“Everything feels obscene,” a friend said seven years ago, when we carpet-bombed Baghdad, launching the invasion. It still does, but in a dull, chronic, “used to it” way — outrage mixed, these last few years, with “hope,” smearing the war effort with a thick, national ambivalence.
Is it still going on? Well, yeah, with a grinding pointlessness that’s not worth talking about or even debating anymore. The smorgasbord of justifications has been permanently shut down: the 9/11 tie-in, the WMD, “another Munich,” democracy for the Middle East. No one’s hawking Freedom Fries anymore. The war in Iraq simply continues because a war in motion, especially when it’s not really a war, when there isn’t an enemy with whom to negotiate, is incapable of just, you know, stopping. When we don’t really have a mission, completing it is difficult indeed.