My father, who knew what he was talking about, always said, "You fight a war to win." I don't remember him having a pro or con view regarding Vietnam. I do remember that he was disgusted by the fact that the biggest military superpower in the world couldn't just go in, win, and get out again.
The same is true of our tactics in Iraq. If we truly wanted to win this war, we could do so, and do so quickly. We're afraid, however, of our own strength, and too many of us doubt the righteousness of our cause — and that's Diana West's point in this truly excellent column. I urge you to read the whole thing, but I'll share this quotation with you as an incentive:
In the 21st century, however, there is something that our society values more than our own lives — and more than the survival of civilization itself. That something may be described as the kind of moral superiority that comes from a good wallow in Abu Ghraib, Haditha, CIA interrogations or Guantanamo Bay. Morally superior people — Western elites — never "humiliate" prisoners, never kill civilians, never torture or incarcerate jihadis. Indeed, they would like to kill, I mean, prosecute, or at least tie the hands of anyone who does.
This, of course, only enhances their own moral superiority. But it doesn't win wars. And it won't save civilization.
Why not? Because such smugness masks a massive moral paralysis.