Some days ago, my son (who turns six in September) noticed a picture of a soldier in the newspaper, and prepared to cut it out. (He cuts out pictures from the newspaper all the time. With all the newsprint on the floor of his room, you’d think he was a parrot.) And he asked why there was a picture of a soldier, and, told that he was fighting in Iraq, and reminded him of the conversations we’d had in the past about the war. And as usual, he asked whether we were winning.
My standard answer to him is, “it’s hard to say” which has the virtue of being honest. But one of these days that’s not going to be adequate, and one of these days he’s going to deserve a more serious discussion of the war than we’ve had to-date. Let’s say my son was nine years old – old enough to comprehend more than good guys versus bad guys. How, in narrative terms, would you explain the Iraq war? On the assumption that you didn’t want to say either that, “Iraq is only one front in World War IV, the global struggle against Islamofascism” or “we went to war so the President could get back at the guy who tried to kill his dad, make money for his buddies in the oil business, and protect Israel.”