Winning Souls and Minds: The Military's Religion Problem and the Global War on Terror

Journal of Military Ethics 7 (2):85-101 (2008)
Abstract
Like many secular institutions in the West, the military often has overlooked the role religion plays in political life and conflict. The United States and its military increasingly are enmeshed in religiously charged struggles associated with the global ?war on terror? that require a more complex understanding of religion than traditional military education and training affords. A different approach, therefore, is needed given the high stakes and perils of not comprehending how religion is part of the problem in the wars waged by today's servicemen and women. Recently, some military voices have offered proposals to redress the deficit in religious knowledge and understanding. This article echoes those calls and goes further to argue that efforts to increase ?religious situational awareness,? though essential, depend upon a deeper educational foundation and broad-based study of religion. Several illustrations, offered from a U.S. perspective, show how the study of religion enhances knowledge about military life, culture, and outlook as they bear upon contemporary global conflict
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