Le plus ca change…

I'm behind — very behind — on my pile of NYRB's. In the Oct. 23 issue, already succeeded by another, there is an article by Arthur Schlesinger Jr called “Eyeless in Iraq”. In it he quotes from a letter written by Congressman Abraham Lincoln in 1848, during the US war with Mexico,

Allow the president to invade a neighboring nation whenever he shall deem it necessary to repel an invasion, and you allow him to do so whenever he may choose to say he deems it necessary for such purpose, and you allow him to make war at pleasure…. If to-day he should choose to say he thinks it necessary to invade Canada to prevent the British from invading us, how could you stop him? You may say to him, “I see no probability of the British invading us” but he will say to you, “Be silent: I see it, if you don't.”

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