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Above all, we must realize that no arsenal, or no weapon in the arsenals of the world, is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women. It is a weapon our adversaries in today's world do not have.
-- Ronald Reagan

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Wednesday, March 12, 2003
Somewhat depressed today

Resolve can be difficult to sustain in times like these. Will we attack Iraq is only part of the question - will the West survive, or shall it decline until... who knows what insidious form of tyranny can replace it? Reading this article at Weekly Standard, I don't find this bit of wisdom, from Alexander I. Solzhenitsyn, very encouraging:

"A decline in courage may be the most striking feature that an outside observer notices in the West today. The Western world has lost its civic courage, both as a whole and separately, in each country, in each government, in each political party, and, of course, in the United Nations. Such a decline of courage is particularly noticeable among the ruling and intellectual elites, causing an impression of a loss of courage by the entire society. There are many courageous individuals, but they have no determining influence on public life.

"Political and intellectual functionaries exhibit this depression, passivity, and perplexity in their actions and their statements, and even more so in their self-serving rationales as to how realistic, reasonable, and intellectually and even morally justified it is to base state policies on weakness and cowardice. And the decline in courage, at times attaining what could be termed a lack of manhood, is ironically emphasized by occasional outbursts and inflexibility on the part of those same functionaries when dealing with weak governments and with countries that lack support, or doomed currents which clearly cannot offer resistance. But they get tongue-tied and paralyzed when they deal with powerful governments and threatening forces, with aggressors and international terrorists.

"Must one point out that from ancient times a decline in courage has been considered the first symptom of the end?"

He said that in 1978. Can courage make a comeback?

"Today's Western society has revealed the inequality between the freedom for good deeds and the freedom for evil deeds. A statesman who wants to achieve something highly constructive for his country has to move cautiously and even timidly; thousands of hasty (and irresponsible) critics cling to him at all times; he is constantly rebuffed by parliament and the press. He has to prove his every step is well founded and absolutely flawless. Indeed, an outstanding, truly great person who has unusual and unexpected initiatives in mind does not get any chance to assert himself; dozens of traps will be set for him from the beginning. Thus mediocrity triumphs under the guise of democratic restraints."

Sounds like the UN holding back President Bush to me. Events in recent days are not filling me with confidence - we're holding a vote, we're delaying the vote, deadline March 17, or maybe April 17, Britain is backing out, Tony Blair is hanging tough. Well, what is it already?

Saddam's undoubtedly winning the PR war, as Kathleen Parker points out.

Yet, the United States and Britain bizarrely have become the bad guys in this perverse game of international chicken. We're the ones forced to justify our demands for Iraqi compliance rather than Saddam being forced to comply. Confronted with such illogic and its frightening contagion, one begins to feel confused. To doubt one's instincts. To question what is true.

Yeah, that's me today. Parker continues:

For the most part, we are a reasonable and fair-minded people and as such tend to project our values onto others. Good people, because they are good, tend to believe in the goodness of others. Likewise people of conscience tend to assume conscience in others. But people of conscience are always at a disadvantage with psychopaths.

Thus it requires a suspension of belief in others' goodness in order to interact with those who have declared themselves our enemies. To deal with Saddam, one must accept not only that he is evil, but also understand that he is mad.

In the battle of wills, Saddam is clearly winning. As is Kim Jong Il, if the comments of Teddy Kennedy and his ilk are any indication. As for our courage, I hope the man in the Oval Office hasn't lost his. But so many people here have, I wonder how long it can last.

Tuesday, March 11, 2003
Heavy Duty

Read this - it's mind-blowing. Via Instapundit.

Monday, March 10, 2003
Kerry has his cake and eats it too

Talk about triangulation! He's setting himself up so that he can say he supported Bush if Iraq is a success, and if it goes badly he can say "I told you so." I find his statements quite disgusting, honestly.

I think it's time for a law which requires anyone running for the Presidency to resign any and all public offices before running. Might make people think about it a little harder if they have to quit their day jobs - especially real secure ones like Kerry's seat in my home state of Massachusetts.

"He meant very few things he said but he said them very well"

Andrew Sullivan on President Clinton. The whole piece is worth reading.


Larry Miller on what's coming up next. It really sums up how a lot of us Bush supporters feel.

What's about to happen in Iraq, and what's going to continue to happen in the rest of the world for many years to come is as serious as life gets, and I'm scared. Any sane person must be. I respect those who sincerely disagree with an armed invasion of Iraq. But I support our administration and our soldiers on the job they're going to do. I think they're going to liberate a country, defend their own, and continue to crack the ice on the pathology of cruel, authoritarian regimes in the Middle East.

But our people and theirs are going to die. If I'm wrong, then part of the responsibility for those lives is on my shoulders, because I supported it. We may all, someday, God forbid, be victims of related attacks, but soon, over there, others will be paying the price first. Please, God, let it be a price worth paying.

Quick Notes

The Journal of Obvious Results

Jeff Jacoby on gay marriage in the Boston Globe

Philip Bobbit on Iraq, in the NYT.