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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Tuesday, March 25, 2003

War in Iraq will test patience of all

As this most media-saturated war with Iraq comes to the close of its first week, several themes emerge.

The first is that — as Bush administration officials have frequently and somberly reminded us — this will not be an easy or quick conflict.

Americans have become perhaps too accustomed to swift victories and snap decisions. The professionals know far too well that nothing in combat is ever easy or quick.

Another is the remarkable fact that this war is on television, live, almost 24 hours a day. This inevitably heightens our hair-trigger emotions.

Consider: World War I took place for most Americans on battlefields far away and only distantly recognizable. Information was filtered by time, context and (to a degree unacceptable today) censorship. Vietnam was our first "television" war, but even that conflict had a far greater level of remove, if you will.

Not this one. Everything is instant. We see and feel the blows almost as they occur.

If the euphoria — if such a term can be used — felt by many in the first successful days of the conflict was misplaced, so too is the despair many feel now as they find out about our first casualties and captives.

What we must hope for, what we must seek, is perspective. We are making rapid progress toward our goals, but that progress comes at a heartbreaking price: loss of life, both Allied and Iraqi.

The sooner the dying ends and the rebuilding of Iraq begins, the better all of us will be. But in the meantime, we must all look deep within ourselves for strength and patience.