Saturday, December 30, 2006

Plus qu'un crime, c'est une faute

No doubt, those who suffered under Saddam Hussein's regime welcomed his hanging earlier today. As did those who masterminded the Imperial invasion of Iraq in 2003, some of the very same people who gave Hussein weapons and support back in the 1980s, and a carte blanche for the atrocities he was hanged for.

Debating the fairness of his trial or the legitimacy of the court is a moot point now. Let me dwell for a moment on the timing of Hussein's execution, though. You see, today is the first day of Eid al-Adha, the Feast of Sacrifice that marks the end of the hajj. It is a holiday marked by ritual slaughter of lambs - sacrifices - to celebrate the fulfillment of Muslims' religious duty to make pilgrimage to Mecca.

Because he was executed on this day, and his last words (reportedly) called for jihad, Saddam Hussein may well become a martyr for millions of Muslims. That's a long way from being a secular dictator who waged war on the Islamic Republic of Iran in the 1980s. And it was American intervention that created "Saddam the martyr," of that there is no question.

Napoleon's foreign minister, Talleyrand, once commented on a politically motivated murder: "Worse than a crime, it was a blunder." ("C'est plus qu'un crime, c'est une faute." - Lucien Bonaparte Mem. an. 1804 (1882) I. 432, quoted here)

While I consider the 2003 invasion and the subsequent occupation of Iraq clearly evil, the execution of Saddam Hussein, and on a major Islamic holiday no less, is seriously stupid.

Monday, December 25, 2006

The Last Christmas today has a whole section dedicated to the Christmas Truce of 1914. Four months into the Great War, German, British and French troops in the trenches spontaneously ceased killing each other and spent a day exchanging gifts, playing football and caroling. Afraid that the truce might end the war altogether, generals on both sides ordered the resumption of hostilities and threatened punishment against anyone who even contemplated a truce again. The war went on for three more years, killing millions and mortally wounding European civilization.

Out of its ashes arose the Versailles system, a conflicted Middle East, a vengeful (soon to be Nazi) Germany, and the Soviet Union. Twenty years later, Europe was finished. What exists today is the pale shadow of a once-great civilization, a decadent, nihilistic, post-modernist mess. The mere mention of Christmas has become forbidden in the "tolerance"-obsessed statist anti-culture that is the West today.

The Communist experiment has nearly destroyed eastern Europe. Conflicts created by the post-1918 partition of the Middle East are fueling a global resurgence of Islamic jihad. The American Empire, which arose from World War Two and scored a Pyrrhic victory in the Cold War, is now bleeding itself to death all over the world.

In some ways, that day in 1914 was perhaps the last true Christmas in the West.

There is no going back to that time, of course. And, given that the men who stopped the truce and willingly took their countries to war were a product of that time as much as the soldiers who caroled together after four months of trying to kill each other... I would say that's a good thing. But if there is to be a future for European civilization, we must come to a realization that the past 92 years have not been "progress," but rather a tragedy of some magnitude.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Dying for nothing

A brilliant, heartfelt and altogether too true piece by Fred Reed:

"It’s all but official: The war in Iraq is lost... The troops from now on will die for a war that they already know is over. They are dying for politicians. They are dying for nothing. By now they must know it."
I won't quote more. Wouldn't do it justice. Go read it yourself.

Oh, but the Democrats are in charge now, and everything will be different, right? And as soon as Barack Obama replaces Dubya on the White Marble Throne, things will change, right?