The Puritan Culture of America's Military: U.S. Army War Crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Puritan Culture of America's Military

U.S. Army War Crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan, 1st Edition

By Ronald Lorenzo


236 pages

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pub: 2016-11-25
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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.


’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

About the Author

Ronald Lorenzo teaches sociology at Blinn College, USA.

About the Series

Classical and Contemporary Social Theory

Classical and Contemporary Social Theory
Classical and Contemporary Social Theory publishes rigorous scholarly work that re-discovers the relevance of social theory for contemporary times, demonstrating the enduring importance of theory for modern social issues. The series covers social theory in a broad sense, inviting contributions on both 'classical' and modern theory, thus encompassing sociology, without being confined to a single discipline. As such, work from across the social sciences is welcome, provided that volumes address the social context of particular issues, subjects, or figures and offer new understandings of social reality and the contribution of a theorist or school to our understanding of it. The series considers significant new appraisals of established thinkers or schools, comparative works or contributions that discuss a particular social issue or phenomenon in relation to the work of specific theorists or theoretical approaches. Contributions are welcome that assess broad strands of thought within certain schools or across the work of a number of thinkers, but always with an eye toward contributing to contemporary understandings of social issues and contexts.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / General