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Beginning/end

Check your history books: for the United States, World War I began in 1917, when we declared war on Germany.

The official end, or armistice, was two years later, when Germany said, “We give up!” Everybody knows, that for our country, World War II unofficially began with Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941. The next day the president and Congress officially declared war on Japan. That country surrendered unconditionally in 1945, and that, forever, put an end to America going to war.

It’s 2014 and apparently we’ve been at peace all this time. That’s certainly constitutionally true. What about Korea and Vietnam and the Persian Gulf and Iraq and now Afghanistan? Well, interestingly, those thousands and thousands of lives weren’t lost during war time.

The rules about an official declaration of war by Congress were just ignored, so there was no official beginning, and have you noticed, ever since WWII there hasn’t really ever been an end?

Maybe that’s why nobody ever wins anymore — after a while people just stop shooting, and just like old soldiers, the sounds of battle and death just fade away.

I’m Pat McMahon.