"I told ya so!"
That being said, I have two things to add before jumping onto my topic: I’m not dead yet, to the certain dismay of a number of people. I’m entitled to my fits of chronic depression and lassitude; I worked long and hard for them. If those fits include the urge to watch TV or sit on my deck and enjoy the blessed silence above Dooley Creek instead of jumping online to see who might be lurking in the e-mail box, then I have no excuse, pardon, or owe no one an apology. Sometimes the life of quiet contemplation is its own reward.
I read my mail, and other people’s blogs, more often than they suspect. Often, like Native Americans—“Injuns” in the un-PC vernacular—I have nothing to say that would add anything to the already-established commentary. Therefore, taking a lesson from Injun wisdom, I say nothing. There is also an old Chinese proverb: “Better to remain silent and let people think you a fool, than to speak, and remove all doubt.”
I have this space for shouting out when the urge seizes me; more often these days, the urge to holler follows my libido and social life into oblivion.
To the point: I had an interesting conversation with a preacher’s wife this morning. To make ends meet, her husband runs a trash pick-up route, and includes me among his customers. I had called to tell her the check will clear, so go ahead and cash it. (We rural types run on shoe-strings, so such procrastination is not unusual.) J--- then told me that R----- has baptized 12 out of 18 souls in the last two weeks. That got to a speculation of the increase of spirituality in the face of increased nuclear proliferation around the world.
Constant readers know that I do not profess my flavor of faith on this site. I do not hand out pamphlets on the street, or walk up to strangers to ask if they’re saved. I will, however give a stunning testimony to God’s grace and purpose if asked. When my health permits, I run a jailhouse “ministry” where I tell guys—and sometimes girls—in lockup what a mustard seed of faith will prevail against a mountain of doubt and dismissal.
Often, I get cussed and otherwise blown off. That’s okay; I can cuss back with amazing agility. If the Movie Channel™ is more important than spiritual well-being, I won’t argue. I came by my bit of faith through a life-changing event; if someone dismisses me as a kook or a fanatic, then they are not yet ready. Dollars to doughnuts says the first time an agnostic is faced with mortal peril, he/she screams “Oh God!”
Spirituality combines with the Libertarian perspective. This goes to the latter part of the cliché of “Kill ‘em all and let God sort ‘em out.” God will, indeed, sort us all out.
I don’t think God will find much favor with anyone insane enough to employ a nuclear device. I could be wrong. Despite sermons advising that we cannot know God’s will, or employ human standards to discern the inscrutable, I have always thought that God has a wonderful, perverse sense of humor. He gave us cancer, tooth decay, and He has given us nukes. He made a promise to Noah about no more floods, but there was nothing else “on the table”, as modern negotiators phrase it.
We have been given the means of our own destruction, not as members of a race or religion, but as members of a species. It’s called “the human race”. That means is currently in the hands of two nuts: Mr. Kim in the DPRK [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea—remember the “Democrat” part when you vote for mob rule next month]—and Mr. “Ah’m-a-madman” in Iran.
Kim is a strange duck, but he can be reasoned with. Communism and Socialism, like certain forms of American “progressivism”, are flawed systems whose alleged logic will not withstand the scrutiny of time. If we give Those People—my pet name for American “progressives”—their way, we will make Neville Chamberlain—the great appeaser of pre-War II—look like George Soros, who spent time in a Nazi concentration camp, and ought to know better. We cannot negotiate with lunatics.
Communism is a secular ideological system; one that depends upon survival to prove its inherent superiority. The fact that it is philosophically and practically flawed beyond redemption doesn’t dissuade true believers like Kim, Hugo Chavez, and Castro. They believe that given enough time, they can make their ideas work. Communism and Socialism eschew God and spirituality in any form, in favor of their “social dialectic”, or whatever they call it. The important point is, they believe their system will work, if they can keep it alive. Reprehensible as they may be, these people can be negotiated with. It may be difficult; it may be impossible. Kim is an odd character, and a desperate despot. However, like other tin-pot dictators, he may be satisfied with his collection of young girls and the expensive contents of his liquor closet.
On the other hand, “Ah’m-a-madman” gets his marching orders from Allah. The former hostage-taker [see: 1978 Iranian takeover of the US embassy] is a true believer of the most dangerous sort. The only reason he doesn’t strap on an explosive belt and board an airliner is because the mullahs have allowed him to run a country. He is a treacherous fanatic who cannot be reasoned or negotiated with. He has two priorities: the destruction of Israel, and the destruction of the United States. He doesn’t care who might die to achieve these aims. They are absolutes in his twisted thinking. He does not care for the preservation of his political ideology, and whatever his personal appetites, they do not affect his actions as a dictator. Kim is pretty much a known quantity; he can be had for the right price. Ah’m-a-madman knows no such secular limitations. If I was running something, Iran would take precedence over the DPRK as a strategic target and a recognized threat to civilization. It is convenient that we have half an army next door in Iraq; I know what my next move would be, but I don’t govern anything besides my dogs in the backyard on Scorpion Hill.
