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This Is Not a War...

...at least not for most Americans. It's a war if you're a combat troop deployed in the Middle East, and it's certainly a war if you're an Iraqi, but for the rest of us, this is not a war.

Most Americans alive today -- including me -- don't know what it's like to be in a real war. This is because we haven't been in one since World War II.

Wars involve sacrifice. In World War II, everyone had to sacrifice -- everyone. Many consumer goods were rationed. Travel was curtailed. In this war, except in what so far are very few (and certainly sad) cases, we don't have to sacrifice. Some politicians are calling for a tax cut and not the tax hike so typical of war. The stock markets are up.

Wars involve uncertainty, taking on a foe who might best you. When we entered World War II, Japan and Germany were powerful nations. A reasonable observer could have concluded that we might lose to either one of them. There is absolutely, positively no question of that now. We aren't threatened militarily in any way, shape, or form.

Wars are for the long haul. From the time we entered World War II, it was 1,364 days until the surrender of Japan. The conflict in Iraq started less than 3 days ago. We expect a quick victory. If we haven't won within a couple of weeks, people will undoubtedly begin to question the competence of our leadership and our battle plan.

For the vast majority of us, this conflict brings no sacrifice and no significant uncertainty. In historical terms, it will undoubtedly be over quickly.

We should not delude ourselves by thinking that this is a war for us. We should not delude ourselves by thinking that we now know what it is like to be in a war. We should not delude ourselves by thinking that we know how we would respond to a real war.

This is not a war.

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