For reasons that sound too paranoid to comfortably convey, I currently fear our world may be coming to the end of times. I know you’ve hear lines like that before, generally from some guy in a bath robe who hasn’t showered since the Reagan administration, and I cannot pinpoint the date, BUT, next week, beginning Oct. 15th, could be the end of the world as we know it. A conjunction of events is coming together so major it makes the harmonic convergence look like a kazoo solo.
Lead among the key factors coming into play is the White House’s relentless press for yet another trifecta of terror, for, as you know, Bush is just jonesing for war with Iran. One could hardly blame him, considering how well the current two debacles are going. Of course, what can you expect when you leave the shooting to Eric (the Dark) Prince from the Black Lagoon?
The estimated total spending already in place in this war on error should top 850 billion, which doesn’t include the spending for the next six years, which even Dems acknowledge is a “rushing it” timetable, nor does it leave time or money for things like saving the environment or poor children’s health insurance and that just how the B-man wants it, conservatively compassionate after all.
So, what’s another couple of trillion if it distracts Americans from the fact we can’t risk having ’08 elections, lest the terrorists win? Bush has been begging for this war on Tehran’s supposed “Islamofascists” (as opposed to the “Christo-fascists,” AKA the Religious Right, AKA Bush’s base) for over a year. Recently, thanks to Jon Kyl (a repug so conservative he won’t even invest enough in education to learn how to spell his own name correctly) and Joe Lieberman (a Dem so rabidly right-wing he makes Rove look red), Congress gave the prez the authorization he needed to light up Tehran like a kosher Christmas tree any time his whim impels him. As it stands, the only thing that stands between linking the war in Iraq to the war in Afghanistan is that pesky theocracy in the middle: Iran. Since Bush has been working so hard to establish a theocracy of his own (remember his 2001 slip acknowledging that his war was a “crusade”?), it is not surprising he would want to knock out the competition.
This is as good a time as any and a better time than most. Just like Aug. of ’01, Bush’s rep is in the toilet and spinning downward, precisely the time a player like Bush would swing for the fences. You can bet he’s just thinking, right now wouldn’t it great if we could just have another “catastrophic and catalyzing event–like a new Pearl Harbor”? Yet, despite the entire corporate news spin machine amped into overdrive trying to make Ahmadinejad appear to be guilty of everything from having a smoking gun in the shape of a mushroom cloud to dropping a deuce in Santa’s eggnog, America hasn’t quite embraced the idea of a third front just yet. But maybe with a bit less freedom to decide what freedoms we choose to exercise we can be forced, er, persuaded, to back another shockingly awful attack.
And that threatening juncture begins, hopefully only in test drive, next week when Operations Vigilant Shield and TOPOFF4 kick off (Oct. 15-21). Combined they are a war games scenario for national martial law and crisis response to two “dirty” bombs and a flu pandemic striking Portland, Oregon, Tucson, AZ and Guam all at once. This baby’s going to involve everybody from NORAD and NORTHCOM to Barney Fife and Deputy Dawg. The last time we had this huge a war games scenario going on was in London, where they were working on a drill of what would happen if the subway was bombed when, guess what? The subway was bombed. The time before that was a scenario where planes crashed into the Pentagon and buildings in New York. Care to guess what day that was? This time the scenario is likely to incorporate the hundreds of Christian ministers and priests who have been training with FEMA to help conduct martial law and “quell dissent” with the same passage the Nazis used to control their public, Romans 13, which translates out of the original ancient text roughly to “shut up and do as you’re told.” Not to mention the dozens of quietly erected detention centers around the country built to house up to 400,000 non-compliant citizens. Of course, it is all just a practice session, and “just in case” and so the detention centers and army of ministers won’t have to be called into play. Or so we can hope.
However, on Wall Street, just as on that fateful day back in 2001, several billion has been placed on “put options,” essentially gambling that the whole shebang is going to go to hell in a handcart before the end of Oct. Gosh-ee, think they again know something that we don’t? Throw in the recent B-52 incident and … you remember that one right? About how on August 30th, a Minot South Dakota Air Force Base B-52 gets loaded with 6 actual live nuclear missiles, the big boom kind Slim Pickens rides at the end of Dr. Strangelove, Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, except a jazillion times bigger?
Anyway despite ten yards of red tape and an entire Diebold semi trailer tractor truck’s worth of failsafes, this “Bent Spear” loose cannon flies across the U.S. of A. all the way to Louisiana … by mistake. Sure. Just like the 2000 election Palm Beach chads were slightly misaligned by mistake.
It would have just been a funny story of “News of the Weird” type inhuman interest, if it wasn’t for the follow-ups stories that didn’t make the mainstream news feed. Like: that Barksdale Air Force, where the bird finally landed, is the embarkation point for US Middle East air strikes; that several Air Force and CIA insiders say that the whole thing was part of a coordinated attack plan with Israel on Syria and Iran that fell through when various whistleblowers made the incident public before the six missiles could get sent to their next unnamed destination. (Israel went ahead and attacked Syria anyway just for good measure.) Or, that all six of the airmen involved in the flight died within two weeks (Sept. 19) of the incident becoming public. Or that three weeks later (Sept.25) a Nashville FAA center shut down and no flights in the entire Southeast were tracked for two hours, which in itself isn’t so scary until you add the fact that only five of the six missiles are currently accounted for.
So, is it time for building bomb shelters, hoarding duct tape and developing a taste for one’s own urine? Hopefully not, but, if that were the case, that would preferable to the scenario that wakes me up at nights: the wailing and gnashing of teeth Armageddon style end of the world that some have been expecting for almost two millennia and dozens of websites like Signs of the End Ministries and ministers around the country have been anticipating for late 2007, starting in all earnest as far back in 2003.
