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Many See War as a Struggle for American identity

The war in Iraq is the center of conversation across America these days, and many struggle to understand the meaning of current events. Joshua Halberstam comments.

The war in Iraq is the center of conversation across America these days, and many struggle to understand the meaning of current events. Most people hope for a swift end to the war with minimal American and Iraqui casualties. Presidential approval is up, and citizens and Congress alike voice support for the troops. Yet many people are confused and feel conflicting emotions about America's place in the world. Some scholars see this war as being about American values and how those values are represented to the world. Some Americans worry about the country losing respect in the international community, and struggle to see their nation in the role of aggressor.

"Americans believe they should be decent," said Joshua Halberstam, philosophy professor at Teachers College, "It's a basic tenet of our creed and way of life." Americans are "either proving that we're decent or proving that we're not. And that's part of everybody's conversation. That's why the stakes are so high for us. This war is about who we are, about our self-definition."

The article, entitled "For many, war defies easy understanding" appeared in the March 23rd edition of the Philadelphia Inquirer .

Published Thursday, Mar. 27, 2003

Many See War as a Struggle for American identity

The war in Iraq is the center of conversation across America these days, and many struggle to understand the meaning of current events. Most people hope for a swift end to the war with minimal American and Iraqui casualties. Presidential approval is up, and citizens and Congress alike voice support for the troops. Yet many people are confused and feel conflicting emotions about America's place in the world. Some scholars see this war as being about American values and how those values are represented to the world. Some Americans worry about the country losing respect in the international community, and struggle to see their nation in the role of aggressor.

"Americans believe they should be decent," said Joshua Halberstam, philosophy professor at Teachers College, "It's a basic tenet of our creed and way of life." Americans are "either proving that we're decent or proving that we're not. And that's part of everybody's conversation. That's why the stakes are so high for us. This war is about who we are, about our self-definition."

The article, entitled "For many, war defies easy understanding" appeared in the March 23rd edition of the Philadelphia Inquirer .

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