"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."

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Freedom of expression, but only if you're Muslim

I said I didn't want to keep harping on this, but it's had a way of grasping one's attention. Raging protests over the Muhammed cartoons continue apace, especially in Pakistan where people are dying on a daily basis. I don't think I've ever seen a group so good at taking offense (Democrats are offended at George Bush's very existence but at least they aren't burning down his house. Yet.) Muslims are curiously picky about what they take offense at, however. They're offended over an admittedly tasteless rendering of the Prophet, yet remain silent when the Prophet's name is defiled in much more blasphemous acts. Mark Steyn points out that the name of Muhammed has been attached to men like the 9/11 hijackers, the gunman at LAX, various suicide bombers in Israel, Theo van Gogh's murderer, and the Washington DC serial sniper. Let me tell you, if there were a bunch of people who called themselves Catholics, adopted the name of Jesus, and started blowing up pizza parlors, crashing airliners into buildings, and stabbing bystanders in the street, I'd be screaming to high heaven about the degradation of a holy name and peaceful religion. And then I'd probably write some letters to the editor, maybe organize a march or something. I think I'd draw the line at fire-bombing Kentucky Fried Chicken to demonstrate my displeasure, however.

As for the
Danes, I wouldn't blame them if they thought their neighboring countries were acting like rats on a sinking ship. With few exceptions, European governments and the EU itself are caving in with a rapidity rarely seen on the continent (I think we saw it in France in 1940, but at least they held out a few weeks longer). Lofty phrases like "self-regulation" are being bandied about, but the attitude beneath the surface is obvious: we Europeans are scared of you and we pray to God that our cowardice will mollify you because we aren't strong enough to stop you from hurting us otherwise. It's frightening how quickly the nations that gave birth to the principles of the Enlightentment are abandoning their values for craven self-preservation. Not that it will help them in the long run; the only lesson Muslims will take from this is that Europe will submit to them, body and soul, under threat of violence. And in the longer run, there may not be that many Europeans left to defend themselves even if they wanted to: European birthrates are steadily declining, with some countries, like Italy, well below the birthrate necessary to merely sustain their population, let alone see it grow. Immigrating Muslims may simply breed themselves into power.

In other news:
Al Gore is acting like a tool again. I think TigerHawk's comments do a good job of deconstructing the whole thing, so I'll leave it at this: I won't say that Gore's shenanigans are like an American going to Nazi Germany at the height of World War II and apologizing to Hitler for surveilling and imprisoning suspected German spies. But I'm thinking it.

Finally, an eye-opening article by
Mac Owens on James Webb's new allegiance to the Democratic Party. I'm sure there are many people who haven't heard of James Webb, but to those in the military, and the Marine Corps in particular, his reputation is only a few degrees removed from that of Chesty Puller. Webb showed his courage and spilled his blood in Vietnam as a platoon commander, and has been a consistent defender of Vietnam veterans, and servicemen in general. His novel Fields of Fire (one of the most accurate and balanced to come out of Vietnam) is on the Commandant's Recommended Reading List and was required reading for my platoon at the Basic School. Yet here is he running for the party that many in the military and on the Right believe doesn't support the troops or their mission. The reason why? He thinks the war in Iraq is a strategic drain in the face of a rising China (I'd disagree, but it's a military point worth pondering) but more devastating for Republicans is his opinion that the GOP has treated former servicemen in Congress shamefully. For a party that considers national defense one of its strengths, this is damning criticism indeed. Much ado was made over the attacks on Kerry's service record in the last election. Well, he decided to make his record part of his campaign so I think it was fair game; besides, there were many legitmate questions to be asked. HOWEVER, I will not deny that Kerry, unlike Bush, has actually heard shots fired in anger. John Murtha is at least as decorated as Webb; Max Cleland gave more than most, leaving part of himself in the jungles in which he fought. To question the judgment of such men on current military matters is one thing; after all, being a combat vet doesn't necessarily grant someone more profound geopolitical insight into whether we should invade Iraq or Afghanistan or Kosovo or whatever. I think Murtha's call for complete withdrawal demonstrates a gross ignorance of the bigger picture. But criticizing these peoples' ideas by attacking their combat records is callous and flagrantly disrespectful. Erroneous ideas should be countered with facts, not personal denigration. James Webb has finally had enough of this, and will no longer bless the GOP with his support. The loss of such a man to a party that claims to honor all things military should ring alarm bells at the highest levels. Let's hope someone listens.


Ammianus Marcellinus said...

What's the current over/under on someone finding some sort of 'dirt' in Webb's combat background? Six months? Nine? Where can I wager on this?!?

Ammianus Marcellinus said...

I'm not attempting to besmear a veteran, I'm just following up on the point you're making above...

Cincinnatus said...

If someone tries to rag on Webb's credentials, I think he'll quickly find himself on the wrong side of a lot of devil dogs. And the wrong side of a lot of devil dogs is a bad place to be.