If you believe in capital punishment, you have no right to plead squeamishness in the face of the details of executions; if you believe that abortion should be legal, you can’t object when your opponents use pictures of foetuses.

There are some kinds of killing that some humans are prepared to accept, but those people have to accept the reality of the acts they tolerate. Dark euphemisms for “killing”—“lethal injection”, “termination”, “euthanasia”—often precede an advancing cloud of moral cowardice.

I supported the war in Iraq, so I made myself read all of a depressing—and probably largely accurate—article in the Observer Magazine this weekend describing the human consequences of that war. I doubt that I would have been so thorough if I it had been about Saddam Hussein’s crimes against humanity.

People were killed to free Iraq.