Last Saturday night my wife and I were guests at the Iranian-American New Year's banquet and celebration. What a fun, passionate and vibrant group. I'm still humming some of their tunes. Prior to the raucous dancing, at least, the topic of table conversation naturally went to the war in Iraq. The Iranians (at our table) expressed sadness at the inevitable loss of innocent life in Iraq, but they joked (sometimes quite seriously) that they were hoping that coalition forces would continue east into Iran and liberate their homeland, as well. One wanted to phone his request to GW. Unlike some (even on this ng) they don't see the current war as an act of American aggression or invasion, but a near-heroic act in helping those who can't help themselves to throw off a monster that is responsible for, among other atrocities, an estimated 1,000,000+ Iraqui civilian deaths per year. They don't think much better of their own Ayatollah and his bunch. They explained to us that everything is so immediate in America. These middle-easterners tend to take a long-term view of things, and stated to us that if civilians had to die to bring long-term freedom to their country, that was likely to be a relatively small price to pay in view of the long-term benefits for the future of their country. With 70% of their population under 30, they are a generation ready for freedom. For whatever it is worth to the dialogue, these were the sentiments among those we spent the evening with. Paladin Ho-Dara Shork!