Monday, September 18, 2006

Words from the past to a world gone mad

Never before has man had such capacity to control his own environment, to end thirst and hunger, to conquer poverty and disease, to banish illiteracy and massive human misery. We have the power to make this the best generation of mankind in the history of the world - or to make it the last.
(John F. Kennedy, UN address, September 20, 1963)

Am I the only one noticing this?

* Item: The president of the United States - the leader of a country once known as a beacon of democracy to the world - has been the primary advocate for policies which have been (for all intents and purposes) violating the Geneva Convention on teatment of war prisoners - and is now looking for a Congressional stamp of approval for their abuses.

Anyone see any fundamental inconsistencies goin' on here? Or is it just me?

* Item: After the world has watched violence break out all over the world for months over cartoons offensive to the Muslim faith, the LA Times says:
The Pope on Tuesday quoted Manuel II Paleologus, a 14th century Byzantine emperor, saying: "Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached."

The speech was designed to provoke a theological debate, Vatican officials said.
No kidding. Looks like it worked...

* Item: Noting, of course, that Muslims everywhere were furious with being represented as violent, evil and inhuman, the LA Times went on to say that Palestinians torched two Christian churches in the West Bank, the second consecutive day of such attacks there. (Yeah, that oughta show 'em...)

But the coup de grace was in my email inbox tonight. As a Time magazine subscriber, I get an "Ahead of TIME" preview of the upcoming issue. And what, do you suppose, is on the cover of this once-prestigious news magazine?

Oh. My. God.

This may sound stupid, but I don't even have to open the magazine to know what war with Iran would look like. In fact, I have every certainty of what war with Iran would look like. It would last about an hour, and it would end like this:

Talk about insanity....whether we are watching Dr. Strangelove or Matthew Broderick's wide-eyed guilt at having set off World War III in WarGames or Jason Robards in The Day After, any one saner than a demented bee knows that there is no such thing as a "limited" response to a nuclear event.

And it is inconceivable that any war effort with Iran would not escalate insanely into a nuclear exchange...regardless whether it was "terrorist" or "governmental" in nature. Anyone who believes otherwise is living in a dangerous fantasy world...

There is no such thing as a "tactical" nuclear weapon, no matter how much any Administration (past and present) claim there to be. There are only small nuclear weapons and big nuclear weapons. And once they are used, even once, that tiny, thin line of sanity will be crossed, and there will be nothing holding anyone back. Once the first nuclear weapon explodes, war becomes a brief round of "well, they hit us first" that only ends in three terrifying letters - MAD.

Mutual Assured Destruction.

We all need to back down from the panic. We need to step away from the table with the sharp knives. The fate of the known world depends on Nancy Reagan's famous motto: "Just say no."

Just say no to violating the very principles that made this nation great. Just say no to saying hurtful things - no matter how intellectually brilliant they might seem in an academic setting. Just say no to picking a fight with people who are surely more fanatical than we are.

Or it will be more than our churches that will burn.

God, help us to back away, gently, from the insanity. Amen...


AnotherLostAngel said...

amen brother. amen.

I feel you so deeply. It seems like the archduke ferdinand all over again. They hit me first....we're right...theyre wrong...we'll show those sonofabitches who really is tough....all the metaphors that are fine for a football game but seem to be extended via the folly of man into national defense. Are we powerless?

brother said...

Sometimes I feel absolutely paralyzed, thinking the kind of thoughts you so eloquently lay out here. And I wonder what the hell I (or anyone else who doesn't have their finger on The Button) could do to help avoid such terrible pictures playing out.

And then I say a prayer and I hope and trust, really hard, that many others are doing likewise .. and that we're LIVING our prayers, in everyday life. Thanks for another great, thought-provoking post.

radioreb said...

Where is the voice of the church if not right here in the underground caves of the blog universe? As followers of a living, loving God, we should be protesting like that Isalmist after the last Papal speech.

The mindset of the Administration should be an outrage to an unpoliticizible (is that a word?) church. It's not even pretending to feign the illusion of keeping the country safe. It's a fear machine. Stealing our fear and awe from God and placing on a god in the form of a bush.

OK, rant over. You rock, Steve!

radioreb said...

what I meant by "that Isalmist" was "the Islamists." Apparently I was typing with my fist.

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