by Cameron Salisbury
February 3, 2010
It’s not easy to establish a clear line in history between the time when American democracy belonged to citizens and when it was lost, but wars give us starting point.
The first wars were fought over ideas. There was the Revolutionary War in the 18th century and then in the 19th century, the Civil War ‘preserved the union’ and ended slavery.
In the 20th century came the wars for national imperialism. First, Teddy Roosevelt’s wars in the Philippines and Cuba, then WWII which more or less accidentally resulted in imperial expansion.
After 1945, the U.S. was very good at waging war but no longer so good at winning, so we kept practicing. Wars waged against Korea and Vietnam failed to accomplish anything but massive destruction on somebody else’s land, ratchet up the hate index for the U.S., and give the Pentagon an excuse to exercise its military muscles and escalate its budget.
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