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Militarism Against The Vietnam War

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Songs often reflect or critique the ideologies of their time period. However, the songs are not bound to the specific time period in which they are created because the ideologies they reflect or critique are also not bound to a specific context. These residual ideologies are created in the past, but still acting “as an effective element of the present” (Williams). The song “Masters of War” is a song that falls into this category; in 1963, the song “Masters of War” was written by Bob Dylan as a response to the antiwar movement against the Vietnam War, and in 2004, Pearl Jam applied the antiwar sentiment of the song to the context of the war on terrorism. In both time periods, the dominant ideology of militarism that prioritized the role of…show more content…
The terror attacks on September 11, 2001, introduced a new form of enemy and in response, the government invoked the residual ideology of militarism to combat this enemy instead of turning to an emergent ideology, or a new, creative way of facing this new enemy. The Bush administration declared the war on terrorism and in solidarity with those affected by the terror attacks, the public supported the government’s actions (Foner). However, the enemy of this war was loosely defined as those who “hate freedom” and the board definition included all “terrorist groups around the world” that poses a threat to the Western world and the freedom it represents (Foner). The first act of war under the war on terrorism was when the Taliban, the terrorist group responsible for the tragedy on September 11, refused to give up its leader Osama bin Laden and the United States responded with air strikes (Foner). To the public, this military action against Afghanistan and the Taliban seemed justified because the Taliban was the group responsible for the terror attacks. However, with the enemy so ambiguously defined and without a clear agenda, the government was able to take free rein of the direction of the war and possible self-interest came into play. The government identified the “axis of evil” as Iraq, Iran, and North Korea, and claimed that these three countries harbored weapons of mass destruction, or nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons, and planned to use these weapons on the United States; this claim was not supported by evidence (Foner). As the United States went to war with Iraq under this unjustified accusation, dissent rose around the world and many suspected that the true intention was to fight for control over the world’s second-largest oil reserves in Iraq (Foner). These antiwar protests around the world set the context for Pearl Jam’s 2004 cover of “Masters of War” on David
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