There’s a serious error in David Leonhardt’s December 31 op-ed bidding farewell to 2017:

“I expect that future historians will look back on it as one of the darker non-war years in the country’s history…”

How do Leonhardt and the Times’s editors and fact-checkers and style book define “non-war?”  US military personnel are fighting seven wars in concert with US contractors, and maintaining bases in more than a hundred foreign countries. We, the people, spent countless billions in 2017 on the machinery of war. (Countless because we’re not allowed to know how much is in the “black budget.”)  Those of us who follow the news are reminded every night that “we” are conducting military campaigns in Afghanistan, Syria, Somalia, Yemen… When, by Leonhardt’s reckoning, was the last “war” year in our country’s history?

Fred Gardner, Alameda CA (print subscriber reachable at 510-749-7647)