Enough Toxic Militarism

Nikhil Pal Singh
Content Type
Policy Brief
Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft
I teach college students at New York University’s campus on Washington Square in Manhattan and in its prison program in upstate New York. My students have never lived in a time when the United States was not at war. Growing up after the Vietnam War, when the United States had converted to an all-volunteer military, the great majority of my N.Y.U. students have not served in uniform, although the military is more likely to be a stop on the itinerary, or part of family experience, for those who end up in prison. For most of them, the wars in which U.S. soldiers and support personnel have been engaged on three continents for the past two decades retain a hazy, distant, and amorphous character; this perception is also typical now among civilian noncombatants. That the consequences of war-fighting remain seemingly remote ironically reinforces war as a natural and unchanging backdrop to social life in the United States today. We are overdue for a major cost accounting and reappraisal of these permanent wars.
Foreign Policy, Military Strategy, Military Affairs, Domestic politics, Military Intervention
Political Geography
United States