In 1066 and All That, their classic spoof of British history (or rather, of history lessons), W.C.Sellar and R.J.Yeatman list the main objective of the Peasants' Revolt as having been:
a) To obtain a free pardon for having revolted.
They also remark that, having succeeded in that objective, they were all executed anyway.
In today's surrealistic political scene, unintentional self-parody among the Left and among opponents of the war is commonplace and there is no scope for talents of the kind possessed by Sellar and Yeatman. Therefore it is not surprising to find that many take for granted not only that the (real, secret) objective of the war is to steal oil, but that if a war must be fought, its principal objective should be:
a) That none of our soldiers should ever violate the rules of war.
This has the same logic as Sellar and Yeatman's joke: it is an objective that can only be realistically achieved by surrendering in advance; and it is an objective perfectly compatible with all being executed anyway. Even Bill Whittle, in the fine essay we referred to recently, seems to be analysing the morality of the war in terms of which side adheres more closely to the rules of war. By that standard, the Coalition comes out overwhelmingly ahead. But that neither diminishes the crimes that Coalition soldiers do commit, nor is it a valid argument that the Coalition side is in the right.
We make no excuses for cruelty, nor do we condone violence that is not justified by self-defence. But we do not confuse the issue of enforcing the law among soldiers with that of what the objective of, or justification for, fighting is.