Monday, January 06, 2014

Anachronism watch

The United States has usually prepared for its wars after getting into them.

So wrote historian James McPherson introducing a military history segment of his Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era, published in 1988. I wonder how many readers feel that something is amiss when they encounter that. I certainly feel than I've lived a longish life span in a nation armed to the teeth, always determined to be prepared for any war, any where -- and sometimes eager to start that war itself.

Has McPherson's observation ever been true of this country since 1945? I don't think so. We may have been prepared for the wrong war, but, oh, have we ever been prepared, at whatever cost in treasure and in displacement of democratic values.

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