ABSTRACT

Recent advertisements for the US military state that the military is a ‘force for good.’ 1 A US Navy advertisement shows images of black and Asian servicemen and women, while suggesting that the Navy is a “calling” and that, as with a religious path, it is a “calling to serve” in order to do good. Another advertisement for the US Marines, entitled ‘Towards the Sounds of Chaos,’ shows images of soldiers moving trucks with boxes labeled ‘AID’ in planes and helicopters, taking supplies to Haiti and working in tsunamihit areas (Dao 2012). According to the New York Times, the ad campaign is ‘partly the result of a national online survey conducted by  JWT, the marketing fi rm, showing that many young adults consider “helping people in need, wherever they may live,” an important component of good citizenship’ (Dao 2012; see also Jelinek 2012). Such campaigns downplay the killing and the battles, or even the educational benefi ts of the military, and show the marines as bringing help in times of chaos. The opportunity to help others in times of disaster becomes a selling point for military recruitment. What seems evident is that in the US, humanitarianism has become a component of citizenship. This notion of citizenship is naturalized as Westerners-Americans, Europeans, and increasing numbers of individuals across the globe-feel compelled to rescue these others and see themselves as being able to enact this rescue (Adams 2013).