Monday, April 24, 2006

Another Voice on What's at Stake in the War on Terror

Natan Sharansky is one of those figures who by the power of his character and experience towers over other members of his generation. A leading nuclear scientist in the Soviet Union, he became a vocal and articulate dissident who was finally imprisoned for nine years in the Gulag. Without question, his moral courage fired the opposition to Soviet tyranny both within and without the Soviet Union that eventually led to the fall of the Evil Empire.

Today he writes in the Wall Street Journal's Opinion Journal on the distinctive moral courage of one George W. Bush in his prosecution of the war on terror. SWNID confesses that Sharansky says better than we can why we admire Bush, despite his very human failings.

Read the whole piece by following the link, but enjoy this longish quotation:

Political leaders make the rarest of dissidents. In a democracy, a leader's lifeline is the electorate's pulse. Failure to be in tune with public sentiment can cripple any administration and undermine any political agenda. Moreover, democratic leaders, for whom compromise is critical to effective governance, hardly ever see any issue in Manichaean terms. In their world, nearly everything is colored in shades of gray.

That is why President George W. Bush is such an exception. He is a man fired by a deep belief in the universal appeal of freedom, its transformative power, and its critical connection to international peace and stability. Even the fiercest critics of these ideas would surely admit that Mr. Bush has championed them both before and after his re-election, both when he was riding high in the polls and now that his popularity has plummeted, when criticism has come from longstanding opponents and from erstwhile supporters.

With a dogged determination that any dissident can appreciate, Mr. Bush, faced with overwhelming opposition, stands his ideological ground, motivated in large measure by what appears to be a refusal to countenance moral failure.

9 comments:

fiona said...

I'm concerned about the use of the first person plural pronoun when the first person singular pronoun is grammatically appropriate.

There are only two prececents for this:

1)God - "Let us make man in our own image."
2)James Taranto's "Best of the Web Today" column - And he thinks he is God.

fiona said...

In case you plan a clever comment on how "us" and "our" are not first person, you should note that "us" is only used because "let us" is passive rather than active.

Sincere you alls,
Kissypooh

fiona said...

"Sincerely"

fiona said...

How would you compare him to Solzhenitsyn?

Jon A. Alfred E. Michael J. Wile E. SWNID said...

Kissypooh, I'm concerned about (a) the use of a suggestive moniker on this blog; (b) the use of a lower- case letter for a pesonal moniker.

But in case you were wondering, the use of the royal "we" is well attested in various languages, and not just for the divine monarch but also for humans. We use it with satiric arrogance, the main means by which we make fun of ourselves on our blog.

And "we," "us," and "our" are first person, but plural. "Let us" is not passive.

You doesn't want to mess with us on grammar.

Jon A. Alfred E. Michael J. Wile E. SWNID said...

I would compare Sharansky to Solzhenitsyn as partners in the destruction of Soviet totalitarianism. Solzhenitsyn was the eloquent, human voice of literature. Sharansky was the intrepid, brave symbol and catalyst of political opposition. They are both great heroes, with many others who stood up to the Communist Beast for the sake of humanity.

bryan dove said...

a) Interesting factoid: Solzhenitsyn also served in the Red Army that withstood the fascist tide from Nazi Germany.

b) Let all and anyone be warned that grammar is not an area in which one (third person singular) might (present subjunctive) want to avoid (present infinitive) debate with SWNID.

c) I would be interested in a poll that surveyed the majority of Americans who claim that their disapproval of the president is because of his "handling" of the War in Iraq. I am curious to see how many of these fellow citizens could articulate exactly what about the President's involvement in military operations in Iraq is so objectionable. I am fairly confident that the majority of criticism is simply due to a lack of resolve on the matter and some not-so-cunning but alltogether effective propaganda from the president's political opponents. This is why I am so glad to see the good SWNID's contemplation of the president's policy on Iraq as being specifically related to his moral courage. I like the fact that our current leader does not change his mind on the whim of popular opinion especially when it involves such a grave matter as war. We (first person plural) thank you, SWNID, for sharing with us your brilliance. Let us all take heed (first person plural active imperitive) of these wise words.

Kevin K said...

"I like the fact that our current leader does not change his mind on the whim of popular opinion especially when it involves such a grave matter as war."

Now if Mr Bush only had the same moral courage to what is right with the regard to the immigration issue.

Jon A. Alfred E. Michael J. Wile E. SWNID said...

Actually, I believe that President Bush does have "the same moral courage to what is right with the regard to the immigration issue." I hope that he has the political skill and capital to pull it off.