The pundits have had me pessimistic about the GWOT. Not that we'll lose, necessarily, but that everyone will lose.
First, as a bit of background, here's some of the reading I've been doing lately:
Captain Ed - An Illusory Partner For Peace
Ace - The One Conjecture
Belmont Club - The Three Conjectures
Jim Geraghty - Two must-read pieces on public opinion, voters, and the war on terror
You don't have to read it all, but they're all fantastic posts worth reading.
Let's look at Israel. As Ed notes, Israel is increasingly faced with an enemy that just seems irredeemable. Is the entirety of the Palestinian people this looney, or is that all we see? The clues keep saying the former, but we're desperately holding out hope that it's not the case.
What if their entire society is hell-bent on destroying Israel at any cost?
What number of "moderate Muslims" is enough to salvage them?
Does Israel have any choice beside forever enduring a campaign of terrorism of ever-increasing severity?
What if their choice does come down to survival through total war or extermination? Will we be able to admit it if that scenario arises? Would the world have the stomach to allow Israel to do what it must to survive?
These questions are all difficult, and I don't have any real answers. But applying them to the US and it's war on Islamic Jihad makes this all the more interesting.
In this, the Belmont Club raises a scenario I find way too frightening. Once Iran crosses the nuclear threshold, it's quite possible that rogue groups will get their hands on nukes. How far will America go to ensure that none of those bombs ever level an American city? If we have to do something morally repugnant, will we do so for our own survival? Will we have to sacrifice New York City (or any other metropolis) to the flames before we allow ourselves to go that far? Or will lay back and await death, comforted by the fact that we were at least morally better than our enemies?
None of these are comfortable questions, but they could be questions we'll have to answer in a future that comes increasingly nearer.