Thursday, July 10, 2008

Peters Principle

He didn't mention it, but try not to think of Iran in this Ralph Peters piece highlighted here...


THE greatest lie intellectuals tell us is that "the pen is mightier than the sword." That's what cowards claim when they want to preen as heroes.

There was a good reason the assassins of 9/11 attacked the targets they did, rather than steering those planes into Columbia University or Harvard Yard: They knew that the potency of the intellectual is illusory, that it dissolves at the first shot.

The point isn't that military solutions are always the best solutions - any problem that can be resolved without bloodshed should be handled peaceably. But we've got to stop playing pretend: In this hate-plagued, often merciless world, events sometimes demand action, not just talk.

Our diplomats and "distinguished commentators" see the world from the 17th floor of a luxury hotel or the office of an English-speaking Cabinet member. The insular safety of their lives has convinced them that every problem has a peaceful solution if only we can all have a good chat.

But those who rule by the sword (or the fist, or engineered famines or outright genocide) don't want to hash things out. They want to win. No elegant phrase has ever stopped a bullet in midflight.

We're so spoiled that we've forgotten how brutal humankind can be. But our enemies are determined to remind us. Meanwhile, they practice on the innocents close at hand.

If the pen truly were mightier than the sword, the defense industry would be making ink, paper and keyboards, rather than smart bombs and body armor. A pen wielded by a talented writer may wound a target's ego, but a sword will cut off the writer's head.

Pacifists mean well. But they're a dictator's best friends. The man who won't fight for justice abets the terrorist, the tyrant and the concentration-camp guard.

All decent men want peace. But wise men know that not all men are decent.

The use of the pen is an indulgence we can afford only because better men and women grip the sword on our behalf.

The better men and women might be Israeli in this case, I'm not sure if we'd have the stomach for action.

Here's a golden oldie that may be moving back up the charts with a bullet and the scientific community is united in that fact.


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