“Never Too Late to Do the Right Thing”: Barack Obama, the Vietnam War's Legacy, and the Cultural Politics of Military Awards during the Afghanistan War

Title“Never Too Late to Do the Right Thing”: Barack Obama, the Vietnam War's Legacy, and the Cultural Politics of Military Awards during the Afghanistan War
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsKieran, David
JournalJournal of American Studies
Volume51
Issue2
Pagination513 - 1533
Date Published05/2017
Abstract

This article examines the cultural politics of military awards during the Obama administration. It examines the administration's posthumous recognition of three Vietnam veterans, arguing that the President has embraced a remembrance of the war that encourages Americans to celebrate veterans without regard for the illegal, controversial, or morally questionable activities in which they participated. This effort, I argue, helps build support for the United States' continuing expansion of war fighting in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, and elsewhere by encouraging Americans to adopt a similar perspective regarding current wars – one that celebrates military personnel while not questioning the policies that they pursue or the manner in which they do so. [Cambridge Core]

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