"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."

Sunday, June 13, 2010

One year later

Lest we forget, it was a year ago this weekend that the Iranian people, after watching its government ignore the results of the ballot box, took to the streets to demand at least some modicum of the freedom the 1979 revolution was supposed to guarantee. Protestors Twittered, Facebooked, Youtubed and blogged their resistance, and Western elites and punditry waxed eloquent about how oppressors couldn't fight back against social networking and other tools of the Information Age. They thought simply watching was sufficient support. They were wrong. Within a few days, the ruling theocracy and their paramilitary forces proved that Twitter by itself does not a revolution make. They ruthlessly beat, shot, arrested, raped and executed their way back to 'order' as those nations that enjoy democracy, free speech, and the right to assembly continued to merely watch in silence. The actions of the Iranian regime were despicable but entirely in keeping with its character; the inaction of the West, humiliating enough as it was, was compounded because it's NOT supposed to act like that. America, especially, is supposed to 'pay any cost, bear any burden, oppose any foe, support any friend' in the cause of liberty. Instead, our leaders couldn't even muster a few harsh words for the mullahs. The whole sorry affair was captured by the death of one young woman:

She was young, modern, no doubt attuned to the intricacies of social networking, and desirous of the freedom promised by those technologies. Her government murdered her in the streets. It murdered enough of her fellow protestors that the 'Green Movement' is too terrified to take to the streets again. Their despondence and Neda's death stand as proof that genuine evil still exists in the world, and as a condemnation of the weakness and fecklessness that allows evil, Twitter and YouTube not withstanding, to prosper.

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