There are three great myths in contemporary America: Elvis is alive; the average citizen is worse off than in some lost golden age; and the American people will not tolerate casualties in military operations. Of these three, the myth of the eternal Elvis is the most credible. The second is the most understandable, because in all civilizations, human beings have equated even the most positive change with loss. The last myth, that of American cowardice, simply reflects the views of an elite divorced from its fellow citizens, from our unifying traditions, and from any experience requiring selflessness, courage, or faith.
Utterly unjustified by empirical evidence, the conviction of our governing elite that Americans are unwilling to countenance death for any cause tells us far more about that elite than it does about our citizens in general. The myth that all casualties are intolerable is merely absolution and comfort for those committed to their own personal welfare above all.