I am old enough to remember the dawn of the now-bygone Blog Age, when the internet was new and full of promise. A time that offered a choice to ignore the mainstream media and its "facts" (or rather, fantasies) about the wars half the world away - or in my case, on my doorstep - because there were people posting their first-hand accounts online.
One of those places was Antiwar.com, where I checked in daily during the Kosovo War of 1999 (a formative experience for me, in many ways), and kept returning to in the sordid aftermath. Justin Raimondo's "Behind the Headlines" column was a breath of fresh air in the fetid swamp or mainstream media garbage, which all followed the same talking points that I knew were lies from just a few years prior, when I lived all that and more in Bosnia.
I had poured my frustration with the lies, propaganda, fake news and atrocity porn out in "letters to the editor" format essays that ended up being posted on a couple of websites. Somehow - I don't remember exactly how - one of those texts made it to Antiwar.com. It was late 2000 by that point, and the "color revolution" was about to happen in Serbia. So imagine my shock when Justin himself reached out to me and asked if I would be the Balkans columnist for Antiwar.com.
Would I ever! And so I did.
Over the next 14 years, I learned a lot from Justin - about writing, about liberty, about perseverance. I am what I am today in great part thanks to writing hundreds of essays and blog posts published by Antiwar.com.
When he announced he had cancer, but was responding well to treatment, I was hopeful. When he stopped writing and tweeting, I feared the worst. He passed away on June 27.
The cause of liberty - and of America's redemption from Empire to the republic it was meant to be - has lost one of its greatest champions. I have lost a dear colleague and a mentor. But Justin's legacy will endure so long as people remember him, and carry on the torch of freedom, non-aggression and peace that he held forth for so long.
Now his watch has ended. May he rest in peace. But Antiwar.com is still around. And its current writers and editors - as well as alumni like me, who have moved on to other things but still believe in its mission - still have a war against war to fight, and win.
Let's be about it.