I hear a lot of political talk these days about victory and defeat. What would victory look like if we finally won in Iraq or Afghanistan? Has anybody ever heard a member of the current administration explain what he or she means by victory? I don’t think these are rhetorical questions; I’d really like to hear an answer. After all, we are investing thousands of dead soldiers and more wounded ones, not to mention the financial cost to the taxpayers. I wonder what the Iraqis and the Afghanis think all this has cost them? What are we buying with all that blood and destruction of families? On the other hand, what would defeat look like? Defeat is both frightening and shameful; one has only to listen for a few moments to right-wing radio pundits to learn that. But on a more pragmatic level, what is meant by defeat? Does it include any disengagement from the field? Or does it, perhaps, mean the events that would follow in the lands left behind. What is it that we are so afraid of, ashamed of? I would like an answer that does not involve smarmy sophomoric sarcasm. Since it appears that the bulk of those still supporting the current administration label themselves as Evangelical Christians, indeed as does the president himself, I would also like to hear how their answers can be worked into the teachings of Jesus with an emphasis on his Sermon on the Mount.