The Good Old Days of Nuclear War
The Day After was on the Sci-Fi channel tonight. If you don't know it, it's a movie from 1982 that shows the build up and the aftermath of a nuclear war. It takes place in Kansas City and Lawrence, Kansas and was heavily praised for its realistic portrayal of what the aftermath of a nuclear war might look like. It was a discussion on the movie that prompted Carl Hiassen to say of the Cold War, "Two sworn enemies standing waist-deep in gasoline, one with three matches, the other with five."
I don't know if the Sci-Fi channel program director decided to put it on for kicks or if the world is paying a bit more attention to what's going on in Georgia and South Ossetia right now. The most frightening part of this who whole debacle is the decidedly hard-line tones the United States and Russia have taken with one another. It seems like the rhetoric of the last few days has ramped up to a level unseen since the darkest days of the Cold War.
While much of this can be dismissed as posturing, it remains troubling. Eralier today the Secretary of Defense remarked that “If Russia does not step back from its aggressive posture and actions in Georgia, the U.S.-Russian relationship could be adversely affected for years to come.” This is very strong talk for an administration that has proved several times over that it does not bluff. I can't imagine that the government of the United States would be as completey out-of-touch with reality to even consider a military engagement with Russia. That said, I also could never imagine this country detaining people without legal protection, mass tortures of detainees under our control and the complete annihilation of the effectiveness of our Armed Forces outside the regions they are currently deployed to.
I watched the whole movie and the ending is incredibly bleak. Dying camps of refugees, lawlessness and no hope anywhere. Having watched this, I can't understand how anyone could promote conflict with Russia. It seems as thought the rhetoric of the Right has grown so nostalgic for the Cold War and in need of a real Enemy that they have once again convinced themselves that America can defeat anyone on any battlefield.
While I dont underestimate the strength and resolve of the U.S. Military, it is preposterous to think that after 6 years of having strength sapped by small groups of jihadis the military can reposture overnight and be in any way prepared to fight a conventional war in mountainous terrain. While U.S. air and naval power is being touted as a possible escalation if the Russian advance continues, it is undeniably naïve to think that there is any positive outcome to a military engagement with the Russians. Allowing our troops anywhere in visual range of Russian forces is simply begging for an accident to kick off the next world war, onbe we are not equipped or prepared to fight.
Watching healthy people in heavy make-up cry as their hair falls out from radiation sickness is sobering. Even though you know it's fake when you watch it, you can't help but spend the next hour thinking about what could happen. It is unbelievably arrogant for the leaders of this country to think that anything good could come from engagement with the Russians. While the Right poiunts fingers and calls detractors appeasors, it is important to remember that if things go really bad, we can't just pull the troops out like we can in Iraq. There is no coming back from nuclear war and as the specter has risen once again, people would be wise to remember that.