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15 Minutes Left

by Dear Jon
May 20, 2008

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ACTUAL LETTER TO DEAR JON:

Dear Jon,

If you knew you had fifteen minutes left to live--because a nuclear bomb was going to explode or an asteroid was going to hit, so that you had all your normal functions of life--how would you spend those fifteen minutes? How would you advise others to spend their last fifteen minutes.

Sincerely,
Always fifteen minutes late

Dear Minutes,

Will it be possible to be "fashionably late" for the end of the world?

If I had fifteen minutes of warning, I probably have had more than that, maybe on the order of 2 or 3 hours, which means I would be spending those last fifteen minutes bunkered in somehow. If earthquakes are predicted after the asteroid hits, I'll be standing in a doorway. If tornadoes are on their way, I'll be in my basement. The closest scenario to having only fifteen minutes of warning is the intercontinental ballistic missile. In any of these cases, I will probably be doing what most people will be doing if they have had fifteen minutes of warning. I'll be praying, something like this:

"Please God I don't want to DIE!"

That is what happens when one's life is under an imminent threat. We don't think about any long-term issues beyond survival. For example, if I with my family were to survive the initial nuclear holocaust of civilization, would I want to become the responsible provider for them, including a very young child? What and how would I go about doing that in an environment of fatally toxic water, air, and soil?

Would it not be better to die together as a family? In the midst of the public's frantic rush to loot all the surrounding Home Depot's® of their duct tape, and of cars ignoring traffic laws in their mad dash to somehow "escape," would it not be better to be with the family, hands joined, to talk about our cherished memories of our life together and to prepare our souls for the next passage?

It would be better, but that is not the adrenaline-programmed response to crisis.

Speaking of the end of the world and not wanting to die and so on, I have a couple of things that need to be said to the American public.

First of all, any supposed parallels drawn between the American government's response to Hurricane Katrina and the Myanmar regime's response to the cyclone three weeks ago are absurd and idiotic. The sheer scale of the disaster in Myanmar, with over one hundred thousand dead, is itself an indication of the ruin of the state under the Stalinist dictatorship. For example, even Louisiana has paved roads, and the civil safety plans were executed including alarms and alerts and evacuation plans. We measure the death toll under this cataclysmic force of nature in the hundreds, not the hundreds of thousands.

This week Myanmar flatly refused any relief flights on American helicopters. They are criminally paranoid and genocidal to a degree unfathomable by most Americans and our governments. I would welcome a United Nations effort headed up by a joint force of Canadian, Australian, Indian and French commandos to remove the whackos that are in power and install a provisional international government.

Second, according to ABC News as reported on Monday, May 19th, Barak Obama's comments that Iran is less of a threat than that posed by the Soviet Union is right on target. John McCain is at best an historical revisionist and at worst a deceitful deluded blow-hard for attempting to rebut Obama on that point.

A.  McCain was a prisoner in North Vietnam, a regime propped up by Soviet weapons, intelligence and advisors. The Vietnam "hot war" against communism exceeded the death rate of U.S. forces in the War on Terror on a scale of 13 to 1. It disappoints me that McCain, for having survived this brutal experience 40 years ago, would pander now to the rhetoric of neo-conservative electioneering.
 
B.  Do I have to remind Republicans and neo-conservatives that the world once lived under a Cold War philosophy called "Mutual Assured Destruction"? That meant that we had Soviet ICBMs targeting every city, airport and installation in the United States, and we had even more pointed at them. How long would it take for Iran to create that kind of massive nuclear force?
 
C.  Iran sponsors terrorists the way the Soviets sponsored communist regimes. Iran's regime is rightly called evil by our sitting president, just as the Soviet Union had rightly been called evil by President Reagan. However, their ability to harm America to the point of reducing us to a third-rate power does not exist. At most the Iranian government would have to count on a spectacular coordinated effort of simultaneous explosions by smuggled nuclear bombs. Would anyone in Tehran reasonably expect that we would tolerate that occurring? Many Americans can hardly wait to turn Iran into a blast furnace, with Tehran at ground zero. We're not going to wait until we have no cities left. The "assured destruction" is far from mutual. It's okay though; most Iranians would have at least 15 minutes of warning.
 
D.  Funny thing is, we talked to the Soviets. Remember the summits? Remember the Kitchen Debate? Remember Iceland? Barak Obama is naïve …how?
 
E.  Are Americans really this forgetful, i.e. stupid? I'm asking as a conservative who would vote for McCain over Obama given two conditions: the right running mate, and that he stop spewing garbage like this. 

Dear Jon is already tired of this election. If we get more asinine comments like what surfaced from the McCain camp this week, I will probably exile myself and join the commandos of the French Foreign Legion. Once I rise to the rank of Major General I'll send you a post-card from Myanmar.

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