The veteran and author Phil Klay, writing for the Jesuit magazine America, reverses the usual narrative of a soldier losing faith in the face of the senseless horror of war. What turned him away from religious belief for a while, he writes, was the time in which he was able to convince himself that what was happening in Iraq was rational and effective:
My understanding not simply of the war but of myself shifted. I was not a fallen creature in a broken world reliant on grace, but a Marine in a successful army that had all the answers. I was justified not by a cross, but by an interpretation of public policy, not by the cruel and barbaric torture and murder of an innocent man, but by politics. If the surge had saved lives, turning a monthly death toll of 1,802 to 554, then the month of January did not just make me right and the antiwar folks who had opposed the policy wrong, it made me morally better than them by exactly 1,248 dead Iraqis.