Take a look at the CSPAN interview of Andrew Bacevich, author of Breach of Trust: How Americans Failed Their Soldiers and Their Country. You can find it at: http://www.c-span.org/
Bacevich discusses the dilemma of the myth the U. S. is so exceptional its adventures into wars will be successful when the reality is they are mostly not successful. Bacevich is a retired military officer and West Point graduate.
If we look back to military adventures in my lifetime, most have not had a happy endings. We all know them, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan and others. Yet, Presidents Bush and Obama refer often to the “exceptionalism” of the U. S.
The problem, as Bacevich sees it, is that once in a while a military adventure looks quite successful. We know these, too, WWII and Desert Storm. The problem is Desert Storm loomed large in Secretary Rusvold’s mind after 9/11. He thought he could repeat it in Afghanistan and Iraq. Added to that is the military’s need to use its vast military infrastructure or have Congress take it away.
Bacevich did not discuss religion, but I think it looms large in this myth of exceptionalism. If enough voters think there really is a god, most conclude the god thinks about them individually. If the god knows them individually, he knows the U. S. also. The god has to think both “me” and “my country” are quite exceptional.
It seems to me a personal god and exceptionalism are inseparable.