Flames of the Torch

Operation Iraqi Freedom began late last Wednesday night, and since then, the already heavy war coverage has become non-stop. From worldwide protests to American POWs, to embedded “Today Show” anchors reporting from tanks, there is no escaping any aspect of this war.

Nor should there be.

The importance of this war cannot be overstressed. Our domestic and foreign policy for both the short and long term depend on its outcome, to say nothing of the effect on the futures of the current generation of Americans and Iraqis. Urban warfare and international terrorism threaten to define them both.

Every article in this week’s Editorials section is about the war. It may seem to be overkill given the frequency with which we have printed war articles for the past semester and a half, but there are reasons for this decision. It is our stance that there is no single event more deserving of editorial coverage at this moment than this war. It is our stance that there is no single event that affects all of our lives at this moment more than this war. It is our stance that turning a blind eye and remaining silent would not do justice to the concerns of students – and that the student newspaper should reflect the views of the student body, even if they are divided.

Coverage of St. John’s will continue, of course, but in our first issue printed since the start of the war, with troops less that 100 miles from Baghdad as we go to press and the President requesting $74.7 billion to fund operations for the next six months, we would be remiss not to dedicate this week’s section to the issue of war.

And finally, as tempting as it is to shut out the horror brought about from stories of executed prisoners and incinerated civilians, and as emotionally draining as continued awareness of the war can be, we should not shrink from staying informed. This is not to satisfy a grisly urge to see carnage, but rather to dispel any idealistic views of what war really entails. Those who oppose the war must bear witness to its true consequences; those who support it must acknowledge its terrible cost.

Let there be no illusion of a clean war, for even the most justified wars are bought dearly with blood. Let there be no illusion that every American and every Iraqi is no more or less an individual human being than the next, no matter how psychologically convenient and attractive depersonalization becomes. If we must have war, we should at least be aware of what war is. It may give us more pause in the future.