The destruction of a vile, oppressive and dangerous regime in Iraq is at hand.
And, although the regime's dismantling has been exquisitely plotted and magnificently carried out by coalition forces, it has been measured and cautious and much more deliberate than some may have anticipated.
That's not a bad thing, either, for various reasons.
While we all would have preferred that the war go much easier and quicker, the fact that the subduing of Saddam Hussein and his lunatic loyalists hasn't been easy brings with it its own particular consolations.
For one thing, the Iraqi regime's resistance - and its special brand of treachery - will make coalition forces look much less the bully that opponents have tried to brand them.
For another thing, the difficulty of the mission will make the result - a free Iraq, and a reduced threat of global terrorism - that much sweeter, and that much more worth doing. Few things easily accomplished are overly cherished.
Moreover, the coalition's relatively few losses and setbacks stand as a stark and painful reminder of the cost of military action. Again, as the evil regime falls, and we begin to document its atrocities and violations of both human decency and U.N. resolutions, the more we will realize how important it was to free Iraq and protect the world. Still, it has not been without sacrifice.
If, on the other hand, this vital mission had come too easily, it might have fed the kind of hubris that the world's lone superpower must constantly guard against.
War must always be a last resort. It was in this case, Hans Blix and his U.N. buffoon squad notwithstanding.
But even a wildly successful military mission is something to be avoided, if at all possible.
How comforting to know, though, that when it's absolutely necessary, we have a military that can conduct the most intricate of missions - in the most difficult of circumstances.
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