The ten stages of conventional response, to an outbreak of war:
1. A variant of ‘I may have doubts about this specific action, but not the general thrust’.
2. A philosophical rumination: ‘War is a regrettable necessity. Alas, if we rule-out both going to war, and refraining from war, we find there is no third option. Therefore, I must reluctantly accept the case for warfare’.
3. When the war begins: conditional support, but only if a strict criteria is met.
4. When the war is proving successful: unconditional support, regardless of any so-called “criteria” – or “laws”.
5. When it begins to look doubtful: ‘there are always arguments both ways, of course. Neither course of action is perfect. On balance, however, war is still the better of two flawed options’.
6. When it goes awry: angry denunciation of people who opposed the war, on the grounds it would be a disaster. Because, while looked at the wrong way, that has proven true – a few of them were once involved in a Communist organisation; which proves they are Nazis.
7. When failure is imminent: morose derision of those who opposed the war – on the basis that if they had been more supportive from the outset, it would have been more successful.
8. When the war turns into a civil conflict, and the country implodes into sectarian violence – with untold casualties, and no end in sight: silence.
9. An official inquiry is held. Following years of intense scrutiny – and forthright legal inquiry – its report concludes that:
i) the war was a regrettable necessity
ii) nobody could have foreseen the outcome
iii) the mistakes were made in good faith
iv) all the correct lessons have been learned
10. Return to the starting point. Repeat as many times as required.