Kevin Drum has an interesting post at his Washington Monthly blog addressing our human need for moral certainty (and moral superiority) and how that feeds into nationalism and war (and vituperative rhetoric). The two articles he cites within (one a conflicted look back at 2001-3 by a conservative pundit and the other a very interesting short essay by an Israeli writer based in Tel Aviv) are worth a read as well.
It's certainly a truism that pro-war folks love to compare our current adventure to World War II (casting Bush as Churchill and Kerry/Murtha as Chamberlain), and anti-war folks typically bring up Vietnam (with Bush and Cheney as a mixture of Johnson and Nixon). Of course it's neither -- we'll be making entirely new mistakes this time 'round I'm sure. The only certainly in my mind is that things look very bad in the Middle East right now, and everybody (Israel, Hizbollah, Hamas, Iran, Syria, the U.S.) is playing exactly the roles they've been assigned.