Ohio is known as the birthplace of aviation. Starting from the Wright brothers onward, Ohio boasts an Air Force Base and the National Museum of the United States Air Force. Inside the museum, patrons can trace the history of the USAAF from World War I all the way through to the Office of Special Investigations (OSI) and the department’s work combating terrorism.
To be blunt, nothing makes me more cynical than military operations. To be even more blunt, every war is a mistake.
I know the counterarguments. I know critics of peace constantly reference World War II, Hitler and the failed appeasement policies. I have veterans in my family and I do not seek to speak against those who serve in the military. I mean to speak against the military establishment and museums which glorify warfare.
When I say every war is a mistake I mean just that. Every war amounts to a mistake in diplomacy, a mistake in peace negotiations and ultimately a mistake which leads to the decision that killing one another is the option available.
America is not the only country which glorifies its military history, as militarism and nationalism are so closely linked, yet America does glorify its military involvement. Establishments like the National Air Force Museum encourage and increase the jingoistic, violent and masculine culture which says warfare is necessary. It says warfare is necessary and we need to admire the military operations of our past.
When air force members use language such as ‘scoring’ a kill, or pilots who shoot down five enemy aircraft are labelled ‘aces’ we are no longer talking about national defense. We are talking about a culture which accepts and reveres violence.
Ironically, Ohio also holds the International Peace Museum.
The museum was founded after the Bosnian Civil War (1992-5) and the Dayton Peace Accords–signed in Dayton, Ohio. As the museum states:
Though a small part of the Museum is to be a witness to war and violence, the focus is on nonviolent solutions that can be used in the present and future to create peace.
Institutions like the Peace Museum recognize that we cannot ignore the violence of our past, but understands that violence does not need to be a part of our future, nor should we glorify war.
Peace takes more work than war. I do not claim to have a solution to achieve peace, but with more institutions fostering equality, love and unity the closer we can be to living in a culture where every war is treated as a mistake and wars are no longer valuable.