Is Going To War Too Easy?

Put aside for the moment the serious question of whether we should be at war in Kosovo.

What bothers me is how routine going to war has become lately. When the NATO bombing began last week, Washington took it in stride. There was little hot talk the day before.

When its pictures began to show up on television, senators were arguing over whose turn it was to speak in a debate on the budget. They kept right on arguing as if the war was something happening on television, which could be dealt with later.

That is not surprising. Congress has learned that it can deal with war in a more leisurely fashion than it once did. With an all-volunteer Army, there is no pressure from parents of kids back home worried about getting drafted.

A booming economy means no war tax on the horizon, which means no sacrifice for the average Joe. And since we're the only superpower left, we don't have to worry about triggering a nuclear showdown with the Russians.

TV correspondents go behind enemy lines now to broadcast it all live.

What I wonder is whether all of this has made going to war so easy, we've lulled ourselves into believing it's become a bloodless exercise where no one gets hurt, and no sacrifice is required.

Maybe we can reduce tension in the Balkans. We must first remind ourselves it won't be done quickly, on the cheap or without sacrifice.

As we'll discover soon enough.

Reported by Bob Schieffer



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