Paul Andersen: ‘Tomb of the Unborn Soldier’
Russia said last week that plans by the United States to deploy weapons in space would deal an irreversible blow to the current security balance in space. According to the foreign ministry, “Russia does not have plans to solve problems in space using weapons.”
Problems in space? Are astronauts at the international space station arguing over games of cribbage or who gets to spacewalk?
Space sabers are rattling at the White House, setting the stage for a cosmic arms race to determine what nation dominates the lifeless void with force — as soon as enough life gets there to use force on. Nature abhors a vacuum and humanity appears to abhor peace.
“The Trump administration has begun to put a price tag on its growing arms race with Russia and China,” reported The New York Times, “and the early numbers indicate that strategy will cost tens of billions of dollars over the next decade.”
And so, another windfall for the merchants of death, thanks to war mongering statesmen who equate security with killing power and virtue in body counts.
A recent news report pointed out that for more than 18 years, the “forever war,” as the war on terrorism is known, has been used as the basis for an ever-expanding range of military actions, like the George Bush/Dick Cheney-inspired invasion of Iraq that killed upward of 300,000 and ramped up the suicide rate among U.S. veterans to 22 a day.
These “forever wars” should inspire another war memorial — Tomb of the Unborn Soldier — to honor future human sacrifices to the insatiable bloodlust of bellicose nation states whose sociopathic leaders are eager to shoot first and ask clemency later.
Chiseled into one side of a black marble block will be, “AND SO IT GOES …,” the sigh of lament Kurt Vonnegut coined in “Slaughterhouse Five.” Such will be the epitaph for unborn troops whose lives are already being gambled, long before the zygote stage. Upon this block, future parents may lay garlands of lilies.
On the other side of the marble block, also carved into stone, will be Rodney King’s rhetorical plea: “CAN’T WE ALL JUST GET ALONG?”
Apparently not. Getting along would mean the end of war, and that would hurt arms sales and reduce profits for defense contractors like General Dynamics, Raytheon and other designers of death.
Now that our emboldened commander in chief has scored his first public kill, he can boast of not only shooting someone with impunity on Fifth Avenue, but having the world’s most powerful hitmen at his disposal for assassinations the world over.
Such surgical kills and the conflicts they spawn are unnecessary and stupid, according to news analysts who point out that the interminable conflicts in which the US is embroiled have raised a stark moral question: “Whether any of the wars are still justified given the tolls — psychological, physical and spiritual — they have exacted on the United States and many other nations.”
Farhad Manjoo, a New York Times opinion writer, states: “War isn’t just tragic. It is increasingly dumb and pointless. War is becoming an outdated means of human conflict resolution. Let us not go again to war. Let us not go to war because we cannot afford to ‘win’ another war.”
Most contemporary wars end with Pyrrhic victories, where the losses in no way justify the wins. Pyrrhus was a Greek leader who, by defeating the Romans in 279 B.C., sustained such heavy losses that he declared, “One more such victory and I am lost.”
And so we are all lost when war sucks up blood and treasure and spits back the psycho-emotional damage of PTSD. And soon space will be the final frontier, where armed forces will invade the black void, an infinite hole into which lives can be thrown far into the future.
And so the Tomb of the Unborn Soldier will make tangible the perpetuation of war, memorializing an obsolete assault against reason, virtue and the future of humanity as a planetary species.
“Anytime we are fighting each other,” concludes Manjoo, “we are absconding in the larger and more important fight for the habitability of the planet.”
And so it goes …
Paul Andersen’s column appears on Mondays. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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