War and Non-Sacrifice

The hero of this site is Roscoe Bartlett, the 80-year-old Maryland congressman/seer who is trying to bring our attention to the coming crisis in oil supplies, a crisis of which the recent gas-price increases (which demagogues like Barbara Boxer would prefer to regard as price-gouging) are a mere foretaste. My job is to get Bartlett, whose one network appearance has been on Wolf Blitzer’s CNN show in March, more attention.

I bring this up because we are nearly five years into a war—an amorphous one against shadowy enemies within and without, including, principally, a country that never attacked us—and the president has never tried to rally the country to any measure of real sacrifice. Notwithstanding the fact that the hostilities began with events that in horror and magnitude eclipsed Pearl Harbor. If that war were properly defined, I’m sure Americans would willingly sacrifice. For instance, if Roscoe Bartlett’s ideas gained greater circulation.

I was reading A Separate Peace, by the late John Knowles, this morning; and it stunned me a little to read his poetic reflection on a time, World War II, when Americans grittily do without:

America is not, never has been, and never will be what the songs and poems call it, a land of plenty. Nylon, meat, gasoline, and steel are rare. There are too many jobs and not enough workers. Money is very easy to earn but rather hard to spend, because there isn’t much to buy. Trains are always late and always crowded with ‘servicemen.’ The war will always be fought very far from America and it will never end.