Jack wrote this in July, 2005:
I figure this is going to be a subject that’s going to be beaten to death all over the internet for a while, so I might as well muscle up to the trough early.
I usually try not to give current news events more attention than they deserve. However, someone sent me an email saying there were terrorist attacks in London, suggesting I turn on my TV. When I responded that I don’t have a TV along came a link to Fox News.
I pondered this a while, wondering idly about the magnitude of the event, wondering vaguely about whether it was time for an addendum to my gratitude affirmations for being old enough to have been inoculated against smallpox.
Gradually my curiosity got the better of me and I found myself clicking the link to the story.
Seems there’s been some Englishmen and other Brittishers who won’t be living as long as they’d supposed as a result of a series of coordinated explosions. These explosions were particularly loathsome because they were the actions, not of good Christian Catholic IRA terrorists, which the Brits are accustomed to, but rather by nasty Muslims with absolutely none of the milk of Christian human kindness and brotherly love coursing through their veins.
Still, careful reading of the story assured me the attack wasn’t on a scale of, say, the German Luftwaffe WWII bombing of Coventry or the US/British bombing of Hamburg. None of those theater nukes sold off the back doorstep of the Soviet Union flattening half of London yet. No need, just yet, to examine the pucker left by the old smallpox vaccination of my youth.
Likely as not they’re saving those theater nukes and vanished-from-the-laboratory smallpox bugs for a more savory, delicious target elsewhere.
Measured in terms of body counts he US and the European nations have grown accustomed to a relatively economical kind of warfare. From the Falklands to the Gulf War(s) they’ve sat at home cheering the evening news, applauding scenes such as the one in London this morning happening to human beings located on elsewhere geography.
It’s puzzling the USSR in Afghanisomething-or-other, even with overwhelming force, superior weaponry and cold willingness to use napalm on a civilian population never had such a long run of luck.
And, make no mistake. A long run of luck is what it’s been. Those explosions rocking London today might well mark a shift in the wind direction, a preview of coming attractions.
A man I used to know had been a Hungarian tank commander on the Eastern front during WWII. (He bore a strikiing resemblence an aging to Robert Shaw in his role as a German tank commander in Battle of the Bulge). He was there for the Axis invasion of the USSR, all the way to the suburbs of Moscow.
I asked him once about the experience, knowing he was unrepentent, knowing he was an unreconstructed Nazi who’d escaped to South America after managing to surrender to American forces.
“Those were heady times,” he smiled, “Kind of fun, actually. Going up against infantry and squadrons of Soviet cavalry in an armored vehicle. Sometimes you might kill a hundred men before breakfast.“
He stopped and pondered a moment.
“Then they got the T-34. That took a lot of the fun out of it.”