Imperial War Museum/Wikimedia Commons

Being the middle brother was a special burden, or blessing, as the case may be. Young Ike. did not carry the expectations or enjoy the deference of being the eldest. He did not carry any of the usual insecurities of being the youngest. Yet being in the middle, he could, if he tried, empathize with both. His younger brothers looked up to him. His older brothers expected him to follow, and they protected him. Describing a schoolboy fight, Eisenhower noted that:

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Benjamin Franklin nailed it when he said, "Fatigue is the best pillow." True story, Benny. There's nothing like pushing your body so far past exhaustion that you'd willingly, even longingly, take a nap on a concrete slab.

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And no one knows that better than military service members and we have the pictures to prove it.

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Photo via Lyndon Baines Johnson Library

In recent comments, former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates described his take on current Republican presidential candidates’ grasp on national security concerns: “The level of dialogue on national security issues would embarrass a middle schooler. … People are out there making threats and promises that are totally unrealistic, totally unattainable.”

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Sunday, Jan. 17, will mark the 55th anniversary of President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s famous “military-industrial complex” speech. His key warning, “In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex” is what most people recall of this speech. It was taken to be a harbinger of the things that followed: the Vietnam War, massive defense spending, and increased American military involvement around the world.

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U.S. Navy Photo By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Narina Reynoso

It used to be that if you wanted to enter politics, military service was virtually a prerequisite. And though the last three presidents have little or no military backgrounds, American history was largely written by commanders in chief who made their name in uniform.

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