To satisfy a US moral standard, the image of a naked woman’s breast must first be doused in blood. The great stand-up Lenny Bruce said this (or something like it) so often, comedy nerds have been misquoting it for more than half a century. Bruce’s preoccupation with nude boobs notwithstanding, he made a good point at the time: America sees obscenity in intimacy, but not at all in war.  

This was true for Vietnam, the war that would inform Bruce, and was arguably true in 1998 when president Bill Clinton’s almost forgotten strikes in Baghdad coincided with the Monica Lewinsky “scandal”. Irish newspaper The Examiner ran with the headline “Lewinsky affair apparent in phallic missile deluge on Baghdad”. Sure, this is more florid and more Freudian than James Joyce on an especially emotional afternoon, but it doesn’t contradict more scholarly accounts of the Desert Fox raids, which came to be known as Monica’s War.