Civilian and the Military
Do you have doubts about American wars abroad? Do you worry about their cost, the drain in American resources, the resentments they foster abroad, the death and destruction they bring on all sides? Do you have a sense that these are not truly consistent with the American spirit of commerce and friendship?
People who think this way are made to feel unpatriotic or even traitorous. It turns out, however, that this point of view has a long and glorious history in the United States. It is called the anti-militarist tradition. It grew out of the founding period when a small group of principled people fought back a giant military empire to win their independence.
The history begins in the founding period and continues until after the Second World War, showing how the rise of the warfare state always meant a diminution of liberty at home. He celebrates those who resisted at every step and demonstrates how their prediction all came true though their warnings went unheeded.
Perhaps the most valuable part of this book is its demonstration that the Second War World was not some kind of unusual exception in the history of American warfare; it was the fulfillment of the ambitions of an increasingly imperialist policy. He redeems the anti-war coalition from claims that it was unpatriotic and shows that they were right to warn and warn again against foreign entanglements and their consequences.
Ekirch was a great historian and this book provides an incredible wealth of knowledge and documentation to show that the anti-militarist tradition in the United States was and is robust, freedom-loving, and correct time and again.