In this essay, I would like to revisit the concept of narcissism to understand the concept of "Asians in the Military." When I say Asians in the military, I include of course the Asian American soldier. For instance, a Hawaiian-born, Vietnam War veteran, Japanese American Gen. Eric Shinseki, is currently heading the department of Veterans Affairs (Shigekuni paras. 11-12). Shinseki had three uncles who served in the famous all Japanese American 442nd regiment during World War II. But the familiar multicultural narrative about diversity in the armed forces is not the sole focus of my talk today.
Because of US involvement in the Philippines, Japan, the Korean peninsula, the Cold War with China, southeast Asia, Afghanistan, Iraq, and now most recently, the international trade in surrogate mothers and their babies in India, it is impossible to demarcate Asian Americans as separate from Asia. The theaters of contact between Asians and Americans are so fraught with organized conflict and systems of economic as well as military coercion, that Asian Americanness is necessarily a pan-global experience. Similarly, it is difficult to define who is in the military and who is outside it. Some civilians are "in the military" because they are within the parameters of the reality that military discourse has drawn, through violence and through "post-violence," that is to say, cultural gestures that are not violent in themselves but prolong aggression.