The history of the War on Iraq reveals that many of those who expressed strong support for the fight really have no stomach for the reality of war or are too easily off put by the horrible realities of combat. Andrew Sullivan comes to mind. Others prefer to show their moral purity by making unsustainable (because they are unrealistic) charges that it should have been managed and fought elsewise.
But for a comrade at arms who enters the fray with his eyes open and fixed on the real stakes, Chrstopher Hitchens is an exemplar.
Today he notes that we cannot give up any more than we can possibly meet the dream world fantasies of those who want to avoid the difficult choices on the ground:
There is no respectable way of having this both ways. Those who say that the rioters in Baghdad in the early days should have been put down more forcefully are accepting the chance that a mob might have had to be fired on to protect the National Museum. Those who now wish there had been more troops are also demanding that there should have been more targets and thus more body bags. The lawyers at Centcom who refused to give permission to strike Mullah Omar's fleeing convoy in Afghanistan—lest it by any chance be the wrong convoy of SUVs speeding from Kabul to Kandahar under cover of night—are partly responsible for the deaths of dozens of Afghan teachers and international aid workers who have since been murdered by those who were allowed to get away. If Iraq had been stuffed with WMD warehouses and stiff with al—Qaida training camps, there would still have been an Abu Ghraib. Only pacifists—not those who compare the Iraqi killers to the Minutemen—have the right to object to every casualty of war. And if the pacifists had been heeded, then Slobodan Milosevic, the Taliban, and Saddam Hussein would all still be in power—hardly a humanitarian outcome. People like to go on about the "fog" of war as well as the "hell" of it. Hell it most certainly is—but not always so foggy. Indeed, many of the dilemmas posed by combat can be highly clarifying, once the tone of righteous sententiousness is dropped
Clarice Feldman 6 05 06