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Are We Too Casual About War?

Dateline: 04/09/99

It's simply amazing. I turned on the TV a couple of days ago to discover that the United States Military is once again engaged in armed conflict - this time in Kosovo, which is a province of Serbia and Montenegro in Europe. What I find most disturbing is that nobody seems either upset or exited about this. While we're actively bombing another country, Oprah, Days of Our Lives, and People's Court are still being shown uninterrupted in their regular time slots. It's almost as if sending our young men and women off to fight has become a familiar event -- kind of like sending your kids off to college, or even to the corner grocery store.

I guess I shouldn't be so surprised. In the past 7 years, President Clinton has deployed our military to combat situations no less than 33 times. Although most of those deployments were to the Persian Gulf in reaction to provocation by Saddam Hussien, we've also deployed to Bosnia, Haiti, Cuba, South Africa, South America, and some places I can't even find on the map. Most of these "combat deployments" went largely unnoticed by the average American civilian. When I mentioned this phenomenon to a fellow traveler I met in a bar last week, his response was, "Well, I guess that's what we pay those service guys for."

U.S. Air Force Photo
When did we shift from a battle-scarred, Vietnam-War-burn-out society to a nation which seems almost casual about engaging in armed conflict?
Did the seemingly effortless Granada invasion and Gulf War success change our national consciousness to believe that use of our military might is a viable and honorable way to impose our national will on others? Does our possession of amazing military technology such as the Cruise Missile, B-2 Stealth Bomber, and F-117a Stealth Fighter simply make it too easy to fight a war without risk of significant casualties to ourselves? Or, is the World simply a more dangerous place than it was 10 years ago, requiring armed intervention as a matter of routine response?

I'm not sure if we're "over-using" our military capability or not. I do wish, however, that TV would treat armed U.S. military intervention as just a wee bit more important than re-runs of the X-Files.

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