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This paper was prepared as the keynote address for one of a series of symposia celebrating the bicentennial of the Constitution, sponsored by Mount St. Mary's College, Los Angeles. The symposium was held on November 21, 1987. The author discusses what the drafters of the Constitution meant by "providing for the common defense" and then considers whether the United States has gone beyond their intentions and become a militaristic society. He suggests that the roots of contention about most security issues, including American militarism, lie deep within behavioral models that are neither explicit nor easily debated, and that the quality of the debate, and of the policy decisions we make, will be improved if we endeavor to understand and examine the underlying models that shape our perceptions.

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