Military troops walk in structured lines with firearms in hand. (HS Insider)


Opinion: The white savior complex prevalent in the U.S. military

The U.S. military is infamous for violently invading other countries and taking thousands of innocent lives, which is often justified as a heroic act of saving those in need.
<a href="" target="_self">Zara Haroon</a>

Zara Haroon

October 10, 2022

The United States military is well known for its (violent) interference in the governing of other countries, including but not limited to Iraq, Afghanistan and Vietnam. These countries all share a commonality: none are European, white majority countries. The U.S. military seems to have an obsession with invading and pillaging countries and then acting as if they saved them. On the other hand, if the people who live in the country push them out, they turn it around and act like these people are so utterly ungrateful for refusing their generous help. How dare these uncivilized, heathen beasts reject the white man in all his glory. 

The war in Afghanistan is an appropriate example. Policies are never perfect in any country, but that does not give the U.S. the right to storm in to enact their own ideas of what the country should look like. George W. Bush claimed that it was “a war on terrorism” but then surely the U.S. should have withdrawn after May 2, 2011, when Osama Bin Laden was killed. So why did it take another ten years before the government decided to finally withdraw? Could it be that the war was no longer about terrorism or that maybe those in charge had been on an enormous power trip those last ten years?

In 2001 Laura Bush made a statement saying that this war was not only on terrorism but also about saving the women of Afghanistan. For years, Afghan women were used as pawns to continue the irrational occupation. However, if the U.S. really cared about the lives of Afghan children and women then the air strike which killed 47 Afghan civilians, 39 of which were women and children, would not have happened. If the U.S. really cared about Afghan women and children, so many would not have died in drone strikes that were ultimately fruitless.

The invasion of Iraq is again an excellent example of U.S. imperialism. The war on Iraq was justified by George W. Bush by claiming that there were “weapons of mass destruction” that were being developed under Sadam Hussein’s reign. These “weapons of mass destruction” were never found but when the U.S. invaded Iraq, they overthrew Saddam Hussein. This coup destabilized Iraq to such an extreme, yet public opinion stayed overwhelmingly positive on the war on Iraq until 2006.

 Once again, the invasion was justified by claims of “saving” Iraqi women. If the U.S. government cared so much about saving Iraqi citizens, then the rape and murder of 14-year-old, Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi, committed by members of the U.S. Army would not have happened. Only one out of the 5 perpetrators went to federal prison. Steven Dale, one of Janabi’s killers even admitted that he did not see Iraqis as human. Former President Trump pardoned several war criminals convicted of unjust killings in Iraq. Yet the popular opinion remains that invading Iraq was justified and that it was for the good of the people and the safety of America.

In 1961, the first year of the U.S. invasion of Vietnam, the United States engaged in a terribly aggressive form of chemical warfare known as “Operation Ranch Hand.” To eliminate shrubbery so the Vietnamese would not have an advantage in their own country, they employed the use of Agent Orange, a potent herbicide with extremely toxic properties. The U.S. government decided to carpet bomb a country dependent on Agriculture because they didn’t want Vietnam to be communist. In doing so, they caused a plethora of people to lose their lives and livelihoods. Innocent people, not the officials causing the war, not the people responsible, but innocent mothers, fathers, and children. All because the leaders of the U.S. disagreed with a political ideology, hundreds of thousands lost their lives. That doesn’t sound very, “land of the free, home of the brave” now does it?

If there is anything I wish to convey, it is this: I am proud to be American, but I cannot support senseless wars under the guise of “saving” people. The government should no longer blame Russia, China or unnamed terrorist groups, in lieu of admitting wrongdoing. Instead of “saving” people overseas and doing more harm than good, maybe it would be more beneficial to focus on issues in our own country. People who are not European do not need to be saved from themselves by America, they are not helpless or stupid, and to treat them as such is wholly racist.