Those losses are irredeemable but instructive. The trouble wasn’t their unsustainability. The United States is rich enough to have sustained far greater losses without economic calamity. Safe and rich nations like ours can afford all kinds of harm but that doesn’t make it wise. The trouble was the diversion of people and resources from an array of alternative activities collectively more conductive to general welfare. By embracing our geopolitical fortune, rather than going out looking for troubles to manage, we could enhance our security and reallocate vast resources to more productive uses.
Benjamin H. Friedman is a research fellow in defense and homeland security studies at the Cato Institute
Image: The Pentagon, looking northeast with the Potomac River and Washington Monument in the distance. Wikimedia Commons/Department of Defense