Wednesday, October 26, 2005

A Different Time: A Different Culture 

Two entries from the web site, Metafilter, unintentionally highlighted a change in attitude over the last century toward war. The entries are worth examining. The first announced the death of the last Australian soldier to have fought in World War I. The entry noted that Australia lost 60,000 dead and had 200,000 casualties out of a population of about 5 million. Most of the dead and casualties came from idiotic military decisions. The second story announced the 2000th death from the Iraq conflict . That comes from a country with well in excess of 200 million people. If you saw the newspaper headlines in the US, the 2000 number was banner front in nearly every one. Two thousand deaths are considered a horrendous toll. In 1918, it was a pittance.

We've learned a lot about war and its evils in the last 100 years. These two stories spotlight the changed understanding of the American public. We know better now the dimensions of the loss of life. Men are no longer cannon fodder.

From a public relations perspective, the change has been dramatic. It doesn't take much to dig up propaganda posters from World War I and World War II, for that matter, where fighting the enemy and dying for a cause was portrayed as a noble thing for a young person to do. That culture still exists in the US, but it is muted and getting fainter.

It's worth remembering that deeply rooted beliefs can shift over time, but one has to work tirelessly at making it happen.


Post a Comment

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?