Field Notes 11/12/17: The Obscurity of 21st Century War

My high-school experience was shaped by 9/11, and I enlisted in the Marine Corps shortly after the towers fell. It wasn’t until after I returned from deployment to Iraq and entering college that I began to think more about what this war meant and how it has fundamentally changed American society. But for my [high school] students, this was a war that had existed for almost their entire lives: In fact, from the moment many of them were born, the U.S. has been engaged in conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan.

What does this mean? America’s youth aren’t apathetic—rather, they’ve grown up during a war obscured by modern American culture. If one doesn’t care to look at the war, then he doesn’t have to. It’s easy to change the channel, skip over a Facebook post, or ignore a tweet. A person can support the troops without having to look at or contemplate the associated violence. It’s not indifference per se, but instead lack of context. 

Bonin, Tyler. The Atlantic. The Challenges of Teaching War to Today’s Students.*

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