On The Brink

I was discussing the Iran/Iraq situation with my 27-year-old son last night. He is fairly jacked up about what’s happening, probably because he has friends in the military, and I don’t think he’s ever seen (have any of us?) such a scary situation, being led by nincompoops who are chest-beating egomaniacs with no experience. At one point I told him that my emotional state reminds me of when I was 11, in 4th grade, during the Cuban missile crisis.

I remember all the duck and cover drills we had. Some in the hallway, some under our desks. My father was a Lt. Coronel in the Air Force Reserves, and I guess because he was the highest-ranking officer in our little town in Iowa, he was in charge of the reserves there. But my most vivid memory was of him coming to me, at 11 years old, at some point when that crisis was very tense, and telling me sternly, “If those air-raid sirens go off, I don’t care WHAT they tell you at school. You come home.” He repeated it a few times. I lived about 5 city blocks from the school and if I ran would be home in 10 minutes. The thing was it was one of the few times, maybe only times in my life that I sensed fear in him. I think he was asking me to do that, because I’m guessing that he believed he could get me to someplace safer than a brick hallway or under a desk because of his position in the Reserves. There was no question that I would try as hard as possible to follow his instructions.

The small town in Iowa where I lived had no strategic targets, but down the Mississippi River about 30-40 miles was Rock Island Armory, a huge depot of ammunition. Everyone talked about how it would be a target and back in 1962 I don’t think anyone thought a missile was so accurate that a 30-mile discrepancy over 1000’s of miles was not possible.

I was very very scared, to say the least.

I told my son last night, that as scared as I was then, as an 11-year-old, I had the same gut feeling when the bombs dropped on Iraq last night, and that I was even more fearful because we have a lunatic with his finger on the button, and no generals with any experience in a conflict like this because the lunatic either fired them all or they quit, unable to back him in his lunacy. Back then we had Kennedy, who despite his many flaws, I trusted not to be crazy, not to get us into a war. Those were the days before fake news, before people voted their pocketbooks over their hearts, before egos ran the world, before before before.

My son said he believed we would respond to the attack by Friday, as we repositioned B52’s to Diego Garcia, and called for troops to be increased to 82,000. I said that I just prayed that we would all still be alive by Friday. Then I realized that we had the capability to fire at Iran from anywhere on this earth, a capability they do not currently have. So I suppose that we are insulated in this country from attack, at least from without our borders. But the rest of the world? 1000’s and 1000’s could die if we don’t get this thing toned down. But you know, the maniac in the White House needs a distraction from his impeachment, I really believe that, so here we are. On the brink, with the ground crumbling beneath us.

Each and every one of us has to do what we can. Right now, I think praying, even if you don’t believe, is one of the few options we have. As the saying goes, there are no atheists in a foxhole. But if we make it through this, and in my heart of hearts I believe we will, we need to vote, we need to encourage people in real ways to vote. There can no longer be a silent majority in the country because this is where silence gets us. With leaders who don’t lead, instead of beating their chests with a war cry and blood on their hands.

If not now, when? If not me, who?

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