Thursday, May 05, 2005

And One More Thing

Administration critics, led by former president Teddy Roosevelt (who had lost to Wilson in 1912) blasted the White House for sending America's military to war without sufficient equipment, and for putting the nation in debt:

"We paid the price later with broomstick rifles, log-wood cannon, soldiers without shoes, and epidemics of pneumonia in the camps," he wrote in 1918. "We are paying the price now in shortage of coal and congestion of transportation, and in the double cost of necessary war-supplies. We are paying the price and shall pay the price in the shape of taxes and a national debt at least twice as large as would have been the case if with forethought and wisdom we had prepared in advance. We have paid the price in the blood of tens of thousands of gallant men."

This all has a familiar ring, but it hardly counts as an echo; America has never gone into any way prepared for the war it thought it would be fighting, much less for the one that actually took place. The average soldier or sailor always manages to jury-rig what he needs (Confederate cavalry wove saddle blankets out of Spanish moss) and partisans of the war-making administration praise "Yankee ingenuity, while opponents decry a "rush to war."

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