"But war, in a good cause, is not the greatest evil which a nation can suffer. War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things: the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks nothing worth a war, is worse. When a people are used as mere human instruments for firing cannon or thrusting bayonets, in the service and for the selfish purposes of a master, such war degrades a people. A war to protect other human beings against tyrannical injustice – a war to give victory to their own ideas of right and good, and which is their own war, carried on for an honest purpose by their free choice – is often the means of their regeneration. A man who has nothing which he is willing to fight for, nothing which he cares more about than he does about his personal safety, is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free, unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself. As long as justice and injustice have not terminated their ever-renewing fight for ascendancy in the affairs of mankind, human beings must be willing, when need is, to do battle for the one against the other."

Friday, January 27, 2006

Hamassination

Wow, this has taken a lot longer to post since the schedule writers at my squadron apparently decided that I'm going to be permanent duty officer. So, while I still have the motivation tonight, I'm getting this one out, come hell or high water.

Some of the biggest news during the last week was the stunning, though not unexpected, elevation of Hamas to the chambers of power in Palestine's first post-Gaza withdrawal election. Much has been said in the circles of punditry, and I can't even begin to encompass it all in something less than a thesis-sized column, so I won't. Opinion is divided: some are cautiously optimistic (here, here, here, here, here, here, and here), others don't think this gun-toting leopard will change its spots (here, here, here, here, and here). Part of me wants to play the optimist and believe that the responsibilities of running a country will mellow Hamas out. They certainly couldn't be more corrupt than the Fatah party, their election was a genuine populist victory, and picking up garbage and making the trains run on time will require effort that might otherwise be directed at attacking Israel. But Mussolini and Hitler picked up garbage and made the trains run on time too. Hamas has yet to remove their calls for the destruction of Israel from their charter, which could indicate that rather than turn Palestine into a viable country, they plan to use it as a base of operations for more sophisticated attacks against their Jewish neighbor. Their leadership also warned Western nations not to cut off the foreign on which they heavily rely; no "or else" followed that warning, but the words "we'll keep blowing up kids in pizza parlors" echoed faintly in the background. Of course, it's still too early to see which direction Hamas will take, toward moderation or mania. I'm hoping for the former, but I ain't holding my breath. (And another excellent column by Mark Steyn; just a reminder that Hamas has never been a group to say one thing and do another. They tell the world they want to kill Jews, and then they do it. At least they're honest)

Another regime change took place recently, though without nearly so many headlines. Canadians followed the Palestinian lead and took out the trash, booting a thoroughly corrupt Liberal party from their throne in Ottawa. Mark Steyn called it an act of political hygiene and at the very least, a good, if not great, night for the Conservative party. Stephen Harper is not a particularly charismatic leader, nor nearly as conservative as the froth-at-the-mouth liberals feared. But he's a breath of fresh air in a nation that's choked on stagnant fumes for the last decade and a half. I doubt he'll do anything particularly radical during his tenure (though only the Liberals could consider actually providing the Canadian military with things like food and bullets and transportation radical), but he's a move in the right direction (no pun intended). Besides, if he annoys Al Gore, how bad can he be?

And on to Iraq (redacted) Jim Hoagland, David Ignatius, and Michael O'Hanlon.

OK, this didn't turn out to be nearly as long as I thought it would. I guess learning how to decode the links on Blogspot took longer than writing anything. Which means I can move away from headlines that are a week old and now post something relevant. So look up.

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