Constant war means not only that we can—thankfully—keep fighting the last war but also that we can refuse to ask, much less understand, anything about its objectives, tactics, and lack of efficacy.

The greatest gift of war, of “civilizational conflict,” is that it makes it possible to ignore the soul-crushing ironies of history both big and small.

How can we acknowledge that we are fighting on the same side as Bashar al-Assad, the very dictator whose regime we seek to destroy?

How can we appreciate that our strongest allies in the current fight, Russia and Iran, are our sworn enemies in every other context? And that other friends—the Saudis, for instance—are not only the enablers of terrorists but practitioners of medieval, anti-modern justice?