Young people may find it hard to believe, but going to war used to be a big deal. When the United States started bombing Iraq in January 1991, Americans somberly watched President George H.W. Bush address the nation, followed by live video of Baghdad being bombed. The Bush address drew the biggest audience TV had ever had.
This past week, by contrast, life went on normally as U.S. warplanes and Tomahawk missiles destroyed targets in Syria and Iraq in a new war, which has no clear goal or time limit. As our leaders took us into a conflict fraught with peril, most people yawned. We're at war again? Oh, right—and rain is still wet.
This one, Secretary of State John Kerry said, could last two or three years. He doesn't appear to worry that the American people's patience will run out before the administration leaves office. Though they occasionally get weary of particular conflicts, they rarely evince strong resistance to new ones.