Web Letters | The Nation

Web Letter

Americans love going to war.Its the history ever since the American Revolution of 1775 there has not been a single generation in America's history that has not known war.

This is epecially true after 1945. Wars have fueled a war machine economy.From General Electric building nuclear submarines, aircraft carriers and missile ships to Boeing and McDonald -Douglas building warplanes. I believe that we go to war because, like drug addicts, we like it. No one has ever won a war. What problems did war ever solve? None. What misery did they create? Loads. When you are standing pointing a weapon at someone who is pointing one at you, you will live more intensely at that moment then at any other time in your life. We go to war because we like to. It gives us a sense of dominance. It also fuels the economy. America has prospered during times of war and faltered at times of peace.

william Scanlon

Hanoi, Vietnam

Sep 22 2009 - 12:31pm

Web Letter

There's a lot of truth here but also some error.

The author seeks to rewrite history. The United States has always been devoted to war. Engelhardt conveniently ignores that our founding fathers chose war as the means to establish a nation, and instead writes as if they were some kind of peaceniks.

The US has been committing wars of aggression for two centuries. When I visited Fort McHenry many years ago, the film shown honestly stated that the War of 1812 started as a US war of aggression. There have been dozens of such wars, small and large, since.

Englehardt also rewrites Obama's campaign platform. Maybe he was listening to such establishment front groups like MoveOn, which exist to dupe peace and progressive folks. Obama did not run as an antiwar candidate. In his campaign, he promised to escalate in Afghanistan, increase the military budget and increrase the size of the active duty military forces. He has kept all those promises. Many people voted for a false image of Obama rather than the real Obama, but in fact Obama has largely kept to his campaign stance.

Bill Samuel

Silver Spring, MD

Sep 22 2009 - 11:36am

Web Letter

Eugene Jarecki in his excellent book The American Way of War: Guided Missiles, Misguided Men, and a Republic in Peril, writes eloquently and forcefully about the loss of control within the Congress. The military-industrial complex cleverly outsources the building of bombs and missles and tanks and planes to as many states at they can include. For example, Jarecki writes:

the B-1 bomber has a piece of it made, a piece of the plane made, in every single US state. Now, why? I mean, that's not an efficient way to make a product. So, it must be serving some end. And the end, it turns out, that it serves is that the B-1 bomber was designed by its makers according to a process called political engineering, fancy word for distributing the contracts and subcontracts to build a given weapons system to as many states, as many congressional districts as possible, not let's make it as efficient as possible, but rather, let's put it in as many districts as possible, so that if this thing ever comes up for review, everybody's getting a piece of the action, everybody's in on it. And as a result, when, you know, the questions arise--Do we need the B-1 bomber? Do we need to be spending this money?--there is a constituency built in in Congress that's going to keep that thing going.

With a system of procurement like this, what Congressman or -woman in their right mind would vote down building a "part" in their state? Few considering it is the job of the congress to bring in money and jobs into the state. Until ordinary Americans wake up and demand changes, the people will forever be held captive to large corporate interests.

Ron McAllister

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Sep 22 2009 - 11:35am

Web Letter

Englehardt has concisely voiced what I have felt for forty years but was unable to express rationally. I was 2 years old when VJ-Day arrived and war has been in the news for all but about five of the subsequent years--and that was because the whole world needed time to recover from WWII. A state of war is the only reality for anyone now walking the planet.

Jim Kirsch

Naselle, WA

Sep 19 2009 - 10:33am

Web Letter

Or as historian Charles Beard once wrote, "perpetual war for perpetual peace."

John Molina

Chula Vista, CA

Sep 18 2009 - 2:46pm

Web Letter

This is the most important, cogent essay yet published anywhere on the current (and probable future) situation of the United States.

As a result, under the Obama administration and the present Congress, Hayden wouldn't be given a single second of consideration.

R.H. Weber

Brooklyn, NY

Sep 18 2009 - 1:04pm

Before commenting, please read our Community Guidelines.