Waging peace: transformations of the warrior myth by US military veterans

Robert L. Ivie, Oscar Giner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

The mythic authority of the warrior, ancient and contemporary, is examined as a rhetorical formation of US war culture subject to transformation in the discourse of military veterans advocating for peace. The incongruity of veteran soldiers opposed to militarism is a point of cultural tension that reveals a resource for altering the language of war from within. The dissenting voices of Veterans for Peace and Iraq Veterans Against the War articulate a composite theme further developed by veteran Paul Chappell into a guiding image of waging peace. Located in its larger mythic context, the prophetic voice of the dissenting veteran redirects attention to the evil of war (its essence of destruction and death), distorted images of so-called enemies (recognizing innocent victims of warfare), a history of militarism, racism, and structural injustice (looking inward instead of projecting outward), and nonviolent advocacy, democratic decision-making, and diplomacy (reconciling rather than suppressing differences). The transformative trope of ‘waging peace’ prompts a paradigm shift that converts the military idiom and channels the warrior ethos into a vehicle of positive peacemaking. It serves as a cultural innovation that prefigures the possibility of change, a partial transcendence (in Kenneth Burke’s formulation) with a contemplative effect.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Multicultural Discourses
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - May 14 2016

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Keywords

  • transformation
  • veterans for peace
  • waging peace
  • war culture
  • Warrior myth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Communication

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