War is a fundamental component of the human experience; indeed, across cultures, some of the earliest examples of oral and written traditions deal with warfare. Chris Hedges asserts, “war forms its own culture… it is peddled by mythmakers—historians, war correspondents, filmmakers, novelists, and the state—all of whom endow it with qualities it often does possess: excitement, exoticism, power, chances to rise above our small stations in life…. It dominates culture, distorts memory, corrupts language, and infects everything around it” (2002, 3). Taking the concept of war in the conventional sense, an armed conflict between two or more factions, it is obvious that war has played a central role in Asian American history. Wars of aggression, conquest, imperialism, colonialism, and civil conflict have all contributed to the presence of Asians in the United States. Wars of other kinds, however, also figure prominently in Asian American history: race wars, culture wars, gender wars, and trade wars, to name just a few.

This essay may be found on page 238 of the printed volume.

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