The Nation: A Veritable Sketch?

One of the more pragmatic reasons for ending the Viet Nam War, it was argued during the late 1960s, was the annual saving of $20 billion that presumably could be redirected toward the nation's citizens and cities. That "peace dividend" fantasy, which never stood up under close scrutiny, was laid to rest forever by President Nixon's 1974 budget. It allocates to the Pentagon as much money in peace as it ever spent in war, while paring funds for some Great Society programs.

Bemoaning that seeming postwar anomaly, Cartoonist Bill Mauldin of the Chicago Sun-Times recently sketched a bloated Pentagon general guzzling a...

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