The United States has been at war for almost a quarter of its roughly 230-year history, waging war during one out of every five years of its existence. Is our country addicted to violence?
In the controversial book Addict Nation-An Intervention for America (HCI Books, 2011), best selling author and HLN TV Host Jane Velez-Mitchell says, “Americans have become war junkies!” She believes the U.S.A. has collectively become obsessed with war and that it is no longer an aberration, but something Americans have come to expect.
Recovery experts define addiction as an overpowering craving to indulge in a behavior, followed by an uncontrollable binge, subsequent remorse, and a return to craving which encourages the pattern to repeat. Our nation’s war cycles fit these criteria according to recovering alcoholic and author Jane Velez-Mitchell. She writes, “We justified the Vietnam War with the rationalization of the domino theory, binged on war, felt a tremendous regret, created the anti-war movement, and then – over a few decades – forgot every lesson we learned. It’s the same pattern of the drunk who gets arrested, feels sorry, vows to stay sober, and then goes out and gets drunk all over again. Addiction is a disease of amnesia.”
Velez-Mitchell says the media, government, and private sector are also culturally hooked on these destructive customs and therefore justify, romanticize, and promote them–in essence, becoming “pushers” for war. For the military, the industries that profit from war and the politicians who are influenced to support war, the stakes are higher than ever. War has become more expensive and more and more profitable than ever before.
According to the New York Times, if you look at it in terms of cost per soldier, Iraq/Afghanistan takes the prize as the most expensive conflict ever – even when adjusted for inflation. It cost about 132-thousand dollars to house, clothes, equip, transport and engage a soldier in Vietnam for a year. It costs more than 1 million dollars a year to keep a soldier fighting in Afghanistan.
In Addict Nation she writes, “Our nation’s addiction to war could – one day – get us all killed. All addiction is progressive. So, it stands to reason that our current addiction to war – if allowed to spiral – will invariably lead us into some kind of cataclysmic conflict that could literally wipe millions of people off the face of the earth in a matter of moments.“ Now, as we become more involved with international conflicts, the question begs: what will “hitting bottom,” the lowest point in an addict’s life, look like for the United States?
Addict Nation is available in stores and online. More information about the author is at http://addictnation.org.