Anthony Marsella

An Answer Other than War

President Ronald W. Reagan salutes military personnel gathered in his honor, Oct. 12, 1986. (Credit:  PH1 Sammy Pierce / Wikimedia Commons)

President Ronald W. Reagan salutes military personnel gathered in his honor, Oct. 12, 1986. (Credit: PH1 Sammy Pierce / Wikimedia Commons)

To say that war is not the answer (as suggested in a previous post) is to underscore that war lacks salience in the public mind and that peace is next to impossible for Americans to envision. US war culture displaces both an understanding of peace and a desire to pursue it.

War culture is difficult to change. It is deeply ingrained. Americans have been continuously at war for the past 250 years. The absence of war—which is not the same as a positive state of peace—is a rare and short-lived phenomenon in U.S. history. A condition of positive peace is unprecedented.

Nevertheless, culture is something learned and, therefore, subject to change. War culture does not just naturally persist. It is sustained by ritual. At least theoretically, a culture of war can be transformed over time into a culture of peace. (more…)

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