The final paragraph of my Christmas present and new favorite book:
"Americans are proficient at war the same way they are proficient at work. It is a task, sometimes a duty. Americans have worked at war since the seventeenth centuery, to protect themselves from the Indians, to win their independence from George III, to make themselves one country, to win the whole of their continent, to extinguish autocracy and dictatorship in the world outside. It is not their favoured form of work. Left to themselves, Americans build, cultivate, bridge, dam, canalise, invent, teach, manufacture, think, write, lock themselves in struggle with the eternal challenges that man has chosen to control, and with an intensity not known elsewhere on the globe. Bidden to make war their work, Americans shoulder the burden with intimidating purpose. There is, I have said, an American mystery, the nature of which I only begin to perceive. If I were obliged to define it, I would say it is the ethos--masculine, pervasive, unrelenting--of work as an end in itself. War is a form of work, and American makes war, however reluctantly, however unwillingly, in a particularly workmanlike way. I do not love war; but I love America."
--John Keegan, Fields of Battle