One of the worst historical misconceptions among mainstream Americans has to do with Vietnam. Vietnam appears in the public imagination as a singular blemish, the one time when America wasn't living to its true nature. The truth is that most wars before Vietnam were "Vietnams." Most wars before Vietnam were led by an aggressive elite against significant public opposition. Anti-war critics in those wars were jailed and/or intimidated with McCarthyism-like tactics. As a result, these wars were conducted under false pretenses, with the public being force-fed glossy narratives.
"Nearly all wars" includes the Civil War, the Revolutionary War, and even World War I. There appears to be only one war beyond reproach, and that's World War II. But such a singularly slam-dunk-of-a-war situation is rare, and it probably only seems beyond reproach because of how much of a boon it was for the United States economy and its supremacy.
posted by phil on Wednesday Feb 6, 2013 10:46 PM