I guess I shouldn't have been surprised. No sooner had we encountered some tough fighting in Iraq, than our generals encountered tough questions at briefings.

Is this another Vietnam? Did we get too cocky? Are we in too deep? And here's the one that killed me, were the French right?

I don't know about you, but I don't remember one of our guys saying it would be a cakewalk taking out their guys.

They didn't call it a "video game war." Journalists did. They didn't say Baghdad would be gone in days. Journalists did. They didn't underestimate the power of stubborn Republican Guard troops. Journalists did. And they didn't set themselves up to fail. Journalists did.

Let's be clear: war is hell. We owe it to our men and women to appreciate the difference between a high tech war that looks good on TV screens and a very real war that's often too horrible to put on any screen.

We know the difference. And I can tell you our soldiers know the difference.

Now some French newspapers have the gall to say, "We told you so." No, all you told us was you didn't want anything to do with rescuing an abused people. But you want everything to do with sharing in the bounty from that rescue.

You were phony worms then -- you're even phonier worms now.

You're right: war is hell. We knew it going into this. You seemed to have just discovered it now that we're knee-deep in this. I've had it with all the armchair generals, who have no problem "taking" shots than "calling" the shots.

I'm not smart enough to judge what they do. But I'm grateful enough to appreciate all they do.

It's amazing that a week ago at this time, not one shot had yet been fired. Not one troop had crossed into Iraq. Not one bomb had gone off in Baghdad. Not one tank had moved. Not one B-52 had taken off, or F-17 flown.

Yet days later: Baghad is under fire and Basra is under liberation. If this is failure, please show me success.

Why is it so many in my profession would rather say "got you," than simply muster a "thank you?" It's a wonder our generals don't say "screw you."

But they're too classy for that.

It's a pity I can't say the same for my colleagues.

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