Point of View Columns

World War III

Ever since the end of World War II most people who care about such things have sought to avoid World War III. The apocalyptic vision of a global conflagration has been enough to inspire the founding of the United Nations and literally hundreds of peace keeping missions. Yet, despite the best efforts of the well-intentioned World War III seems to have begun with the war against women in the United States, clouds of war hovering over Iran and Syria and this country mired in the muck of never ending conflict in Afghanistan. It seems that the dogs of war run silent these days.

In the United States a vitriolic campaign against the healthcare rights of women has flooded the Teapublican Party like the spill from a broken sewage pipe. Battles fought long ago are now being resumed with slogans reeking of self-righteous moral fascism.

As always, poor women are the grist for this particularly loathsome mill, but it should be clear that all women are at risk of being in the crosshairs of the right wing of the right wing. It has been proven multiple times that to the extent that women have control over their bodies and reproduction they have a greater opportunity to make affirmative, positive decisions about their future. When that control is limited or taken away, women are shackled to joyless lives with no prospect for a better tomorrow.

While the yahoo candidates of the G.O.Tea Party hoot and holler about abortion and contraception, the real agenda seems to be to deny women of basic healthcare services that are totally unrelated. But we should be clear that the milling mob of Teapublican zealots who advocate transvaginal ultrasound procedures are not only seeking to limit the number of abortions, they are also seeking to humiliate and subjugate women to the will of self-appointed moral czars. As you read this column the war on women is being fought throughout this country and in too many places around this world.

The fact that this country has been at war (in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere) for over a decade has anesthetized Americans to the cost of war. During the past decade over a trillion dollars have been spent and thousands of Americans and untold hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and Afghan citizens have died.

Most Americans glimpse the war between episodes of “American Idol” or during the “salute to the troops” at half time of the Super Bowl. The cost of blood and treasure is quite simply unknown to most of us.

And this empowers the G.O.Tea Party presidential candidates to once again bang the nearly broken drums of war in support of further conflicts in Iran and Afghanistan. And as they utter words of war they lull too many Americans into a sense of omnipotence cushioned with the security of knowing that the wars they embrace will never come to the shores of this country – as if 9/11 never really happened.

The former head of Israel’s Mossad intelligence unit has stated that a war with Iran is a foolish endeavor. American military leaders can’t even begin to determine what a useful military intervention in Syria might look like. But the chicken hawk warriors who have never fought a war, who have never sent men or women to their deaths, feel that it is somehow useful to urge this country into another bloodbath.

And all the while this country is sinking deeper and deeper into the madness that is the war in Afghanistan. After being at war for a decade it should be no mystery that American troops would urinate on corpses, burn Korans or go totally crazy and massacre women and children in their sleep. It is impossible to wade into the fog of war and see clearly.

There is no argument that could possibly justify American troops staying and dying in Afghanistan one more day. This country’s security will not be enhanced next week, next month or next year if U.S. troops stay in Afghanistan. But the price paid in blood and treasure is not worth the gossamer veneer of national security that is supposed to justify this mission.

The world is at war in a more insidious and dangerous way than anyone could have imagined. War has always been the last alternative of a sane society. War is now a choice that is embraced too easily and too often. In playing with the fire of death and battle it is all too possible that a conflagration will begin that will not be extinguished easily.