Political scientist Richard Haas has identified two forms of war that we Americans have fought during our history-wars of choice, and wars of necessity. Let me briefly review has this concept fits into the history of American wars:
1. American Revolution. In 1776, the American colonists had the highest standard of living in the world. They enjoyed free speech, freedom of religion freedom of the press,and 90% of laws that impacted them were passed by a Colonial legislature. A majority of people opted for war. Most probably, further self government would have arrived within thirty years. A War of Choice
2. The War of 1812, by any definition, falls under the category of a War of Choice.
3. The War with Mexico in 1846 was definitely a war of Choice. America invaded Mexico.
4. The Spanish American War of 1898 was initiated by the US, and is a War of Choice.
5. World War I was a choice by President Wilson to support England despite the fact American ships were being attacked by both German and English vessels. A War of Choice
6. World War II is clearly an example of a War of Necessity. America was attacked.
7. The Korean War. North Korea attacked South Korea, and America made the choice to support South Korea. A War of Choice.
8. The Vietnam War was clearly a War of Choice.
9. The Gulf War of 1991 was a War of Choice.
10. The invasion of Afghanistan was a War of Choice.
11. The invasion of Iraq was a War of Choice.
12. The Civil War is rather unusual. It was an internal war. There is no question that President Lincoln had to respond to the threat of secession with force. A War of Necessity although many Southerners would argue it was a War of Choice.
After reviewing this list it is clear that only World War II was supported overwhelmingly by 95% of the people. In all other wars, America had a divided society. It is not surprising that in 2014, Americans are divided about the current situation in Iraq and Afghanistan. Neither of these wars had a 90% agreement.
Perhaps, the issue is that America entered two wars of Choice, and the choice was incorrect!