The House That War Built

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The Washington Post today (Sunday) has a review of Steve Vogel’s The Pentagon: A History, all about the construction of the five-sided asylum. Of course, it was accompanied by lots of lies (the War Department constantly misrepresented the size of the building, telling Congress it was smaller and had fewer floors than it actually would) and cost overruns, and was overseen by an Army general more adept at bureaucratic empire building than leading troops or fighting wars.

Apparently in 1941 (months before the bombing of Pearl Harbor, by the way), one senator — Arthur Vandenberg of Michigan, before he became a convert to interventionism, ‘scuse me, internationalism — was so stunned by the planned size of the new building that he asked: “Unless the war is to be permanent, why must we have permanent accommodations for war facilities of such size? Or is the war to be permanent?”

More than 60 years later, it appears we know the answer to that question.

4:10 pm on June 17, 2007
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