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I hereby apologize for ever saying anything nice about historian Niall Ferguson. His enthusiasm for an aggressive American empire overrides his moral sense. I had to read to page 292 of his 2004 book, Colossus, to have this rubbed in my face. I'll spare you the effort:
"There is undoubtedly something perplexing about the apparent lack of American combat-effective troops at a time when the U.S. population is growing at 1.25 percent per annum, unemployment is proving stubbornly resistant to economic recovery, and the American prison population exceeds 2 million--1 in every 142 American residents. If one adds together the illegal immigrants, the jobless, and the convicts, there is surely ample raw material for a larger American army. One of the keys to the expansion of the Roman Empire was, after all, the opportunity offered to non-Romans to earn citizenship through military service. One of the mainsprings of British colonization was the policy of transportation that emptied the prison hulks of eighteenth-century England into ships bound for Australia. Revising the draft would not necessarily be unpopular, so long as it was appropriately targeted."
WWOS--What would Orwell say? It only takes Ferguson one sentence to slide, serpentlike, from an "opportunity" to earn citizenship to a "draft." I'm not qualified to judge his history, but this man worships at only one shrine, and it ain't liberty.