A Cowering Country

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Silver Screen Collection / Getty Images

John Wayne in the 1968 film "The Green Berets."

Here at Battleland, we continue to believe one of the most insidious impacts of 9/11 was to put the nation into a perpetual defensive crouch that American heroes ranging from Davy Crockett to Sergeant Alvin York to John Wayne wouldn’t recognize as their nation.

In Sunday’s Washington Post, we read Peter Munson trace pretty much that same arc in a column questioning what has happened to this nation. We interviewed Munson, an active-duty Marine major, last month about his new book War, Welfare & Democracy: Rethinking America’s Quest for the End of History.

In Sunday’s column, he says:

After the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the United States sent its military off to war and fretted about post-traumatic stress disorder — but paid little attention to the fact that America itself was traumatized. Americans became angry and withdrawn. We are fearful and paranoid because after a strike on our nation we chose to focus on defense rather than the resilience and vitality that made America great…In our increasingly paranoiac discourse, we too have lost focus on the positive, creative tasks that continuously remake American power, resilience and vitality. We cannot agree to invest in education for our children or in infrastructure for our commerce, to rationalize the regulations that underpin our markets or to act collectively to create value. Instead, we hunker in a defensive crouch.

Full thing here.

Not sure to what degree Munson’s common-sense assessment is at all related to the fact that he is soon to leave the Marines after 16-plus years of service.