Volume LII – Number 1

Tim Bynion

AbstractThe Afghanistan War was started in 2001 as a result of the September 11 attacks. The United States invaded Afghanistan with a mission to defeat al-Qaeda and the Taliban while implementing a democratic government in Afghanistan to increase regional stability. Seventeen years later, this mission has yet to be achieved, the Taliban still controls large swaths of Afghan territory, and the war shows no signs of ending. As the war progressed, American public support steadily declined from its initial near unanimous support in 2001 to a majority of Americans disapproving of the war today. At the same time, public discourse of the Afghanistan War has disappeared, with very few discussions on the war in both media and political debates. Conventional wisdom would suggest that unpopular wars would be met with public outrage, but this has not been the case with the Afghanistan War, which leads to the question of what has caused this disparity between public opinion and public discourse. This paper argues this disparity can best be explained through American nationalism, also known as American “national identity.” This concept has existed and evolved since the beginning of American history, and it has greatly influenced Americans’ ideas of how their country should behave on the world stage. However, the events of the Afghanistan War contradict several of the key ideas of American nationalism, which may help to explain why many Americans have chosen to avoid discussions on the topic altogether.

About the Author: Tim Bynion graduated with honors from Towson University in 2018 with a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science, focusing on international relations and U.S. foreign policy. He is currently working full-time and hopes to continue studying political science at the graduate level next year.

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