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The Militarization of Culture: A Short History


The Militarization of Culture: A Short History

Tom Valovic

Are you interested in patterning your dietary and culinary habits after the chefs that serve CIA officers and staff? I’m guessing probably not. But the well-known and well-advertised education purveyor Great Courses seems to think so. You’ve probably seen their ads in major news magazines. The company sells and promotes a self-help smorgasbord of books and DVDs on a wide range of topics ranging from Western philosophy to Tai Chi to neuroscience.


Culinary Institute of America


Ther is some kind of fitness coaching business in my area called “Field Strip Fitness”. Of course “field strip” is what a solder needs to be able to do to his gun so it is ready for battle…


The bleeding of Military Technology into civilian life has been a necessary occurrence through history, as so many gadgets are developed first for defense.

But brow beating civilians into understanding violent culture and accepting it as the necessary norm is a poison. And that is what has been ongoing since the munition manufacturers ran out of things to when we won world war II.

The biggest victims of the promotion of violence are the absence of patience to reason and to think things through.


Death Enforcement Agency


There really is a Culinary Institute of America which is always referred to as the CIA on cooking shows.


Long before he became 35th, war veteran JFK wrote:“Wars will continue until that distant day when the conscientious objector is given the same respect that warrior receives today”. Founder of the Peace Corps, he also wished to tear the CIA into a thousand pieces etc. guess who killed him?


Too many enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought. I wish I had said that…


Many thanks for this insightful essay as coalesced much of my thinking.

Though was taken aback by this “…there’s a distinct difference between patriotism and nationalism. Whereas patriotism is associated with civic duty, love of country and honor, nationalism is patriotism’s dark side. We’ve seen some of it rear its ugly head in the current post-election environment. Nationalism and military values are closely linked, even though the confusing these two with true patriotism is a common mistake.” Will explain…

Have had an inherent dislike for patriotism/ nationalism since was young especially now as am so aware of the blood on every flag whether that be the Stars and Stripes or my own country’s Union Jack or whichever. Yet this essay and your explaining the distinction above has given me pause for thought.

Also do have a monumental loathing for ALL [that is globally!] Clandestine Agencies who consistently foment the need for their ongoing “services” through their “games of deceit and death”. In this they have been/ are a major part of the present global problems through this monotonousness perpetuating via subtle and not so subtle orchestration of this circle of violence. Of course, do realise that, for the moment, that they are needed yet as you say transparency and unfettered oversight is needed.

In closing regret that am still too much aware of that blood on ALL the flags throughout the World. My belief is that each and every person through each and every nation/ people group/ et al need to personally stand in the gap in repentance for that blood throughout the life of their group on behalf of themselves and throughout time every person of that group!

Thanks again Tom.

Regards Ian (Brighton, Sussex, United Kingdom)

P.S.: It was the “NOT my president”'s and his crew’s tenure that caused me to wake up. Was terrified that his “style” would “encourage” the rest of the World to follow suit. Of course now, the Conservatives here seems to be that my country is on similar paths. Am saying that even though have been reading Common Dreams for some while this was first time that have been moved to respond.


The apparent reality we live in in this world seems to be a learning school. Those who matter to the Creator, that is those who at last have attained a conscience, are plagued by a constant reaping of what they sow. This eventually leads an individual to becoming an advocate of compromise and preferring peace. But in the grand scheme of things here such people will always be a minority. Yet they are the graduates, the ones who consider the lives of others in their decisions, the ones who are no longer enamored by the “things” this world has to offer, and who’s philosophy we all, perhaps after many lifetimes will also follow.


Cocaine Importing Agency.

Mr. Valovic’s article is excellent. Yes, there is a difference between patriotism and nationalism, and what we have today in the US is the latter parading as the former.

As Sam Clemens said, patriotism means supporting your country all of the time, and supporting its government only when it deserves it.

Todays US government deserves only condemnation in virtually all areas. We are an oligarchy, not a democracy.


Tom Brokaw wrote a book about naming the parents of the boomer generation as “the greatest generation”. This was the generation whose lives were shaped by the great depression of the 1930’s but more importantly by WWII. Most served in that war. It was a hard war for many but a great life-shaping experience for most that they experienced and then re-experienced in books, on television and in movies throughout the rest of their lives. For the most part, they believed in the military as a positive force, a good thing that had made them what they had become.

That generation is nearly gone now and with the less positive experiences of more recent wars we should expect this mania for military solutions to have faded. But at least among our large and powerful corporations and therefore among our political leadership, the glorification of military and war still seems strong. Among the general population, much less so.

This seems like one more example of how the people of the country have surrendered their power to shape the nation. Democracy has faded and regaining it is one of the great challenges we face.


Have you ever noticed that the only metaphor we have in our public discourse for solving problems is to declare war on it? We have the war on crime, the war on cancer, the war on drugs. But did you ever notice that we have no war on homelessness? You know why? Because there’s no money in that problem. No money to be made off of the homeless. If you can find a solution to homelessness where the corporations and politicians can make a few million dollars each, you will see the streets of America begin to clear up pretty damn quick!
—George Carlin



Couple hundred years ago from Voltaire:

“It is forbidden to kill; therefore all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets.”


Of course! The ad was referring to the Culinary Institute!

The author’s mistake doesn’t change the point of his article, however. I myself recall the overt militarization of the culture, especially the pop culture, as beginning with the start of the Reagan years, with blockbuster films like Top Gun and an overt appeal in advertiising, say, TV car ads, to military culture. This was followed by an exponential increase in “cop shows” on TV, which then bled into cop-related “reality shows.”

It’s possible the only institution that can break this hold is the military itself, especially the rank-and-file, who have no personal interest in perpetual war.


I also agreed with the import of the article. Some weeks back I wrote about how we were becoming the Neo-Prussian militarized state as Trump appointed his many generals while we accepted the enhanced militarized version of our culture and acceded to oversight of our military by non civilians! It looked to me that it was very much like the Prussians as we lauded everything military (dueling scars excepted) including having a military officer in the role of Sec of Defence (traditionally held by civilians).


Wereflea is right. A simple google search shows that these courses are taught by Bill Briwa of the Culinary Institute. Not sure why the author would have flubbed this bad. Not much of a history, either. Maybe read Chris Hedges’ War is a force that gives us meaning. But yeah, even cell phone cases are advertised as being made from “military grade” polymers.


E Howard Hunt and a couple of his buddies, under orders from LBJ. Not sure how anyone could miss this.


You do need to read James Douglass’ “JFK & The Unspeakable” and Talbots “Devil’s Chessboard”. The whole MIC hated JFK because his pacifist views were a direct threat to their Arison d’être. You have to consider motive and means to control the entire narrative, the complex cover story for the Patsy, Oswald, the stand Dow of the Secret Service, the gathering of all evidence, the setting up of the Warren Commission with Allen Dulles in charge, the propaganda war ever since, the silencing by murder and/or ridicule any who dare question the “official version” of events. The brazen way they got away with this blatant Coup d’Etat gave them carte Blanche to murder MLK and RFK. So, actually, you are probably right, but you only have a tiny piece of the jigsaw. But don’t take my word for it.


Much better “short history” than the OP article, with its foolish failure to disambiguate between CIAs. I hope maybe someone on CD staff will notice and get it replaced.