Mark Danner has a fine article on Iraq in the New York Review of Books. In it he quotes George F. Kennan, who with Dean Acheson was perhaps the greatest American diplomat of the 20th century. In the fall of 2002, at the age of 98, he is quoted saying one of the wisest and most succinct things I've ever read about war or conflict in general... even to level of harsh words. Let me share it with you. DS
"Anyone who has ever studied the history of American diplomacy, especially military diplomacy, knows that you might start in a war with certain things on your mind as a purpose of what you are doing, but in the end, you found yourself fighting for entirely different things that you had never thought of before. In other words, war has a momentum of its own and it carries you away from all thoughtful intentions when you get into it."
George F. Kennan -October 2002