My daughter's godmother has made it safely out of Iraq. She now faces a twelve hour stopover on a runway in Kuwait. It's 45° C there, and it was hotter in Basra. There are a thousand keyboards clicking around the world, as people register or rationalise their thoughts on the Iraq war, and I'm convinced that there is nothing fresh I can say about it. I'll make this observation, however, in the light of widespread whispering that Tony Blair is about to convert to Roman Catholicism. There is no God. God is a voice in your head. We shouldn't pretend that our brave boys (that's what they are, whichever way you look at it) are on some sort of Crusade out there. They've toppled a dictator, but, as happened in Yugoslavia, the nation has fragmented without the binding energy of that dictatorship. Oppressed people are thirsty for very specific freedoms.
So while it's utterly unacceptable for politicians to say "We are fighting for our way of life" when they are, in effect, colonising a country whose extant government posed no real threat at all to their way of life, you could argue that this idea is at least grounded in the real. There is such a thing as "a way of life", and if running a V8 on inexpensive gasoline falls under The Pursuit Of Happiness then you could even make a case that Bush Jr is constitutionally obliged to protect American oil interests in the Middle East.
Take God out of the equation and it's even more difficult to know what the rebel Iraqis are fighting for. Settle the sectarian issue, stop blowing people up, and Bush will have an exit strategy. He'll be able to withdraw, claiming to have established a democracy, and you can tell yourself that you've seen off the infidel.
Take God out of the equation and you have half a dozen middle-aged men standing around, pointing at each other and saying "I'm right and you're wrong". It's not as naive an idea as it might at first appear. Coalition forces went into Afghanistan with the express goals of destroying Al Qaeda bases, removing the Religious Maniacal government (taking God out of the equation, effectively) and capturing Osama Bin Laden and other Al Qaeda leaders. Resistance remains, but the operation, which was not blurred by political doublespeak, was a success, even if Bin Laden is still at large.
No-one mourns the passing of the Taliban, indeed the liberation of Afghanistan may prove to be the one positive to come out of the events of 9/11. But I hope not. Peace reigns in the Balkans, after all. It's a given that people everywhere should enjoy religious freedom right up the point where it impinges on someone else's civil rights. Tolerant, secular democracy is an ideal for Westerners, an ideal born out of The Enlightenment. The enlightened view is this:- you can believe in God all you want, Mr Blair, Mr Bush, Mr Al-Zarqawi, you can pretend that he informs your decisions, but God does not exist. God is a voice in your head.