American history has been dominated by war; so, too, may the American future be.
By David Silbey
February 09, 2010 -- The war in Afghanistan feels foreign to Americans: a far distant land, a confusing and alien culture, and combat against a shadowy enemy. That feeling is mistaken. America has spent much of its history fighting wars like the one in Afghanistan. So much so, in fact, that Afghanistan would be familiar to an American in 1900, and conventional wars such as World War II would seem strange.
In fact, in many ways the United States was defined by wars like Afghanistan. America created itself in the 18th and 19th centuries in a series of small wars, waged by and against irregular forces in unconventional ways that pushed America's boundaries westward. These were mostly against Indian tribes, but were also against European powers like Spain and France and Britain. Some of
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