America’s Culture of Killing: It Doesn’t Begin at Home – 30 min podcast

Why should I listen to this podcast?

What if the problem of violence in America is not just the availability of guns, but a strain in US culture that accepts violence and even homicide as a “legitimate” way of solving problems?

According to philosopher, cultural critic and author Laurie Calhoun, Americans seem to consider violence an acceptable form of persuasion.

In this podcast with WhoWhatWhy’s Jeff Schechtman, Calhoun questions some basic assumptions of US foreign policy. When our leaders say “all options are on the table,” with an emphasis on the use of force as a “last resort,” are we really just setting up an excuse for our inability to persuade others see our point of view?

And is it just one more step then, to using killing as a means of avenging even legitimate grievances?

In articulating her long-held views on drone warfare and targeted killing, Calhoun compares the way we’ve been using drones, even in the Obama administration, to the way terrorists used planes on 9/11.

Listening to her make her case for diplomacy instead of killings, we’re reminded of President Donald Trump’s admonition to Secretary of State Tillerson regarding North Korea last week, that he was “wasting his time talking.”

In the end, Calhoun believes there might be a silver lining to what will surely be the excessive use of force by the Trump administration: it could turn the US into a rogue state, creating enough political pressure to make American citizens wake up and take notice. This is a must-listen if you are troubled by recent events and what they reveal about our culture of violence.

Laurie Calhoun is the author of We Kill Because We Can: From Soldiering to Assassination in the Drone Age. (Zed Books, October, 2016)

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