America Shows Its Colors

Humility, not hubris, is crucial to winning the peace

As war began last week, the American army in Kuwait received a remarkable order from the brass: stow your flags. The fearsome steel coil of tanks and artillery and Bradley fighting vehicles was told to enter enemy territory humbly, stripped of all banners, including the Stars and Stripes. This seemed slightly un-American--we're flag crazed to the point of silliness--and entirely appropriate; liberation, not conquest, was the stated purpose of the war. And so, when the Marines captured their first town, Umm Qasr, and the American flag was reflexively raised in triumph, it was quickly hauled down. In the early hours of...

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