My mountain retreat is a long way from any significant nuclear target. Assuming the ters don’t realize the significance of an EMP [electromagnetic pulse] over the visceral satisfaction of destroying a physical target like, say, Manhattan, the internet may continue to function, and I may be able to post the sad post-mortem of “I told ya so.” An EMP destroys most solid-state equipment like home computers, portable data devices, et cetera, so a nuclear airburst could leave much of our technology-dependant society paralyzed. Terrorists are not dummies, despite the fact they live in caves and pervert a 14th century religion. I am not relishing the influx of homeless, foodless refugees from the People’s Republic of Atlanta, any more than the Chinese are looking forward to the anticipated flood of North Koreans if Kim does something badly wrong with his new toys. At least the Chinese have enough sense to begin construction of a border fence; we are barely past voting in favor of one.
The world has moved one step closer to the coming nuclear incident. Unlike Those People, who are seemingly concerned more with preserving Willie the Zipper’s legacy and regaining their lost political power, I have an answer to the growing problem of nuclear proliferation.
In War II, we were the “first with the most”, as the great cavalry commander Bedford Forrest said. Despite our victory in World War III, we retain our nuclear deterrent, to the tune of 30,000 warheads, and the means to deliver them. Since victory over the Soviets has defaulted us into the role of the world’s policeman, we should accept this role and act accordingly. Any nation-state, no matter how great or small, should be assured of one certainty: no matter how large or small, the deployment of any nuclear device will result in instant, irrevocable, and total retaliation by the United States. Any country that detonates a nuke in an aggressive mode will be totally annihilated. It is a ruthless horror that defies imagination, and runs contrary to our best instincts and principles, but I see no other alternative besides chaos, holocaust, and jihad. It might take an hour or so to re-target our ICBMs, but no matter how many times some petty nuclear dictator might say “Sorry! Just kidding!” in the interim, it should not affect a LOW [Launch On Warning—of a nuclear event]. You use it, you lose it… “It” being your entire country, in this instance. MAD [Mutually Assured Destruction] worked fairly well during War III with the Soviets. AA [my term for Assured Annihilation] is the last card in our deck for today’s nuclear threats from nation-states of any size or potency.
As for the terrorists who might “borrow” one of these nuclear devices like you’d borrow your neighbor’s lawnmower, I’ll add this:
A would-be politician with the unlikely name of Raj Bhaktar recently splashed around in the Rio Grande River near Brazos, Texas. He was riding an elephant. He had a mariachi band serenade him as he waded ashore under the watchful eyes of US customs at the border crossing from Mexico. Not a single ICE agent bothered to walk down to the river and ask him who he was, where he came from, or what the deal was with the elephant. In the world according to the open-border advocates, a sophisticated nuclear delivery system is a moot point; a pachyderm will suffice.
(According to Mr. Bhaktar, an agent of the US Department of Agriculture showed up an hour and a half after the filming. The agent wanted to be assured that the elephant had been sprayed for ticks, in case it had actually crossed the border.)
Going full-circle to spirituality, I am at the point of not caring any longer. Ignorance, apathy, and indifference kick in: “I don’t know, I don’t care, and it doesn’t matter anyhow.” In my mid-fifties, I am closer to the end than the beginning, and my faith dictates that a merciful God may spare me for my indiscretions and lack of major sin during the short run of my life.
I have baffled and enraged everyone from Jehovah’s Witnesses to my fellow Baptists with the simple assertion that we are a kind of experiment by God. Having given us the means of our own destruction, in the form of nuclear weapons, The Creator is sitting back and chuckling as He watches to see what we will do with this knowledge. (If you prefer Robert Heinlein’s cosmic view, God travels at the speed of the light He created, and the universe is a large place. He had business elsewhere, but He’s on his way back at light speed, and He is not happy with what we’ve been doing in His absence. We have a few more minutes before He arrives, and we'd best be doing something positive. I like this theory.)
When I was a child, “they” said that growing up with the threat of “atomic warfare” would traumatize our generation. Despite the “duck-and-cover” exercises in my elementary schools, I never took nuclear warfare seriously. Even later in life, having seen mass death, the notion of thermonuclear holocaust was inconceivable. My faith in God wavered, but never the conviction that nuclear genocide is unthinkable.
My first nuclear nightmare occurred in 1979, during the Iran hostage crisis, as it’s now called. I clearly remember an F-16 fighter-bomber flying into a mushroom cloud. That image has lingered over three decades. Ironically, Ah’m-a-madman was one of the ramrods on that fiasco. (I often wonder what the ultimate outcome might’ve been had Jimmy Carter sent the B-52s to level the holy city of Qom, with a promise that Tehran would be next, and the 52 hostage lives were non-negotiable. It’s a ruthless notion, but the World Trade Center and 3000 lives might be thriving today, otherwise.)
There are times when “I told ya so” is a viscerally satisfying announcement to make to my fellow human beings. The wake of a nuclear event is not going to be one of those times. I am right with my God, as I can vaguely understand Him. I can handle whatever happens next; can you?