"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, December 27, 2006

The New Year in Iraq

While I've got my own familial reasons for looking forward to the New Year, things are less cheery around the globe. It looks like we'll be having a troop "surge" in Iraq to help calm things down. Good to go, as long as they're not sent over for more of the same. One Iraqi on the front lines of Baghdad has a few suggestions, and a recent report from the Pentagon has one big one: eliminate al-Sadr. He and his militia are now the biggest threat to peace in Iraq; any failure to deal with him will prove that the powers that be are no longer serious about success in that country. And while we're at it, how about dealing with the other problem that everyone's stuck their heads in the sand about: securing Iraq's borders? Maybe the capture of several Iranians suspected of organizing attacks therein will prompt appropriate action. I'm not optimistic, however. Russia and China don't care about reining in Tehran, so long as they can sell their weapons and buy oil. Europe long ago lost the willpower to do anything of significance in this world. America is the only one left with the will or the ability to challenge Iran (apart from Israel), and we will never be in a better position to do so than right now. Willpower is simply missing from our nation's decision-makers, however; and as Iraq's borders go, so goes the neighborhood.

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