America still has not learned its lessons about militarization

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It is always a pleasure to read Dan Simpson’s sensitive columns, including his July 16 column “Will We Ever Learn? Looking Back at Vietnam Reminds Us of Our Ignorance.” No, it does not seem we ever will learn.

Mr. Simpson cites a new novel by Ward Just — “American Romantic” — which is set during the Vietnam War. I am so impressed by his account that I am going to order a copy so I can read it for myself.

He says, “Mr. Just, by no means a severe critic of the United States, put it well: ‘American delusions, mostly of grandeur, often of the evangelical variety, the Good News of democracy … frightened people.’ ”

Mr. Simpson also writes that “Mr. Just sees the military as central to the American affliction” and “Worse, he also suggests that we can’t help ourselves.” Our Pentagon budget is testament to that. We should have paid attention to Dwight Eisenhower’s warning about the military-industrial complex.

Mr. Simpson says, “Mr. Just’s protagonist says that a lesson he learned from his Vietnam War experience was, the less meddling the better.” Can our leaders in Washington learn from Dan Simpson’s columns?

CORNELIA SMOLLIN
Ross


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