DEAR JON LETTERS
Guns and Nukes and things that should not be
by Dear Jon
June 16, 2009
It once went without saying that three things should never happen in our universe:
Iran with a nuclear bomb.
Gasoline in America priced at over $3.00 per gallon.
Brett Favre suited up as a Minnesota Viking.
The gasoline taboo went out the passenger-side window last summer, when the pumps were ringing up at over $4.00 per gallon. Millions of Americans, including myself, took vacations close to home. These were called "Staycations." Staycation could have been a buzz-word name for a race horse, but I did not think it was all that funny so I left it out.
The Brett Favre scenario became less "unthinkable" and more "thinkable" after his public relations out-of--retirement fiasco with the Green Bay Packers between the 2007 and 2008 seasons. Why anyone would want to touch him now, after the way he ended last season with the Jets, is beyond me. In a way it is comical. Since we KNOW that Favre has no business playing for the Vikings, then if he does, it is the final encore on an heroic opera which has unfolded a third act of farce and absurdity, a musical of clowns for the entertainment of the plebians and groundlings.
Now as to this business of Iran with a nuclear bomb. The conventional wisdom is that of course Iran has no business becoming a nuclear power and thus an imminent "seconds to midnight" threat to the entire region including Israel. To permit Iran to develop nuclear weapons is tantamount to permitting Hitler to rearm, and then to remilitarize the Rhine. Hind-sight is twenty-twenty. Our world has learned and practiced a policy that it is better to handle villainous rogues while they are still second-or-third-rate powers, rather than get sucked into a global conflagration. This philosophy has been imperfectly and even hypocritally administered and many mistakes have been made along the way. Even so, we went twenty years between world wars. We are now 64 years since a world war and counting. Success has more than one measure.
Cutting against the grain of the conventional wisdom, are those who insist that Iran has certain inalienable rights as a sovereign state. Considering the past several decades of harmful foreign engagement at Iran's expense, it is no wonder that they would develop a nuclear deterrent. Furthermore, it is always best to lead the way by a peace-promoting example, and never to engage in a war unless attacked.
This is also true. It is not enough to say that the destruction of the World Trade Center was such an attack. Going after a particular state of specific terror sponsors was the measured and appropriate response. However, widening our commitments to include a mission against Iraq, which had nothing whatsoever to do with the World Trade Center destruction, is part of the more general policy that has been "imperfectly and even hypocritally administered" as stated above. Dear Jon hopes to settle the issue of Iran obtaining nuclear weapons by an analogy that Americans can understand.
You have an inalienable right to own fire-arms, as many as you like. The Federal Government has no jurisdiction to force you to put on trigger locks or to buy safes. However, a right that is inalienable is not the same as saying that a right is without restriction. It makes sense to restrict the ability of certified psychotics from purchasing weapons. Part of the puzzle in the horrific Virginia Tech gun-slaughter tragedy is that the perpetrator was certifiably psychotic and expressly forbidden, by a court injunction, from purchasing fire-arms.
Around the world various views of reality are in competition. Some views of reality will inherently foster more violence than other views. Among those world-views that see violence as a means to an end--and that view includes American Capitalized Democracy as practiced throughout our history--there may be views that also include an inherent paranoia concerning the villainy in others. Throughout American history this fear-based suspicion has resulted in extreme forms of inhumanity in numerous localized events, such as, the Sand Creek Massacre of American Natives by the Colorado militia.
Yet even broad forms of suppression and oppression, such as the reservation system, have had people advocating for the down-trodden and seeking to limit inhumane policies while enforcing protections for dignity and justice. The result is a mixed bag for which the majority of Americans (once informed) feel rightly embarrassed. We try to balance competing interests of humanity and justice with the economic interests of expansionist capitalism. We do not balance it very well, and we suffer for the imbalance. The most extreme example of America's convulsions over its own self-contradictions, is the Civil War, which destroyed whole states and claimed the lives of over 600,00 American combatants, more than all other American wars combined.
Some world-views are in fact established on the specific belief that whole people groups are guilty of villainy, and these philosophies expressly connect individuals to their nation of origin and ethnic background. These world-views, be they Nazi European-style, or American Nazi, or Hutu hatred against Tutsis, or anti-Israel Islamic Jihadism, regardless of the numbers of adherents, are inhumane and malignant. These are social psychoses which the international community advisedly monitors and attempts to hold in check.
We know these groups and world-views for what they are because they publish and broadcast their goals to the whole world, just as Hitler did with two volumes of Mein Kampf in the 1920's. It is absolutely insane to give someone with a Hitler-like penchant for ruthlessness, blood-lust, and inhumane bigotry, the atomic bomb. Suppose that the Nazis had developed the atomic bomb first? How likely is it that London would have survived the war? If the nukes were not loaded onto the V-2s and jets until winter 1944, perhaps Rome and Paris and Kiev would have been reduced to ashes as well.
The written word, the published and broadcast statements of the purveyors of paranoia and inhumanity, betrays to the world the absence of consience. On that basis--the basis of the written word-- an English teacher reported a sick student, who was banned by a court of law from owning fire-arms. But in our nation we lack the ability for our jurisdictions to communicate with each other. He bought his guns, and he killed a lot of VTI students.
What we have at the international level is a better and more efficient means of sharing information. The head of state of a regional power declares early in his speech that Israel should be removed from the map of the world, and at the edge of his speech speaks of developing a nuclear deterrent against western aggression. That is not a matter of the FBI getting the file on a local court case. That stuff is carried over Al Jazeera and CNN into the situation rooms of national governments the world over.
Iran's leadership is malignant and psychotic and paranoid. This is not a matter of suspicion or distrust. It is a matter of taking the published statements of their current regime at face value. Iran has no business keeping a stock-pile of nuclear weapons. The international community is absolutely right to take action against that happening. If our world does not, we will be blaming ourselves for all we failed to do-- on the other side of World War III.
Oh, and if Brett Favre suits up in purple and gold for the Vikings, here is hoping that on his trip to Lambeau Field the Packers turn him black and blue. I have more to say but I have to stop this now and fill up the mini-van before the prices go up again.
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