Victory of the Loud Little Handful
by Mark Twain
The loud little handful - as usual - will shout for the war. The pulpit will - warily and cautiously - object... at first. The great, big, dull bulk of the nation will rub its sleepy eyes and try to make out why there should be a war, and will say, earnestly and indignantly, "It is unjust and dishonorable, and there is no necessity for it."
Then the handful will shout louder. A few fair men on the other side will argue and reason against the war with speech and pen, and at first will have a hearing and be applauded, but it will not last long; those others will outshout them, and presently the antiwar audiences will thin out and lose popularity.
Before long, you will see this curious thing: the speakers stoned from the platform, and free speech strangled by hordes of furious men...
Next the statesmen will invent cheap lies, putting the blame upon the nation that is attacked, and every man will be glad of those conscience-soothing falsities, and will diligently study them, and refuse to examine any refutations of them; and thus he will by and by convince himself that the war is just, and will thank God for the better sleep he enjoys after this process of grotesque self-deception.
Mark Twain, "The Mysterious Stranger" (1910)
I put the Twain quote out for historical context. While our work in Afganistan is more than just I have yet to see the case for Iraq be made. Lord knows I enjoy an occasional war, if its tastefully done. But even old Guap ain't so sure about this war. I may be stricken from the He Man Liberal Haters Club for this, but maybe we need to slow it down a notch or two in our headlong rush to kill Saddam.