Metaphors that Justify War

Kevin Steiner

Truth Uncloaked

Do you think we had all the information that was at the President\'s disposal
when he made the decision to deploy our troops in the Gulf? Do you think
having that information might have made you feel more comfortable about our
involvement? Should our government decide what we get to know and what we
don\'t? By in large, we hear exactly what our government wants us to hear.
Knowing this, at no other time paralleled in history, we want the truth; we
thirst for it like those traveling through the desert without water and we are
tired of being manipulated and deceived by those we elect to serve our interests.
However, more often than not, we settle for what is given to us. Our truth is
wrapped by the media and promoted as gospel without hesitation or moral
reservation. Our acceptance of and reliance upon the media for sensitive,
truthful, information brings a sense of security and knowledge of world affairs
that satisfies our internal push for social involvement (even if it is at the
point of acknowledgment only). We are happy with the knowledge because there is
no discernible contradictions and seldom question its relevancy, focus or
content. Then later, a contradictory report erupts in the media and we begin to
question even what we see. The short footage shown by the media concerning the
beating of Rodney King was out of context. Who is responsible for the
disparity? The media. They decide what we hear and see. They manipulate to
dramatize for the dollar. Gossip, murder, rape, political espionage, treason,
drug deals, incest, wife battering, muggings, immoral behavior of all sizes
shapes and volumes seem to appeal to human interest and the Networks use it to
build their ratings while claiming they proclaim truth for all (double effect).
These people and their focus gave us the Gulf War everyday, around the clock.
Would it be surprising to know that the media not only reports the news they
help facilitate public approval that could justify a war through the use of
metaphors alone? The use of metaphors in war and everyday life is common and an
important method employed to eventually arrive at a position of approval for
military action. Before the use of metaphors is discussed it is necessary to
understand specific conditions in which any war is justified.

Conditions Necessary to Justify a War

Two specific conditions are necessary to justify war. First, direct
aggression against the United States, our allies, or those who are unable to
protect themselves against direct aggression. Second, indirect aggression
against the U.S.. During both conditions the moral correctness, realistic
threat and potential harm would be assessed to determine an appropriate response.
After a decision has been made from those premises, war could morally be
justified and action should be taken. However, indirect aggression is the most
difficult premise to evaluate. Its relevancy to our nation and allies is
difficult to determine succinctly. In order to understand how we would deal
with such a condition to engage in a war built on this premise one must
understand U.S. ideology.
Current U. S. ideology insists that direct aggression be met with self
defense. Under this condition, the main concerns are the safety of its citizens,
the freedom to exercise their rights and proportional intervention against the
aggressor to ensure such safety and freedom. An example of U. S. policy for
this situation occurred on December 7, 1941. The United States declared war on
Japan in self defense. U.S. response was considered necessary and imminent.
Indirect aggression on the other hand, it is not so easy to establish a just war.
Every war fought after W.W. II rested on the U.S. response to indirect
aggression. Capitalism and democracy is directly opposed to dictatorship and
communism. The fear of such tyrannical rule made most Americans shudder. Any
possibility of communistic rule or influence was perceived as a direct threat
and destroyed, if by no other reason, by fear.. The thought established in the
1950\' sheds a great amount of light on U.S. policy as it relates to communism.
The cold war was a reality. Commercials were made over the radio about the need
for bomb shelters and the possible attack that would be launched from Russia.
People fear anything that is unfamiliar. Communism was heralded as a terrible
disease that would spread like the plague and American policy was a direct
reflection of that fear. Any opportunity to defeat communism or to prevent it\'s
capture of other nations was considered a just