Currently reading “Six Frigates” by Ian W. Toll.
Found this passage and believe it is worth repeating.
Recalling the [War of 1812] debates, [James Madison] admitted that "it has become impossible to avoid or even delay war," even though "we were not prepared for it." It has been necessary to take the fateful plunge because "it was certain that effective preparations would not take place, whilst the question of war was undecided."
You never quite know how the foe will fight until the fists start to fly…