Okay, so let's talk about war a little, since most Americans think it's something like a cross between Mission Impossible and a Tom Clancy novel. It's not. People talk of war in terms of 'surgical strikes' and 'special ops units', thinking a few bombs and a few commando units running around can win any conflict. From the way the Iraq War has been run, it would seem a few of the civilians (and some of the generals) in the Penatgon believe the same things. I'm not talking about the morality of war, because war is also immoral by definition.
The idea behind going to war is to pound an enemy hard enough, destroy enough of his infrastructure, and kill enough of his people to make him lose the strength and the stomach to fight. Simple.
Your enemy's government is your enemy, his people are your enemies, and his ability to resupply his troops is your enemy. [If you want some perspective on this, check out some of the Bugs Bunny cartoons made during the war years ... if you can find them - F-man] When you have to start making distinctions; 'we are not angry with the people of (pick any country), just their government', you lose your right to wage war. When you have to say, 'we don't want to destroy their (pick something), just remove their leadership', when you force the men and women you send into combat to differentiate which of the 'enemy's' people are friend or foe, you have no right being at war to begin with.
War is for the defense of the nation and nothing else. Certainly not for 'regime change' in a nation posing no threat. It is the basest form of national revenge and, by definition, should be fought without concern for anything but victory. Dresden, the firebombing and atomic bombing of Japanese cities during World War Two, that was war in all its excruciating malevolence. It was a simple decision. We were attacked, the next day we were at war.
There was no need to spin things on 8 December 1941. No need for forged documents, no need for weapons inspectors, no need for intelligence assessments; bombs fell upon the U.S. Pacific Fleet at its homeport of Pearl Harbor. That was all the evidence needed. Did you think what happened after, the years of world war, was an honorable pursuit? There was unspeakable horror, almost a generation's worth of European and Japanese men wiped out, countless innocent deaths and we reconcile that with the fact we faced an enemy we believed evil incarnate. We did whatever was required to force their capitulation.
One day, we will have to reconcile the war in Iraq. We will have to sit back and ask if all the deaths, the maimings, and the horror was worth it. I tend to believe this war will leave us with a case of national post traumatic stress syndrome. It might take years, but eventually we will come to the collective realization that we were the bad guys. I think many of us do already.