In his review of Bing West’s new book, The Strong Tribe: War, Politics, and the Endgame in Iraq. Kay concludes his review this way:
The tragedy of Iraq is that the war’s architects took three years to learn the lessons that many on-the-ground military commanders had gravitated to instinctively. During this dark period, it was only thanks to the professionalism and staying power of America’s much-abused warrior class that the country was able to avoid an epic defeat in the heartland of the Arab Middle East. Bing West’s “The Strongest Tribe” deserves to be read as an authoritative testament to this historic achievement.
Given West’s insightful and penetrating analyses on Iraq over the years, I don’t doubt this to be true.
In the course of the review, Kay quotes a line from West’s book:
No nation ever fought a more restrained and honorable war.
What a lovely line – lovely in part because it is true. And because it is true, it serves as a reproach to those who, because of their hatred for President Bush, have decided that the Iraq war was dishonorable. That is profoundly wrong, and those who persist in arguing this case are doing a terrible disserve to our “warrior class” – as impressive and praiseworthy a group of men and women who have ever taken to the battlefield.