawn scarce resources away from other humanitarian crises and economic development efforts. The collateral effects of the war mean not only years of additional acute hardship for a billion global citizens and lowered living standards for billions more, but also reduced action on other global threats including climate change and health crises.

    As outlined below, the financial expenditures associated with the war for Russia, Ukraine, and nations supporting Ukraine has been $25 billion a month. Longer term costs include reconstruction – presently estimated at $413 billion – and a sudden jump in the base-level of annual global military spending exceeding $300 billion. Already, this is a trillion dollar war.

    Ukraine War Support vs Other Global Assistance
    There was also a substantial redirection of Official Development Assistance (ODA) in accord with war policy.

    In addition to humanitarian aid, direct support to Kyiv’s economy and war effort – about $200 billion in a single year – has far outpaced other recent international initiatives. It is equal to the total of global ODA and humanitarian aid combined……………………………………..


  3. More along the lines of the previous comment. There is one error as it titles Ike’s 1963 speech “The Chance For Peace’ when it is better known as ‘The Cross of Iron’ speech.
    “This is, I repeat, the best way of life to be found on the road the world has been taking. This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron. These plain and cruel truths define the peril and point the hope that come with this spring of 1953.
    Worse or better in 2023?

    The military-industrial complex (MIC) that President Dwight D. Eisenhower warned Americans about more than 60 years ago is still alive and well. In fact, it’s consuming many more tax dollars and feeding far larger weapons producers than when Ike raised the alarm about the “unwarranted influence” it wielded in his 1961 farewell address to the nation.

    The statistics are stunning. This year’s proposed budget for the Pentagon and nuclear weapons work at the Department of Energy is $886 billion — more than twice as much, adjusted for inflation, as at the time of Eisenhower’s speech. The Pentagon now consumes more than half the federal discretionary budget, leaving priorities like public health, environmental protection, job training, and education to compete for what remains. In 2020, Lockheed Martin received $75 billion in Pentagon contracts, more than the entire budget of the State Department and the Agency for International Development combined.

    This year’s spending just for that company’s overpriced, underperforming F-35 combat aircraft equals the full budget of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And as a new report from the National Priorities Project at the Institute for Policy Studies revealed recently, the average taxpayer spends $1,087 per year on weapons contractors compared to $270 for K-12 education and just $6 for renewable energy.

    The list goes on — and on and on. President Eisenhower characterized such tradeoffs in a lesser known speech, “The Chance for Peace,” delivered in April 1953, early in his first term, this way: “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children”…………………………………………………………………………….…


  4. A little late to the game, but have you read Margaret MacMillan’s book ‘War: How conflict shaped us’? It’s an interesting read about how war shapes society, and in turn society shapes war. I think it fits pretty well into this conversation.

    Liked by 1 person

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