The bombs have been falling on Iraq for how long now? Is it only a week? It seems like longer for some reason.

Maybe it’s the utter inevitability of the conflict. After the far-from-decisive ending of Gulf War I, we all knew it was only a matter of time—especially post 9/11—before Part II. The latest conflict is only a more sombre and suspenseful sequel to the glitzy, Nintendoesque eye-candy of the first bunker-bombarding blockbuster.

Except the sequel doesn’t seem to have the box-office appeal of Desert Storm. The lack of much verifiable information, higher-than-expected Iraqi resistance, and doubts by many that this war is even justified, are leaving a sour taste in most everyone’s mouth, regardless of which side of the argument they’re on.

Sure, the war dominates the nightly news, but it hardly seems to have the pomp and circumstance of the original, apart from the occasional heated exchange or witty comment on Coach’s Corner or This Hour Has 22 Minutes.

Could it be as simple as a case of “been-there-done-that?” or is it something more? Could it be that things really are a lot more confused than in the first Gulf War? The lines are far from clearly drawn. The jury is far from in, and right now everybody is holding his or her breath, waiting to see what will happen. Way down deep, we all know the consequences of this war are somehow far greater than those of the first.

Whatever side we’ve chosen—whether we think Iraq was stockpiling weapons of mass destruction, whether we think going to war is an acceptable way to ensure that they don’t, or whether we believe that the U.S. may have other goals in mind with this conflict, or not—we all know things will be very, very different when the dust in the Iraqi desert finally settles.

So all we can do is sit and wait with bated breath. One short week of war is a very long time to hold your breath—even when you can only see it through the pale flicker of a television screen.

Illustration by Dan Phelps

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