This article develops the concept of domestic militarism as an explanatory framework connecting the international militarism of the 1990–91 Gulf War to subsequent episodes of intranational violence in the United States, including the Los Angeles riots, the Waco siege, and the Oklahoma City bombing. Central to these connections is the double meaning of domestic, referring to both the space within the borders claimed by the United States and the space occupied by the idealized heteronormative nuclear family. Assessing the rhetorical use and abuse of ideas about children, protection, gender roles, terror, and nationality, I argue that militarization increasingly came to rely upon appeals to (hetero)sexuality during the 1990s. Ultimately, I read the passage of series of 1996 reforms to federal interventions in migration, criminal justice, public aid, and marriage as the scaffolding of a militarized heterosexuality that would prove crucial to the conduct of the later War on Terror.

You do not currently have access to this content.