Hobbes was right. Without the government monopoly on violence, life is nasty brutish and short. The moral of Takhar Province: it is the fear of the greater power of the state that keeps us in line. The moral of Beirut: injustice is better than Civil War. The moral of New York: abandoning state control is a political decision, as is reclaiming it. The moral of Basra: the return of stability will be welcomed everyone of no matter what political affiliation, except perhaps the gunmen.