War on What’s Next?

May 10, 2011 | By | 5 Replies More

Americans don’t seem to understand much of anything unless we restate it in a war-metaphor:

War on Drugs
War on Terror
War on Poverty
War on Science
War on Democracy

And now there is a “War Against Floods,” which we battle with the “Army Corp of Engineers.”

And I forgot to mention some of the other wars:

War on Christmas
War on Nature
War on Freedom
War on Immigrants

Not many of these “wars” seem be be a good thing or a successful

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program, but these word “war” does seem to motivate Americans. Perhaps the fact that the word “war” is a superstimulus might lead to some beneficial wars that really do work.

What if we Sugar-coated useful social programs with the war-metaphor to get this War-Mongering Congress to notice them and pass them into law? How about this one:

Today, the U.S. government announced that it deliver the new bill creating single-payer health care to the House of Representatives using a fleet of heavily armed Blackhawk helicopters. The Republicans were delighted with the proposal and stated overwhelmingly that they would vote for the measure, regardless of what the bill was about.

Or how about this one?:

Congress passed new expensive initiatives for Head Start and Planned Parenthood and Public Broadcasting today. The bill include doubled founding for these programs, but requires that the old version of the funding bill be napalm bombed by an F-18 fighter jet streaking in at Mach 1.5, followed by a ceremony at which attendees would be encouraged to think of new wars to fight in the coming year.

I don’t get all of this war stuff here in the U.S. I don’t get the rough justice, the turning the blind eye to collateral damage, the sterilization of war by the mass media. Makes you want to go pray for war obsessed America at the Salvation Army.


Category: American Culture, Military, War

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

Comments (5)

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  1. Thanks Erich. War on the underclass, that's what we have.

  2. Tony Mach says:

    You forgot Nixon's "War on cancer". I guess it was as successful as the "War on drugs"?

    How about next trying a "War on war"? 🙂

  3. Erika Price says:

    Remember this winter when people were concerned about the violence that abounds in political metaphors? That concern lasted what, half a week?

    Actually, I don't really oppose metaphorical language with violent undertones. Violent metaphors can serve as a powerful rhetorical tool, or add emphasis to a message- when used sparingly. But when we use metaphors of war and violence constantly, it numbs us both to their rhetorical function and their reality.

  4. Niklaus Pfirsig says:

    A couple of thoughts on the subject:

    Declaring Quixotic "wars" on disease, or perceived social issues has the overall effect of trivializing the meaning of war. This trivialization, along with the heavily sanitized media coverage has become a way to ease moral rationalization against actual boots-on-the-ground combat, which can be very profitable for corporate interests with military contracts.

    Second, declaring war on something used to imply that the declarer of war was committed to using all available resources to bring about a quick and decisive victory. This might be effective if you only declare one of these wars at a time, because many resources must be shared between multiple war efforts, thus negating the effectiveness of all the wars. Any student of history can tell you that fighting on too many fronts is tactical suicide.

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