Monday, July 17, 2006

World War III

I remember being a kid growing up during the Cold War era. In middle school, we were shown a film called The Day After (to our collective horror). Some of the images in that film are still burned into my mind to this day. According to the film, World War III would come in the form of various nuclear-powered countries obliterating the hell out of America and each other. I remember after seeing the film, everyone in the school was familiarized with our local bomb shelters and the cool kids had basements with jars of peaches lining the walls. I guess i missed the memo where home-canned peaches were the key to surviving thermonuclear war.

Over the next 20 or so years, various nuclear disarmament treaties have eased collective minds as to the dwindling possibilities of World War III. But that's only because we were thinking of World War III in narrow terms. We viewed it as countries officially declaring war on one another and fighter bombs and warships engaging on all sides.

What we did not and probably could not have anticipated is happening now. Radical and individual extremist groups waging their own personal wars on countries with bombs in rucksacks and timers in #2 pencils and cellphones. They don't need government support. They use the internet to claim their crimes and disseminate their propaganda.

that reminds me of a quote by Einstein...i'm paraphrasing but the jist is that technology has advanced at a much faster pace than the human race itself has evolved. It's gotten ahead of us. Our common sense and self-preservation is lagging behind. And people just like me who live in Israel and Lebanon and Iraq and Iran and Afghanistan and India..regular folks who are just trying to make a living and see a concert, and catch the train to school and find a good ice cream cone and get to the doctor's office...we/they pay with life. It is not lost on me how lucky i am to not be faced with uncharted bombs raining down on my home and office. I sleep in peace. i feel a mixture of relief and guilt about that...

But back to the issue at hand...mainly government and media denial. I can't stand it when i see Condi et al saying that Iraq is 'on the brink of civil war'. No. they are IN one. But it seems to publicly declare it so would force someone in the U.S. government to say that we've caused it. and of course no one wants to do that. Now Israel and Hezbollah. the dominos keep falling. The Taliban and Al Qaeda keep getting stronger. Some speculate that we are heading 'towards World War III'. No. We are in it. And i'm terrified.

I envy the innocence of my children. They only worry about school and swimming, and what's for dessert. They concern themselves with the release dates of their favorite films and the theme songs of their favorite cartoons. Pumpkin likes to watch Wheel of Fortune. Munchkin prefers Millionaire. I wish i could go back in time and be that oblivious. What good does all this awareness do when there's nothing i can do to help anyone who is suffering?

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