Calgon – take me away!

Maybe I’ll just go to all good news all the time. Wouldn’t that be special? Well, we’ll start with TD Brother (a/k/a The Rabid Dog) and congratulate him on his wedding; a great time was had by all, and it was wonderful to see some of the TD cousins we haven’t seen in far too long… (because let’s face it… how often does your only brother get married?)
The other good news comes to us from the far Pacific, where thanks to international help led by Her Majesty’s Navy, seven intrepid Russian submariners were rescued from their trapped AS-28 mini-sub off the Kamchatka coast. For a little back story on the international efforts to save the crew (which I’m sure the world will join me in taking delight that it proved to be a successful rescue), check this out from our comrades at Pravda.
You see, what’s amazing is that fifteen or twenty years ago, this kind of rescue would have been unthinkable; the then Soviet Union was our mortal enemy, and was capable of hurling hundreds of nuclear war heads at us and obliterating our existence in a matter of hours. On the somber occasion of the 60th anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing (yesterday), I give you this unnecessarily (and erroneously) scathingly anti-American piece from our buddy Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey, of Pravda.
Regulars here (particularly those of you so regular that you even read this thing on weekends) know that I often link to Mr. Bancroft-Hinchey’s pieces; though often (like the current one) scathingly anti-American, the critiques are often painfully close. This one doesn’t work, of course: by August of 1945, World War II was approaching its sixth anniversary; Germany had already surrendered, and Japan was facing set back after set back, and yet, showed no signs of relenting. The fact is, we had already fire-bombed Tokyo using conventional incendiary devices, with casualties and damage at least in the same league as the atomic bomb, if not quite the same number. An all out invasion of the Japanese home islands would have resulted in hundreds of thousands of additional American casualties, and millions of Japanese.
I read a few years ago that Colonel Paul Tibbets who led the bombing mission was thought by many in Japan to be a hero: “Tojo would have killed us all” being the appropriate sentiment. The fact is, not even Hiroshima brought capitulation from Japan: a second demonstration was required before the Japanese sued for peace…
Why do I say this? First, this quote from Leon Trotsky (with whom I and Sen. Hillary Clinton share a birthday): “Where force is necessary, there it must be applied boldly, decisively and completely. But one must know the limitations of force; one must know when to blend force with a maneuver, a blow with an agreement.”
Since I’m on a good news theme, let me just go with it: we do not face an unprecedented threat today. The world is, in fact, infinitely
safer than it has ever been before, certainly safer than it has been since that horrible, yet unbelievably wonderful, month of August 1945, when man’s ultimate dream– that of annihiliating himself and everything else on the planet– became demonstrated as not merely possible, but easy. And for nearly half a century, we teetered on the brink of instant annihilation. We no longer do. Are there individual problems out there? Yes. People who hate us? Yes. Criminals, who every now and again are going to get through and hurt us? Yes. Possible that some maniac might sneak in here with an A-bomb? Yup. Same scenarios we’ve been seeing since James Bond movies from the early 60’s, btw. Any reason whatsoever to change our world view, that this is not the safest, most wonderful time we ever had and therefore we should throw away our promise, our freedom, our morality… um… no. You see, 9-11 changed nothing, other than rhetoric, perception, and a pretty frank demonstration that Americans don’t understand SHIT about ANYTHING.
Was Hitler an existential threat to us all? Oh yes. Was the prospect of thousands of Soviet ICBMs? Oh, yeah– as terrifying as it gets. Osama fucking bin laden? Give me a fucking break, people.
I was born in the middle of the Cuban missile crisis. I spent the morning of 9-11 100 yards or so from the World Trade Center. Every work day morning, I go to work roughly 100 yards from that very same site (in a different direction), via the New York City subway system. Am I ever worried? I’d be a damned liar if I said I wasn’t. But I’ll tell you what: I’m a damned sight more worried that we’re just going to throw away everything that made this country great because we don’t have a freaking clue about how God damned good we have it.
Congratulations, TD Brother and Sister-in-Law. Vasa d’aroviyev, crew of AS-28 (and thank you, Her Majesty’s Navy). The world is a wonderful place, boys and girls. Unless we don’t want it to be, of course, in which case, it won’t be.