ONE REASON the coming war disturbs many Americans is that it seems optional. While the fight in Afghanistan was thrust upon us, this conflict is one our country enters by choice. It is a war we wouldn't be undertaking but for the conviction of our leaders--crucially, our president.
But in that, it is not unique in the American experience. If Afghanistan was like World War II in being a war of necessity, Iraq is like the Civil War in being a war of leadership and conviction.
It is easy to forget how optional the Civil War seemed to many at the time.