William McKinley
Why are Americans so easily taken to war?

To the editor: Professor Joseph J. Ellis' essay should be mandatory reading for all Americans. ("The American way of war: It may surprise you," Op-Ed, July 1) When any politician is eager to go to war, watch out. Any objective reading of U.S. history would show that the Mexican-American War of 1845, the Spanish-American War of 1898, the Vietnam War and the 2003 Iraq War were bogus. Our presidents — from James Polk, to William McKinley, to Lyndon Johnson and, of course, George W. Bush — lied this nation into war for imperial ambitions. That's why we are called an empire. This is what happens when too many of our citizens are not paying attention....