Life imitates art... unfortunately (and possible movie spoiler)
Back in 1977, a movie was released by Robert Aldrich ("Dirty Dozen", "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?", "The Choirboys") called Twilight's Last Gleaming, about the seizure of an American missle silo by a USAF General, and his holding the goverment of the U.S. hostage to nuclear terror.
Ostensibly the threat is entirely motivated by money - and then, at the climax of the film, the truth comes out - the General wants information released pertaining to the Vietnam War, information akin to the Pentagon Papers that would reveal that the conflict in Vietnam had been willingly prolonged by the United States in an effort to prove to the Soviet Union what bastards we could be, sacrificing American lives for minimal return. This was (in the film) intended to deter a Soviet attack on the U.S. - a kind of macho masochism.
Naturally, some people found the plot less than believable. From a review at the film's IMDB listing:
The premise is silly and its interpretation of the cause of the Vietnam War (revealed at the end) is utterly preposterous--perfect Burt Lancaster material.
Well, unfortunately, according to The National Review’s Stanley Kurtz, the plot suddenly sounds more reasonable, since it's evidently the reason we must stay in Iraq:
We need to see peace and democracy in Iraq is icing on the cake. The real goal is the proof of resolve against Iran and others. If the public sees that, it might change its view of what’s important and what success means.
So I guess the message is that we're willing to sacrifice thousands of American and Iraqi lives, hundreds of billions of dollars, risk the stability of the Middle East and destroy the ideals of America to prove that we're tough guys who don't take no crap from anyone.
Where's General Dell when we need him?
(thanks to ThinkProgress and Atrios for the Kurtz info)