"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, July 16, 2008

Victory?

Those who've read this blog for awhile know that I'm a huge fan of Michael Yon, a self-financed, self-embedded independent reporter who has made bringing the truth from the front lines of Iraq his sole purpose in life. Few people, be it in government, the military chain of command, or virtually every mainstream news outlet, have the credibility regarding 'on the ground' conditions that he does. He has visited every major battlefield, north, south, east, and west, in the country. He has seen and reported things that not only illustrate the insurgents' brutality - from drug-addled insurgents forcing women into prostitution, to children cooked in ovens and served to their parents, to fathers murdered in front of their sons and sons decapitated in front of their fathers - but made one question the very premise of basic human goodness. He also reported success stories that would never have seen the light of day had it been left to the MSM. He's been one of the administration's greatest critics and the common soldier's greatest champion. Thus, one must sit up and listen when, in his latest dispatch, he declares that in his judgment, the war in Iraq is over, and we - and the Iraqi people - won. Only a handful of men and women, who've been there from the beginning and seen the war at its best and worst, could make this declaration and be taken seriously. Yon is one. I look forward to seeing this conclusion borne out when I go back next year. And I wonder if our nation will get the chance to look back, point to this day, or another, and say, "This was when we won. Good job."

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