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American Society is a Society of Denial - Essay Example

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American Society is a Society of Denial

The troops too have been conditioned on the power of silence, and so they have no one to share their stories to. Apparently, the civilians have learnt to shut out the war veterans, literary, as they attempt to share their experiences and tribulations at war. Who then, can dispute that the United States is indeed a society in denial
In his 1994 publication titled, "Achilles in Vietnam: combat trauma and the undoing of character", Jonathan Shay (1994) describes, through the testimonies of veterans in Vietnam, how the war commanders would habitually attempt to eradicate normal compassion feelings and perception that were elicited by troops from the United States who were in this war. During times of war, military necessity, along with political propaganda acts as a yardstick of not just what the troops are able to perceive, but also the manners in which they are able to do so. According to Shay (1994), military superiors that were charged with the responsibility of handling both trauma and crime had a habit of telling their troops that these two occurrence never happened in the first place, and that the troops did not also experience them (Shay 1994).
With such a mindset therefore, little wonder then, that when they were being interviewed by news reporters, the troops would not hesitate to point out that that trauma never occurred, and if it did, they somewhat expected it. Shay recounts how he recorded the testimony of one former troop in Vietnam, and how he recounted the ordeals back then with a taste of anger and bitterness. Apparently, his superiors were trying to alter the veteran's perception as regards the collective murder that he had not only contributed to, but also saw the dead bodies when daylight came. The comforting words of his superior were that he need not worry about the ordeal, and that his superiors would handle it. The superiors would then go ahead and commend the officers for what they called 'a job well done'. Ultimately, the trend found its way into the United States after the war was over (Bacevich 2005). Those soldiers that make it back home often get medals of Honor, albeit with a condition; that they maintain silence as regards the pathos, realities, as well as the bizarre ills of war. To the war veterans, obstinate ignorance of the members of the public becomes a basis for pain.
Through his short story titled Soldier's Home, Ernest Hemingway sheds light on how reluctant the civilians were to attend to the intuitive requirements of the troops who were returning back to the United States upon the end of the First World War. This book by Hemingway was published in 1925, and it therefore coincides with the end of the war. The story talks about Kerbs, a young soldier from Oklahoma. Upon return, he is not keen to disclose war issues. With time however, the urge to address war matter builds up. He thus desires to share these issues with his family, friends, as well as neighbors. However, Hemingway observes that "Nobody wanted to hear about it" (Rockwell 2008).
Apparently, the young man's town had no wish to learn about war atrocities. Krebs finally discovered that if the town people were to listen to his stories, then he hand no choice but to lie about the war. Apparently the capability of this young man to absorb into the way of life of the civilians hinged upon how keen he has to put ...Show more

Summary

The American society has learnt to perfect the defense mechanism that is denial, especially with regard to the experiences of war. From the First World War, then the second, followed by the Vietnam War and lately, the war in Iraq, we have always dispatched our soldiers to all these wars…
Author : manueladoyle
American Society is a Society of Denial essay example
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