Quote for the Day

From the Times of London, reflecting on Haditha:

The more vulnerable that Europeans feel, the more liable they are to shift blame across the Atlantic. The strength of disdain is a measure of Europe's weakness. Smugness is one of Europe's great contemporary exports. We may all think that we know America, its music, its culture, its self-confident exceptionalism. We tend to forget that Americans fight only with extreme reluctance. We overlook their penchant for agonised self-criticism; everything bad we know about the US, we know because Americans inexhaustibly rehearse their society's shortcomings. There has never been greater transparency, whether on the battlefield or the boondocks, and there has never been more open debate about the country’s virtues and vices — the internet has transformed the quantity and, at times, the quality of the conversation.

This is worth repeating. There is no moral equivalence between the occasional snap of soldiers stretched beyond most human limits and the evil that hides terrorists among civilians, foments sectarian hatred, and bombs and murders for the sake of a religious or sectarian fanaticism. Haditha must be investigated and its culprits punished. America must return to the standards of the Geneva Conventions. But even an America that has abandoned Geneva is preferable to the Jihadists and sectarian murderers who now terrorize Iraq. We feel shame; they know no such thing. Which is why it is so desperately depressing to watch us so badly bungle a war against them.