"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, April 07, 2007

Fortunately, a quick end; unfortunately, an open door for more

Thankfully, the 15 British sailors and Marines who were abducted by Iran were released in time to spend Easter with their families. They wasted no time repudiating their "confessions" about violating Iranian waters. And while it seems they didn't undergo the same level of mental and physical torture that the American hostages did thirty years ago, their statements contain more than a few points that could be considered violations of international law, should anyone decide to prosecute. I doubt we'll see Iran get anything more than a mild talking-to, however, given the craven response of all European parties concerned (or not concerned). Perhaps the most we can hope for is that this incident will shed more light on the already well-documented Iranian interference in Iraq, and give the rest of the world more cause to bring pressure on halting the mullah's nuclear program. Hell, perhaps the whole episode was orchestrated to provoke the West into attacking Iran and thereby bolster flagging domestic support. If so, not biting Iran's bait was a victory, but a small one. Eventually, a time will come when we have to worry less about uniting Iranians and more about preventing their leaders from beginning an age of nuclear terrorism. This victory would taste sweeter if it hadn't exposed the disgusting spinelessness of the European Union, United Nations, and "international community" at large (not that it hasn't been exposed dozens of times in the past). And Britain, staunch allies though they are, need a little shot of courage, as their first reaction once their men were released was to halt any further maritime patrolling ops. Though guiltless, they're acting like a naughty child who's just been caught and punished. None of this, Tony dear, goes unnoticed in the Middle East.

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