Yeah, war is hell. So what can we do?

The debate has arisen over the last few years of the Iraq conflict about the way in which the United States has affected the nation, specifically in regards to military strategy and treatment of prisoners.

This topic resonates soundly in my mind. I have several friends currently in the Army who will likely be deployed soon, as well as a relative who suffered a life-changing wound on his tour in the desert. I'm sure we've all had these experiences; we've all somehow been touched by the war. If you have not, I express my condolences. Horrible as it may be, war serves its purpose. As Robert E. Lee said on the battlefield at Gettysburg, "It is well that war is so terrible, lest we should grow too fond of it."

Lee's remark holds a kernel of truth which seems to have been overlooked in our liberal age of peace and fair-mindedness. It appears to have been forgotten that the purpose of war is the expedient and definitive resolution of a conflict that has no effective alternative solutions.

In order that this resolution be brought about, war must be prosecuted in the most brutal and visceral manner. In World War II, terrible acts of violence were committed in the name of peace, and in turn yielded the very peace that was sought.

Now, many will say that peace won by bloodshed is no peace at all; I agree. The practice of war in itself is an abomination, one which humanity has unfortunately not learned to live without. I wish only to point out that, in the case of a nation's defense, the cost to the opponent cannot be considered, lest one become ashamed of one's actions.

It is with this, then, that the matter is approached: In what way might the Iraq conflict be resolved without the atrocities that have characterized armed conflict throughout the centuries? No longer can the public debate whether the invasion of Iraq was necessary or correct; the country has been invaded and that decision cannot be rescinded. The issue before us is over the effective conclusion of this conflict, never officially dubbed a war, which currently engages us.

My opinion, and only my opinion, though I welcome both agreement and dissent, is this: the United States must either withdraw itself wholly from Iraq and leave the people to their own devices or must crush any and all opposition to American policy in Iraq with an iron fist and thereby establish safety for the people as well.

The latter cannot be done. It is a notion hardly worth entertaining, for as long as this nation has existed it has espoused liberty and justice for all - a far cry from the use of force necessary to win this conflict. It's akin to the misguided days of imperialism. In the interest of logic, then, the American presence must withdraw entirely.

This withdrawal will include the cessation of public works in Iraq, the cessation of American soldiers holding the line on behalf of the infant Iraqi government, and also the cessation of American deaths at the hands of Iraqi terrorists. Robbing Peter to pay Paul is at once both a deplorable and an upright thing to do. I can only hope it will come to fruition.