Peace Action and Nonviolence
Throughout the history of the world, we have come to realize that violence is often ubiquitous. Whether it be of domestic concern or international, most nations have, at least at one point in time, had to deal with these conflicts to prevent further damage. How a nation decides to address these sources of violence determines whether or not the conflict will be settled and put to an end, or merely pushed further, in most cases as a means of retaliation. However, in many instances we see these sources of violence to be pushed further, even though it may be unintended, which thus keeps the cycle of ...view middle of the document...
However, due to certain situations involving our government and military over the past century, I’ve come to realize that this may not be the case. For the purpose of this essay I am going to discuss whether or not the U.S. Government and military has more intentions pointing towards violence rather than peace and nonviolence, or vice versa. In doing so, I am going to analyze certain instances and aspects involving our national defense’s role and hope to uncover what type of influence or impact our government has on the civilian populations of the world.
Firstly, what I would like to discuss is what I believe to be the building blocks to our nation’s military, which are the training methods and principles used by our military leaders. Many believe that our current training methods, mostly based on masculine ideals, is the root to the violent nature of many soldiers. For instance, over the recent years it has been brought to national attention that serious incidents such as sexual violence are taking place within our military. In a USA Today article discussing the need to stop sexual violence in our military, New York senator, Kristen Gillbrand, and Texas senator, Ted Cruz, state that in the last year the U.S. Department of Defense reported 3,374 cases of forced sexual contact that occurred within our armed forces, both oversees and in state. Of these reported cases they stated only 302 were taken to trial, and only 238 of them resulted in conviction. Upon hearing these statistics, it makes sense to me that our military’s fundamental training procedures could strongly influence a violent culture that would indirectly promote such cruel actions. These training methods, both physical and psychological, are used in order to condition each soldier so that, given the sudden outbreak of war, these soldiers will have been readily transformed from regular individuals to remorseless killers. These methods must also be very deceptive, as it seems very difficult to just convince someone to rationalize killing another who they do not know at all, and then actually going through with it. (Gillbrand & Cruz, Stop Sexual Violence in the Military)
The first method to be discussed is desensitization, which is diminishment of emotional responsiveness to negative acts of violence. With this process, the military uses euphemisms and deceitful terminology to neutralize serious violent acts and justify killing by objectifying the enemy, thus making the act of violence equivalent to a rightful duty and accepting violence done in one’s name with ease. In our class reading of From War to Peace, Kent D. Shifferd explains how this training method uses negative terms to dehumanize the enemy by saying, “The men to be killed are not husbands, fathers, sons, teachers, and medics, but gooks, nips, towel heads, huns, slants, animals, krauts, vermin and on and on.”(Shifferd, 45) It isn’t surprising to foresee how these degrading terms are eventually targeted at the...