"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."

Monday, January 05, 2009

2009: how could it be worse than 2008?

Ah, Happy New Year to all, and to all, good night! (say that to your IRAs, that is...) Forgive me, I didn't mean to start off 2009 all whiney. The end of '08 was actually a great deal of fun; we packed up the family, mailed off four boxes of presents ahead of us, and flew to Houston for our bi-annualish extended bloodline family reunion. Our get-togethers used to have fixed numbers - four parents, seven cousins, two grandparents - but time has changed the roster in ways both sad and joyful. Sadly, our grandfather is now the sole member of the Greatest Generation in these events; happily, the ranks of the younger generations continue to grow and grow. We've added various husbands and wives over the years, then came grandchildren (and great-grandchildren), and this year we added another spouse-to-be. Our dear little Patrick has been swept off his feet by a Canadian lass almost as crazy as he is, and they will be wed next August to the delight of all. She is a very fun lady, joining in our marathon Monopoly games, and quite the runner; it's been a while since I've almost blown a lung trying to maintain what another person considers their 'conversational pace'. I'll have to spend this next deployment running my ass off just to get to where she is today. Aaron finally met most of his extended family, including his great-grandfather, for the first time, thus giving us four generations under one roof (and, mercy of mercies, Aaron chose our big Christmas Eve dinner to showcase just how good a little boy he can be; he actually stayed in his seat, and was generally quiet, for most of the meal. This is a feat rarely duplicated before or since). Our dinner conversations were elevated as always, ranging from from discourses on whether realism is a viable foreign policy theory in this day of globalization and non-state actors to Googling the dirty details of South Bend vs. Kitty Kat Club (you don't know awkward until you read a Chief Justice's opinion on what constitutes indecent exposure to your parents). And, happily, I was able to resolve my identity theft problem as well, thanks to a surprisingly responsive Microsoft Help Desk. Now, besides a dozen daily junk emails about a girl who really likes her horse, everything is back to normal. On that note, I'm off to bed. I was going to start working on a post about events in Gaza that I keep putting off, but it's a thoroughly depressing subject and can wait until tomorrow when I have to go back to work and so will be depressed anyway. Happy New Year to all, and remember; the events of a year are rarely as utterly bad as they seem.

No comments: