Carnage and Culture

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Jeanette Simram
IDS.300 War and Culture
Professor Blimes
October 11 2012
Fighting under a Democratic culture
Former US President George Washington stated, “If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.” President Washington believed that without the privilege of freedom of speech or expression, as a nation are vulnerable to captivity thus would be letting foreign countries the chance to govern because of the lack of credential leadership. Given the situation in which western military have somewhat a democratic form of government, citizens were entitled to speak their minds. When faced with an enemy of greater strength and smarter tactical strategies it gives westerners a better defensive standing because of the deliberating and inputs from a number of leaders. Raised as a child on the small tropical island of Pohnpei in the Pacific ocean, one of the primary lessons that my parents constantly reminded me of was the fact that there were rules and if I were to live under their roof or shelter, their rules had to be followed. Abiding by the island’s way of culture, whenever I violated a rule, my parents made sure that I knew what I did wrong. This would include being chased around with a belt or stick as a punishment. My siblings and I always felt like we had the freedom we needed, not what we wanted. Our freedom was limited. This is not as frightening as a military discipline but the same concept applies. If you do not follow and comply to what is commanded of you, you will be dealt with harshly, especially in military settings. Hanson argued that western culture portrays discipline as being predominately one of the purposes in which the battle at Poitier was won by western military. Yet on the other hand he also mentions that freedom is also why westerners are able to overpower their enemies because of the idea that they fight for their families and country willingly. Discipline and freedom are two completely opposite concepts and therefore cannot be intertwined. Dealing with western culture, I would consider Freedom or individualism to be more profound and beneficial military wise, and thus Hanson should have not mentioned discipline as being an essential trait for western victory. Hanson exemplifies each trait in different situations of which victory was obtained for western military. Hanson claims that during the war at Salamis, September 28, 480 B.C. freedom or democracy played a key role in triumphing over the massive Persian power and attaining victory for the west. Freedom in the book identifies one Greek as having freedom to speak, right to vote and possess and profit from the land. Hanson mentioned whenever a sailor from western culture is asked what freedom meant to him, this soldier will most likely give four chief explanations, “First, freedom to speak what he pleased”. Greeks had two words for freedom of speech; the right to speak in public settings without being underrated and speaking what was on their minds, “free men had free tongues” (51). The fact that the government did not have total control or power and that leadership was to be voted on by the citizens gave them a sense of peace. The meaning of freedom to Greek sailors gave them certainty that they had purpose for fighting under chosen power. Hanson mentioned, “Men fight better when they know what they have had the freedom to choose the occasion of their own death”() such as the 300 Spartans at Thermoplyae. If you think of it at the battle of Salamis, the Greeks were enormously outnumbered and weighing twenty times smaller than Persian troops however never retreated. Why is that you would think? Greeks or the Athenians felt the need and obligation to fight for what was rightfully theirs. This was the case with the battle of Salamis, Athenians had already lost their homeland so this battle was an effort not to save, but to reclaim, ancestral grounds. In most battles, western military...
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