Between the Lines

It’s Always World War II

They call it the “Good War,” I suppose, in order to differentiate it from all the really bad wars we’ve been fighting—and losing—lately: Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, and all the future conflicts our political class has up its collective sleeve.  I call it the Worst War, because it fathered all the ones to come.  It was the war that set us, finally, on the road to empire—and, as Garet Garrett put it years ago, that road was marked with a sign that reads “No U-Turns.”

That war that killed millions, and finally killed our old republic, haunts us still.  It lingers in the headlines, or at least in the op-eds, whenever a new “threat” rears its head: The dictator-of-the-moment, targeted for early retirement by the warlords of Washington, is invariably likened to Hitler—and that is the signal for the Tomahawk missiles to fly.

Hitler is reincarnated daily in the War Party’s polemics, where it is always 1939 and the merest impulse to refrain from mass murder is “another Munich.”  I was reminded of this in reading a recent New York Times piece by Bill Keller, who was bemoaning the lack of enthusiasm for delivering Syria into the hands of the “moderate” faction of Al Qaeda.  Keller spends an entire opening paragraph describing a country just emerged from a recent war and a major recession, where “idealism...

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