War is never glorious
Global politics is a very, very, very, very complicated thing. I left out about a dozen verys for the sake of brevity.
As we attempt to understand what is happening right now between the United States and Iran, we would all do well to remember that when world diplomacy is the topic, things are never, ever simple.
There is some evidence to suggest that the U.S. and Iran are on the precipice of war after a U.S. drone attack killed Iranian general Qassem Soleimani on Friday.
I could present a respectable argument in favor of killing Soleimani. I could also present a reasonable argument against doing so. But neither of those arguments would matter now. Whatís done is done.
I freely admit that I donít understand all the angles at play here. The truth is, those of you reading this column donít either. There are very few people in the entire world who do.
What I do understand is that sometimes war is necessary to protect our nation. Throughout Americaís history, that has held true.
But sometimes war is unnecessary, waged for the wrong reasons at the wrong time.
Iím not sure which of those sometimes we are now confronting. I simply donít have enough information to form an intelligent opinion.
I am sure of this, however: Should we find ourselves at war with Iran, it will be no cause for celebration. It will mean that American servicemen and women will die, as they have in the trenches of France and the islands of the South Pacific and the jungles of Vietnam and the deserts of Iraq and the mountains of Afghanistan. The awful truth is that some of those Americans had to sacrifice their lives on the altar of freedom to save our country and our way of life. But some of them died for other, less noble reasons.
Thereís nothing to celebrate about that.
My oldest son, a former Marine who now serves in the Army National Guard, described to me over the weekend the guilt he feels about never being in combat. He yearns for it. My son is 27 years old and heís a very smart young man. But I donít believe he really understands the horrors of war. I sincerely hope he never does.
There are some among us who believe a war with Iran would be over almost before it started. Iím afraid thatís not true ó a war with Iran could prove much more formidable than the U.S. campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan. And thatís not even considering how such a war could affect the delicate balance of world politics. Iran backs the Assad regime in Syria, which is also backed by Russia. A little war with Iran would carry the potential to spark a global conflict.
Again, I donít know what the right answer is. Maybe a peaceful resolution is possible; maybe itís not.
If war is necessary and unavoidable, so be it. But the only thing to celebrate about that will be the end of it.