Sep 24

Satirical Essay on Military Intervention

“As Commander-In-Chief, it’s my duty to preserve national security. Unfortunately, part of my job is deciding when to initiate military involvement abroad. Not only do I have serious judgments to make, I have the difficult task of convincing my fellow leaders, the international community, and you, the people, of the necessity of intervention. I don’t expect everyone to agree with my decision to engage in conflict. And if you do believe that military intervention is unjustified now, I only challenge you to ignore the horrifying instability it’s going to cause in the future.”


Original Source – McSweeney’s Internet Tendency: If You Think Military Intervention is Unjustified Now, Wait Until You See the Instability It Will Cause. Posted from Diigo via IFTTT

Possible Unit(s) of Discussion:

Spanish American War, World War I, World War II, Cold War, Current Events

How to use in the classroom: 

First things first – This is a satirical essay and will not be appropriate for every class and group of students. Make sure to preview the article well. Given that this essay is satirical, you could use this article to discuss bias, satire, and perspective with your students.

That said, this seems like an interesting resource to use/discuss when completing a unit with an essential question references imperialism, foreign affairs, war, conflict, and/or resolution of conflict.

For example, students could compare this essay to Teddy Roosevelt’s Inaugural Address from 1905 and discuss the following questions:

  • Compare/contrast the two sources.
  • Based on the source, is the author of the document in favor of imperialism and interventionist policy? How do you know?
  • Pick a foreign conflict that America has been involved in (Spanish American War, World War I, Korean War, Vietnam War, Iraq Conflict, etc.) and briefly research the causes/effects of that conflict. Then discuss..
    • What examples can you find from your chosen conflict to support both author’s statements/beliefs?
    • Based on the evidence, what role do you believe America should play in foreign affairs/conflicts?

You could also use this particular article as a jumping off point for a writing activity based on current events. Have the students research a current event topic and follow that topic through multiple sources and various points of view over the course of several days or a week (Feedly would be a great tool to use for for this process). Then, teach a lesson on satire using this or another essay/article. Have students synthesize the information they have researched for their current event and then write a satirical style essay that explains their personal stance on the current event that they researched.


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