On a more philosophical level, this journey has served to remind me again of how terribly delicate is the fabric of civilization, of the vigilance required to protect it and of the slow and painstaking work of mending it once it has been torn. This is hardly an original thought; it is a lesson we were supposed to have learned after Nazi Germany, after Bosnia and Rwanda. Perhaps it is a lesson we need to constantly relearn.

Incredible work by Scott Anderson at the New York Times. Take a day or two and read the entire thing. For those of us living in peace and prosperity, where the biggest problem we have to face is paying an extra dollar for a cappuccino, we need to remember that evil is always waiting at the gates. There are always those who would throw the world into chaos. The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.