The West should be thankful that it has in US President George W Bush a warrior who shoots first and tells the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to ask questions later. Rarely in its long history has the West suffered by going to war too soon. On the contrary: among the wars of Western history, the bloodiest were those that started too late.
But isn't it cruel to cast the die for war before it is proven beyond doubt that war cannot be avoided? Given the frightful cost of war, should peace not be given every chance? Some wars of course should not be fought, such as the threatened hot war between the United States and the Soviet Union. In many cases, however, risk and reward are highly asymmetric; the cost of a short and nasty small war vanishes toward insignificance compared with the price of a grand war of attrition, particularly when nuclear weapons are concerned.