The Folly of War: American Foreign Policy, 1898-2005

The Folly of War: American Foreign Policy, 1898-2005

The Folly of War: American Foreign Policy, 1898-2005

The Folly of War: American Foreign Policy, 1898-2005

Excerpt

It was a crisp, clear day in January 1991, a day that beckoned us to go outside and enjoy the beauty of a Southern California winter. But there were grades to be assigned and outlines for next semester to prepare; the aesthetics of the day would have to wait.

Momentous events were transpiring across the continent in Washington D.C. as the Congress debated President Bush’s decision to intervene in the Iraqi dispute with Kuwait. As a college history professor, I was vitally interested in the Bush decision to send troops to the Persian Gulf. Most of my colleagues were opposed to any such military venture. I gave some grudging support to the President, although even at that time I would have preferred to see the Gulf states and other regional powers deal with the problem.

My office door was open and a colleague stopped to chat, the conversation quickly veering to the impending war. My colleague, we will call him Dick, expressed strong opposition to the military conflict and I made some weak comments in support of the President.

Dick curtly retorted: Would you want Dave (my son) to go to Kuwait and die for this cause?

I made another inconsequential response as Dick left.

But, Dick’s sharp question struck me like a thunderbolt. Was this a war that would merit giving up the life of my precious son, David? My only son?

I closed my office door and sat staring out the window—deep in thought, terribly disturbed by the prospect of such a tragedy. in all my reading in American . . .

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