"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."

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Muhammed Mia, here they go again . . .

I've been out of the loop most of this week for a few reasons, A) I was permanent duty officer for the first half of the week, B) the second half of the week I was sent to Ops where there's no such thing as free time, C) by the time I got home from duty I was too spent to do anything besides go to bed, and D) I spent the little free time I had at home playing Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas until I simply got tired of outrunning the po-po time and again. Not much in the way of excuses, I know. Oh well.

But the world doesn't stop turning simply because I turn off the news. I watched a little of the State of the Union address until it became repetitive and derivative of other speeches. So at least I wasted only five minutes. Bush's speeches have evolved (or devolved) into a familiar pattern this past year. He repeats many factually true generalities - "terrorists are evil, they want to destroy our way of life, we're too dependent on foreign energy" - and leaves it at that. No specifics. No details. No numbers. Nothing. None of these generalities are stunning revelations from the heavens either - I really hope he figured out that guzzling Saudi oil was bad many years ago and it just took a little while to form that thought into a sentence. Still, better late than never; it's long past time we stopped importing oil and started developing new nuclear reactors and exploring other energy sources, and if he's going to devote the rest of his term to doing so, more power to him. The last thing Iran needs is more petrodollars to fund their nuke program.

Speaking of Iran: guess they're not kidding about the Bomb. They really want it. Wow, who would've seen that coming? I wonder if they're kidding about other things too? Like turning Israel into a big radioactive parking lot, for example. Oh, the Europeans are getting concerned, as is the IAEA and United Nations, and we all know what happens when they get concerned. They write very strongly worded letters, telling people exactly how concerned they are. Perhaps if the theocrats in charge realize just how concerned the West is about living with a
nuclear Iran, they'll halt their enrichment program so Kofi Annan doesn't get an ulcer. I'm curious how much blunter President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has to be before the world steps in and shuts him down. He's called for the destruction of a fellow member nation in the UN (not that the UN cares about Israel, since most of the members think Zionism equals racism and other bullshit like that). He's defied all attempts to negotiate any kind of settlement that would give him the ability to have civilian nuclear power - which is all he claims he cares about - without the ability to make nukes. Put the two together and you have an equation the sum of which could set the world on fire. If that's the result of the multilateral approach, then either the United States or Israel will have to take the lonely path of acting while others dither. The world may condemn them for it, but as always other nations will reap the benefits of America acting alone.

In other news . . . Islam features heavily.
Victor Davis Hanson, as always, does a great job of tying things together. About as much as many Muslims would like to tie up certain Danish cartoon artists and then burn them along with the Dutch flag. These incidents are always very revealing of the cultural divide that separates Islam from the rest of the world. When someone offends us in the West, we'll get pissed off, sure. We might march, write letters to the editor, or get involved in a political campaign, depending on the degree to which we feel our values are threatened. Muslims, on the other hand, while always good at marching, also riot, burn, and call not only for apologies, but death to those who've wronged them. It's easy to dimiss this as the work of extremists, but look at the largely universal outcry from Muslims in every country besides America. They're torching embassies, calling on the faithful to "massacre" Dutch cartoonists, even demanding a repeat of "7/7" in Britain. This is all very telling of their worldview, which leaves no room for negotation or compromise. It's their way or the highway. Try telling Muslims that their frequent characterization of Jews as monkeys and child-eaters or Christians as infidels is offensive, and you'll hear, "but that's the way things really are." No apologies. Their version of reality is about six hundred years behind the rest of the world (coincidentally, or not, Islam is six hundred years younger than Christianity). It took the Christian world two thousand years to develop a society as open and free and peaceful as the West; looks like we might have a little longer to wait before the Muslim world catches up.

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