A Cowering Country

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Silver Screen Collection / Getty Images

John Wayne in the 1968 film "The Green Berets."

Here at Battleland, we continue to believe one of the most insidious impacts of 9/11 was to put the nation into a perpetual defensive crouch that American heroes ranging from Davy Crockett to Sergeant Alvin York to John Wayne wouldn’t recognize as their nation.

In Sunday’s Washington Post, we read Peter Munson trace pretty much that same arc in a column questioning what has happened to this nation. We interviewed Munson, an active-duty Marine major, last month about his new book War, Welfare & Democracy: Rethinking America’s Quest for the End of History.

In Sunday’s column, he says:

After the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the United States sent its military off to war and fretted about post-traumatic stress disorder — but paid little attention to the fact that America itself was traumatized. Americans became angry and withdrawn. We are fearful and paranoid because after a strike on our nation we chose to focus on defense rather than the resilience and vitality that made America great…In our increasingly paranoiac discourse, we too have lost focus on the positive, creative tasks that continuously remake American power, resilience and vitality. We cannot agree to invest in education for our children or in infrastructure for our commerce, to rationalize the regulations that underpin our markets or to act collectively to create value. Instead, we hunker in a defensive crouch.

Full thing here.

Not sure to what degree Munson’s common-sense assessment is at all related to the fact that he is soon to leave the Marines after 16-plus years of service.

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My first reaction to this article is, "How can anyone include John Wayne in the same category as Davy Crockett and Alvin York?" John Wayne was just as actor. He was even booed out of a hospital full of wounded Marines and Soldiers once.

As to the article's point, I agree. We are far too terrified as a country. I wrote this recently, along the same lines:

Chris Hernandez


"fretted about post-traumatic stress disorder"  and so the suggestion is that we shouldn't be concerned about it?  I have to believe Munson is aware of the statistics.   And who is this "we" Munson keeps referring to?  I'm glad to hear he is focused on a positive future but I'm not so sure that applies to "we".  Many of us never lost a vision of a positive future.  The Bush wars and depression side tracked us for a bit but we seem to slowing getting back on track.


Osama Bin Laden: "We are continuing this policy in bleeding America to the point of bankruptcy. Allah willing, and nothing is too great for Allah." 

And that happened because the US was aggressive to the point of absurdity against various sovereign nations, not because the nation went into a perpetual defensive crouch.

As for Major Munson's "America itself was traumatized. Americans became angry and withdrawn," that's a new low in pop psychology of 300 million people. Wow.


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