It's gonna end bad
I've had discussions with people about the Iraq war and the war on terror, people with opinions as diverse as: "It's all a conspiracy to steal oil, or build a pipeline, etc" to the" nuke 'em all" crowd. Usually my opinion is greeted with horror when I say thatI think it is going to end bad. Bad being several cities in the USA being nuked closely followed by most of the middle east being nuked. Maybe followed by more nuclear exchanges until we end up as the cast of a mid 80's post-apocalyptic movie.
Jerry Pournelle makes a point today in a discussion of about nation building in Iraq:
The American people are warlike, particularly the Scots-Irish and German populations; but we are also Christian and ashamed of being war-like; so if we go to war, it must be for a Good Cause against an Evil which Provoked Us into War, and thus the Evil must be destroyed By Any Means Necessary. Which is why we could bomb Tokyo and kill over 100,000 with one fire raid, and then send another, but decry the rape of Nanking and the bombing of Rotterdam.Which nicely describes the knife-edge that we are currently walking in the middleeast. Large numbers of Americans are opposed to this war that they see as completely optional. They might say it's a war that could have waited four years for a democratic president to lob some cruise-missiles at Iraq, or it's a war about oil or empire or the masons.
Of course I disagree. I think that we are in a race against time. Either large parts of the middle east must become more liberal and more democratic, or some country or group will end up nuking several cities in the US. Our country might survive that, but then the other side of that knife-edge will come into play and whoever is president will have little choice but to massively nuke the perceived enemy. [people that say "that can never happen" have no memory of the cold war when that was our stated policy, it is still our policy, it is just not mentioned anymore, which is something that should be fixed] Throughout our history, when it has come down to them or Us, there has been no delay in choosing Us.
Killing thousands of Iraqis and having hundreds of our soldiers killed is cheap (no matter how dear individually) compared to the moral responsibility of killing most of Iran or Syria or Saudi Arabia in a fit of nuclear fury.