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For those of you who regard peace as the overwhelming virtue, had the Nazis or the Soviets prevailed, the world would be a very peaceful, but very unhappy, place. No dissent would be tolerated, and those who did would simply disappear. The world would be united under the power of one oppressive state. Sort of Iraq, writ large.

The exiled Iraqi newspaper editor Saad al-Bazzaz described the world that made Saddam to the writer Mark Bowden: “There is no real law enforcement or civil society. Each family is frightened of each other, and all of them are frightened of outsiders. Each of the families is ruled by a patriarch, and the village is ruled by the strongest of them.â€

Religion in America is much like Nature in the famous saying of Horace: ''Nature, pitchfork it out how you may, keeps tumbling back in on you, slyly overbears your shying from it.''

''I will tread them in mine anger, and will trample them in my fury, and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment.''

The much-publicized anti-American rallies in recent weeks have been noteworthy for their noise, but they draw from an extremely narrow range of society. The one I attended in Rouen on March 22 mustered about 1,500 people, roughly evenly divided between three groups. There were young Arabs and beurs (carrying placards in Arabic). There were aging Stalinists (carrying placards reading Défense militaire inconditionelle de la Corée du Nord! and Pour une révolution politique prolétaire!). And there were representatives of France's anti-globalization movement (whose placards included an amiably offbeat one reading--in English--Masturbation is not a crime!).

the philosopher André Glucksmann, one of France's rare pro-war intellectuals, bemoans that France's position has thrown it into alliance with Russia, which Glucksmann calls, with reference to Chechnya, "the only country in the world today that is fighting a genocidal war."

the architect of the EU, Jean Monnet, wrote in his memoirs that the U.S. "is still driven by a dynamic force originating in the very nature of each individual. America is up and running, but is neither reactionary nor imperialistic. It does not want war but will make war if necessary. Its resolve on this point is very firm, but that resolve is not blind."

As Cervantes had Don Quixote say, liberty is "one of the most precious gifts heaven has bestowed upon Man. No treasures the earth contains or the sea conceals can be compared to it. For liberty one can rightfully risk one's life."

What we are witnessing now is barely even a double standard since it's not clear Saddam is being held to any standard at all, while America's armed forces are being held to a higher standard than any - any - in human memory.

To Germany: After a thousand-year Reich, there should be 100 years of solitude. No comments from you on anything, for a few decades yet.

To France: If you spent less time selling rocket fuel to Saddam Hussein and more time protecting your own Jewish citizens from anti-Semitic rioters, maybe we could take you seriously as a moral oracle.

Baghdad is not Tokyo, 1945. It has no rational government, just a fierce survival instinct.

The notion that the overwhelming exercise of power can achieve peace in areas of protracted conflict is not supported by the modern history of the Middle East.

Sir Basil: "It is essential to conduct war with constant regard to the peace you desire."

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