Victory need not be accompanied by bombast. With the winds of war subsiding in the Persian Gulf, flags and yellow ribbons have been fluttering at home. In most American minds, there is relief and exultation that victory was achieved so easily and that the price paid in American lives was relatively small.

In some circles the jubilance has been compared to some kind of surreal Super Bowl.Americans are happy about the swift end to the conflict, but there are some who are concerned about the effect an easy victory can have on the American psyche.

There is a fear that the United States could develop into a combat culture, devoting our resources to high-tech weapons for future wars instead of dealing with mounting domestic problems.

While it is natural for all Americans to feel some euphoria over a victorious result of the gulf war, we must be cautious to maintain balance in interpreting its meaning.

The fear that the United States is going to adopt some kind of hard-line military attitude toward the world's problems is probably overblown. Americans have stood before on the world stage as undisputed champions, stronger than anybody else in sight. The end of World War II is a classic example.

And the response has always been the same, to take the troops home as soon as possible and let the world solve its problems. There wasn't any noticeable urge to police the globe after past victories, and such a response is unlikely now.

Compassion has been the usual reaction and should be in this instance. Instead of crowing over an easy victory, we should be showing concern over damage done and for the thousands of lives lost in the cause.

Admittedly, the United States suffered an amazingly low casualty rate based on expectations prior to the war, but American lives are no more sacred than other lives.

We need to work for a sense of balance, drop the arrogance that sometimes accompanies the euphoria of victory, and embrace fully the principles of peace.