The U.S. political establishment watched, shocked, as the unlikely socialism-hating Republican president boarded Air Force One for Asia, ready to end 25 years of icy, sometimes openly antagonistic, relations with a brutal communist dictator across the Pacific. The year was 1972, and the occasion was President Richard Nixon’s historic summit with Chairman Mao Zedong, putting the United States and China on a path towards a relatively normal geopolitical equilibrium.

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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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The United States government has used the same script for the past 50 years to answer pesky questions about war, such as how long conflicts will last.

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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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