I watched Morning Joe yesterday, expecting at least a modicum of skepticism and cynicism, but for the most part, I get the impression that everybody’s animal spirits are up. I heard them talking about how we are showing the world that America is back, that a new sheriff is in town, that we are resolved to act with our military might, and that we have asserted our moral authority.
Has there ever been a war that didn’t feel good when it started? I remember how good it felt to retaliate in 1964 after the Gulf of Tonkin incident. And then, somehow, things never felt quite that good again, until ten years later, people were asking how we ever got involved in Vietnam. It felt so good when Baghdad fell that even Chris Matthews said, “We’re all Republicans now.” (Yes, he really said that!) And now most people wish we had never gone in there.
We expect young men to feel good when a war starts, otherwise we would never be able to get them to fight one. But I expected a little more from the people I heard on the set of Morning Joe, figuring, naively I suppose, that a little wisdom might have been acquired over the years, enough to temper their exuberance.
Kissing feels good too, in the beginning. And then people wake up ten years later wondering why they ever got married. But if kissing felt as good after ten years as it did at the onset, no one would ever get divorced. And if wars felt as good at the end as they do in the beginning, no one would ever want peace.