David Brooks has got to go. In yesterday's New York Times, he wrote that Americans need to be prepared for the atrocities that are likely to happen in Iraq if we're going to really win.
It's not that we can't accept casualties. History shows that Americans are willing to make sacrifices. The real doubts come when we see ourselves inflicting them. What will happen to the national mood when the news programs start broadcasting images of the brutal measures our own troops will have to adopt? Inevitably, there will be atrocities that will cause many good-hearted people to defect from the cause. They will be tempted to have us retreat into the paradise of our own innocence.
Somehow, over the next six months, until the Iraqis are capable of their own defense, the Bush administration is going to have to remind us again and again that Iraq is the Battle of Midway in the war on terror, the crucial turning point where either we will crush the terrorists' spirit or they will crush ours.
The president will have to remind us that we live in a fallen world, that we have to take morally hazardous action if we are to defeat the killers who confront us. It is our responsibility to not walk away. It is our responsibility to recognize the dark realities of human nature, while still preserving our idealistic faith in a better Middle East.
So the Times is now printing columnists who say we're going to have to live with these "morally hazardous" actions. I think that's an outrage, and make a mockery of what Americans (and the Times) supposedly stand for. There is no history of terrorizing civilians as an effective long-term tactic, as even the Israeli military is now saying.
The letter to the editor page is here, for those who want to contact the Times.
For a much better write-up than mine on the topic, check out slacktivist.