"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, August 19, 2006

Shooting ourselves in the foot, again

There is little the judiciary can do these days to surprise me, but I still allow myself the indulgence of disappointment. The recent ruling on the Terrorist Surveillance Program is not binding and has already been appealed, but the message sent by Judge Anna Diggs Taylor and the plaintiffs who brought the case to her is clear. They think that any counterterrorism program, regardless of how effective it is, regardless of the fact that not a single instance of abuse has been documented, is illegal if it has Bush's name on it. The security of America be damned, if it means taking this president down a peg. The lesson we learned in London last week - that intelligence is vital to stopping terrorist plots that could kill thousands - is lost on them. If the TSP and other counterterrorism programs like it are undermined, I hope Judge Taylor and her friends don't plan on taking a plane any time soon.

I was - thankfully - wrong in my dark prediction that the Israeli-Hezbollah conflict would lead to a regional conflagration. But it seems that the
U.N. is doing its best to keep that option on the table. And just in case anyone thinks that the U.N., and the world in general, doesn't have a double standard in dealing with Israel and her adversaries: why is Kofi Annan "deeply concerned" about an IDF raid in Lebanon, and completely silent about the arms transfer from Syria and Iran to Hezbollah that was its cause? If you hear a crumbling sound, it's just another brick falling from the U.N.'s decaying credibility.

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