If I was relatively mute on these topics during the fighting, it was because I had so little that was constructive to say. I wanted peace, I wanted security, and I wanted a freer Iraq. War was clearly bad for the first two ends, and was an imperfect path at best to the third; still, once American troops were on the ground, their quick victory seemed like the only route remaining to something roughly akin to those goals. And so I watched civilians die and be maimed, saw honorable American soldiers killed, looked on as hunger and disease seized the "liberated" areas -- and recognized that withdrawal without victory would never happen, and that a drawn-out conflict would only make things worse. The idea that one could support the troops while opposing the war is incoherent to many hawks, but it was literally true for me: I cheered them on as I shuddered at what they had to do, because if they were to bog down I'd only have more reasons to shudder.
But now the war is ending, and the occupation is beginning. As the last Ba'athist resistance is eliminated, we paradoxically enter the time an antiwar movement is needed the most. We need a movement against pushing our battalions into yet more fights, a movement against colonial occupations and corrupt concessions, a movement for disentangling us from every Mideastern struggle except the battle to stop those who would kill American civilians. A movement to withdraw our troops from Saudi Arabia, to quickly allow the Iraqis their long-denied right of self-government, to oppose the neocons' push for global hegemony, and to protect and restore civil liberties. A movement, in other words, that can adapt to a changed situation without ceasing to articulate two of the oldest American causes: peace abroad and liberty at home.