The Revelations style whore of Babylon brought to her knees by thermal nuclear weaponry is a decidedly Christian fear, and here in the United States there are a lot of Christians. It’s also for many, for many, many years, a fondest modest wish that might at last come true. Our president himself claims to be one, a Christian that is, though how you could call yourself a Christian while displaying such hubris, greed and murdering hundreds of thousands of people is beyond me.
You may recall, at the turn of the century Apocalypse was an anxiety that occupied the nation: What if, despite all the efforts and reassurances, maybe, the entire global grid would shut down at the stroke of the millennium and chaos would rule. Y2K? Why not? It could’ve happened for all most of us truly knew. Then midnight came and it didn’t and we all went on and were gladder. Or thought we were, the new American Millennium Economy seemed to be chugging along, globalization was spreading and buying everyone a happy meal. But somehow, since then things have started to go haywire.
America in flames. Righteousness oppressed. The word “God” being ripped from the Pledge of Allegiance. Is America truly independent? Not anymore, with the jobs we’ve sold around the world, more and more of our commodities are tied to foreign trade. Is America truly free? Not if you intend to eat or in any other way inhabit this land of liberty. Is America truly just? Not on your life. Is this crap the work of Satan? Could be.
So it’s no surprise that eventually some of the Christians among us turned to look to the good book of Revelations as a possible way to understand our troubled times, the commercialized version that is, the Left Behind series. Over 50 million copies of a fictionalized Christian Revelations adventure series have sold, creating some pretty stylish dread amongst the populace. Just a few years back, Time Magazine printed a cover story to further plug the publishing phenomenon by scandalizing the rest of us on the likelihood that America’s contemporary global crises (plural) are harbingers of biblical Armageddon. According to Time’s author Nancy Gibbs, more than a third of Americans believe that the bible can be taken literally and a similar third contend that current news events somehow relate to the Christian mythology of the end of the world.
Some, like good ol’ Eric Prince, call themselves “Dominionists” and believe that as Christians it is their right to rule the country and the world, shooting first asking questions later, never mind whatever it was that those annoying atheists like Washington, Franklin and Jefferson had in mind. Others taking it a step further refer to themselves as “Revelationists,” who believe that the entirety of human history is a prelude to a Rapture of 144,000 (and they, not you, intend to be in that number), while the rest of us are headed for the deep end of the lake of fire; and if the time is not quite at hand then they’ll do whatever it takes to force it. While his ministers, like the late Billy Graham, were openly revelationalist, Bush has been cagier than that, so far, though he did claim god talks with him and encouraged the attack on Iraq. There should be little doubt that if George Bush continues kicking everyone in the ribs claiming he’s searching for weapons of mass destruction that eventually he’ll piss off someone who actually has some.
And so, with King George in power and his Prince at the trigger, millions of fundamentalist Christians, just like millions of religious fundamentalists of other religions are crossing their fingers that their own righteous and merciful god is about to start kicking the crap out of the followers of all the other righteous and merciful gods.
Of course, some of us are just glad that the Religious Right is finally seeing what liberals have been saying all along: George W. Bush actually is the devil. Sure, he’s the evil-doer needing a good smoking out, that explains everything. We are not struggling with global warming, increased religious hostilities around the globe, and an unhappy globalization that’s now munching on everyone as if the world was its personal Big Mac, Bush is the antichrist and these are end times.
It all adds up now. Bush has preached peace while selling weapons, security by abusing, justice by torture, and democracy by genocide. Bush used to be in business with Osama’s brother, in bed with Ken Lay, and is still in cahoots with Dick Cheney, who back in 1991, first bombed the heck out of Iraq, then made 22 million as a private contractor to rebuild it. And that ain’t nothing next to the booty Halliburton’s been raking in with the current wars on terror. Just imagine how much they can make if this Iran thing gets going, just imagine. You won’t be the first.
If you combine his environmental/educational debacles, with his social service budget plundering, Enron copulating, Civil Right eviscerating, propaganda spewing, militarist fetishizing, election stealing ways with the ongoing accusations that Bush’s potential tacit approval of the 911 ambush was a way to bolster his sagging corruption ridden presidency, then reasonably respectable news sources combine to suggest the possibility that the Bush administration is involved in something far more evil than anything Clinton could’ve possibly construed with a cigar. Maybe, he is Satan; we’ve had floods, famines, and fire. Who, pray tell, was like unto this beast, er, Bush, who could make war with him?
Surely this torment of Armageddon could go no further, the end is nigh. Or maybe it’s all just a fever dream of someone who watches too much Free Speech TV. But, be warned, millions of Americans awake each day with a taste for fire and brimstone. After all, for some Christians, the idea of the apocalypse offers strange comfort: all those “evil-doers” in the world, the Saddams, the Bin Ladens, those pesky Kyoto Accord/World Court creeps, all the Amy Goodmans and Cindy Sheehans of the world, all the Henry Waxmans, all of them, all will be cast into the lake of fire like they’ve had coming for so damned long.
Then the right religious Christians will have their righteous asses whisked away and get to live in paradise forever with 49 virgins, or something like that. And while that may all sound cool, I don’t believe it is a good enough reason to justify the violence of, say, crashing airplanes into buildings, much less destroying the whole freaking planet. But then personally, unlike some Christians, I am disinclined to follow the voice of destruction, even if it comes from a Burning Bush.