1st Edition

The Puritan Culture of America's Military U.S. Army War Crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan

By Ronald Lorenzo Copyright 2014
    240 Pages
    by Routledge

    236 Pages
    by Routledge

    This book explores Puritanism and its continuing influence on U.S. and military law in the Global War on Terror, exploring connections between Puritanism and notions of responsibility in relation to military crimes, superstitious practices within the military, and urges for revenge. Engaging with the work of figures such as Durkheim, Fauconnet and Weber, it draws on primary data gathered through participation and observation at the U.S. Army courts-martial following events at Abu Ghraib, Operation Iron Triangle, the Baghdad canal killings and a war crimes case in Afghanistan, to show how Puritan cultural habits color and shape both American military actions and the ways in which these actions are perceived by the American public. A theoretically sophisticated examination of the cultural tendencies that shape military conduct and justice in the context of a contemporary global conflict, The Puritan Culture of America’s Military will appeal to scholars across the social sciences with interests in social theory and sociology, cultural studies, politics and international relations and military studies.

    An Excerpt from The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism; Chapter 1 Introduction; Chapter 1a “A Prayer Against Our Enemies”; Chapter 2 An Overview of American Military Justice; Chapter 2a Excerpts from The Swedish Articles of War; Chapter 3 Puritan Military Justice; Chapter 3a Excerpts from One Letter and Two Speeches; Chapter 4 Puritanism and Responsibility; Chapter 4a Two Stories of Hunting Witches; Chapter 5 Puritanism and Revenge; Chapter 5a An Excerpt on Military Superstitions of World War II; Chapter 6 Puritanism and Superstition; Chapter 6a An Excerpt from Sam Vaknin’s Malignant Self Love; Chapter 7 Puritanism and Narcissism; Chapter 7a A Definition from The Devil’s Dictionary by Ambrose Bierce; Chapter 8 Conclusion and Discussion;


    Ronald Lorenzo teaches sociology at Blinn College, USA.

    ’Ronald Lorenzo has written a stimulating and innovative study of the ideological roots of war crimes and their punishment in the contemporary U.S. military. Readers will be rewarded by a deeper understanding of a complex and difficult issue.’ James J. Weingartner, Professor Emeritus, Southern Illinois University, USA ’Ronald Lorenzo offers the reader an interesting empirical study of the irrationalities of the supposedly rational U.S. Army courts-martial. It is well-informed by a variety of sociological theories and it offers a range of suggestions to reform the system. The timely examples from Iraq and Afghanistan are analyzed from timeless theoretical perspectives.’ George Ritzer, University of Maryland, USA ’... The book examines four sets of war crimes: Abu Ghraib, Operation Iron Triangle, the Baghdad canal killings, and a set of killings in Afghanistan. Lorenzo effectively shows that the US military legal system, emphasizing discipline over justice, operates as a McDonaldized rationalization machine ... A thoughtful, well-referenced addition to social theory, crime and deviance, and military sociology collections. Highly recommended.’ Choice