This is what we’ve waited for. This is it boys, this is war! The President is on the line as ninety-nine red balloons go by. – Nena
If you are younger than 72 years of age, you have never been alive during a world war. If you are a U.S. citizen younger than 152 years of age, you have never experienced a war fought on American soil. Considering the hysterical national reaction to a one-off attack on the “homeland” (Pearl Harbor, World Trade Center), I find myself wondering lately how typical American citizens would react to an all-out air or troop invasion of the United States.
Overall, this country has been inhabited by a mostly affluent and complacent population for longer than I’ve been alive. Most of us have the luxury of speaking our minds and engaging in political activism and protest that is unknown to the citizens of most other countries on Earth. Most of us also have our basic needs of food, shelter and employment fulfilled, leaving us with leftover time and cash to pursue frivolous and/or excessive acquisitions and hobbies. While we are all familiar with the ravages of war as they are displayed on CNN, often because we sent our troops halfway across the world to deliver said ravages on the whim of the President and Congress and defense contractors, what we see usually seems less real to us than a game of Call of Duty. The only American citizens who have experienced the full horrors of war are the soldiers who were dispatched to Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, and other little oil-rich, Islamic and/or Communist corners of the globe. In other words: we have no idea what we may be getting into now that we’ve allowed a power-mad, hair-trigger xenophobic narcissist access to the nuclear codes and command of the armed forces.
Perhaps the prospect of a war with North Korea or Syria isn’t too concerning for the collective of lazy, arrogant arm-chair generals we’ve become. However, should either of those possibilities come to pass, I’m afraid all of us will be horrified at the implications once we allow them to sink in. In both scenarios, the small and unstable nations I just mentioned would be the least of our worries (at least for those of us who are not currently serving in the military). We all had a good laugh when El Presidente recently conceded that such situations are “more complicated than he thought”, but that sort of ignorance from the Commander-in-Chief is no laughing matter. An actual declared war with either of these rogue states would also involve Russia and China; and I assure you, neither of those global juggernauts would be fighting for the interests of the United States…but they would fight with everything in their arsenals to defend their own allies and strategic interests.
At the risk of scaring the living shit out of you, I’d like to remind you of an exchange that occurred about a year ago between MSNBC’s Chris Matthews and Donald Trump. Matthews: “Where would we drop — where would we drop a nuclear weapon in the Middle East?” Trump: “Let me explain. Let me explain. Somebody hits us within ISIS — you wouldn’t fight back with a nuke?” Matthews: “OK. The trouble is, when you said that, the whole world heard it. David Cameron in Britain heard it. The Japanese, where we bombed them in 45, heard it. They`re hearing a guy running for president of the United States talking of maybe using nuclear weapons. Nobody wants to hear that about an American president.” Trump: “Then why are we making them? Why do we make them?”
The horrifying realities of war that many less fortunate people the world over have experienced all too frequently might soon be making their way into the lives of the average American. How will we react? Do we have the collective psychological strength to handle such a thing? Unfortunately – yes, I said unfortunately – we may never know. Considering the probable major players in such a conflict, the only question to ask might be: how will you react in the approximately 2 minute interval between spotting a mushroom cloud on the horizon and the inevitable deadly shock wave? I suppose if you’re lucky, you’ll be in the presence of your loved ones and may get to say a final goodbye and I love you. Otherwise, smoke ‘em if you got ‘em and I’ll see you on the other side.