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"Prospects Drear"

     I was not seriously demoralized at the time by the attack on
the World Trade Center and the Pentagon one year ago.  In fact I
had been puzzled, and indicated so from time to time, that up
until that day the rest of the world had allowed over decades a
marvelous amount of serious bullying on the part of the USA,
without much resistance.  I did not feel personally injured,
since I have been philosophically opposed to "world trade" --
NAFTA, for instance -- and Pentagon activities -- Vietnam,
Cambodia, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Libya, Panama, Iraq and Palestine
-- to name just a few military adventures.
     But I'm feeling seriously demoralized now.  The American
reaction to the attacks has been so unwise, looking at the long
term, that I have lost the ability to imagine any non-disastrous
future at all, for the USA or for humanity as a species.
     Here in the US our personal civil liberties, which is what
we supposedly have stood for in the world, have been taken away.
     Global warming has been made into a goal by the current
administration, instead of a threat, real or imaginary.  The
president is not attending the Johannesburg summit on the
environment, and the underlings who are attending have been
instructed to keep global warming off the agenda.
     The rest of the world has been told to go hang by the
American government, and the polysyllabic term for that,
"unilateralism," does not remove any of the serious danger built
into that attitude.
     Additional nuclear pollution has been guaranteed in several
different ways:
          [1] The approval of the Yucca Mountain dump in Nevada,
          [2] The approval of fresh budget for new small
portable, easily stealable and easily purchasable models of
nuclear warheads, suitable for pick-up trucks and suitcases, and
          [3] the clearly expressed determination to revive the
nuclear power industry, in spite of massive financial losses and
the unimaginable expense of disposing of additional lethal waste.
     Plans are now in operation to clear-cut the rest of the
National Forest system.
     The U.S. Navy plans now to destroy what's left of the whale
and dolphin population of the planet with new sonar devices,
needed to detect Osama Bin Laden's submarines.
     War has become the only thing the American economy is any
good at any more.  The virtual economy has evaporated and
manufacturing has been moved to Mexico and East Asia.  A big war
is now pending.  The Commander-in-chief has already committed the
crime of assault, by threatening the life of a foreign head of
state, and no jurisdiction has indicted him for that crime.  If
you or I threatened in public to kill someone, we'd be in serious
trouble, but he is not.
     The truth about all this floats around in newspaper columns
and Internet stories, but very few pay very much attention.  No
one seems to be really indignant about any of it.  The mass media
has created the mind-set which makes war, devastation, more
widespread poverty than ever, and ultimate extinction,
unavoidable and somehow acceptable.
     The likely scenario confronting all of us is this.  Bush
attacks Iraq with 150,000 troops, after bombing the cities into
oblivion.  Saddam Hussein retaliates by dropping twenty scud
missiles on Israel.  Most people in that part of the world think
of Israel as the 51st U.S. state.  Some of the scud missiles have
biological and/or chemical appendages.  Israel retaliates with
twenty nuclear bombs on Iraq, obliterating most of the rest of
the population of that country along with the invading U.S. army. 
Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Iran invade Israel,
shooting everything that moves, Jew or Arab.  Bush declares
victory and wins the election of 2004.
     Persons who write this kind of rant are rounded up, placed
in "camps," and executed in secret.  Those who undergo hunger
strikes and protests of absolute silence are shot first. 
     Meanwhile the cloud of radioactive debris begins to
circumnavigate the globe, from west to east -- over Iran,
Afghanistan [where no one notices much change], Pakistan, India,
Bangladesh, Burma, Thailand, Vietnam [where again no one
notices].  The monsoon blows some of the cloud northward, over
China.  The horror proceeds over the Philippines, Japan, the islands of
the Pacific, Mexico and Haiti [where no one notices] and Cuba. 
Our monsoon, as some call it, brings the devastation northward
into the secured U.S. homeland.  Leukemia and breast cancer rates
skyrocket.  The commander-in-chief tells us that we can handle
it, just as we can handle global warming, by getting used to it. 
The devastating cloud crosses the Atlantic, ravages Europe and
the Mediterranean Basin, and finally the Holy Land itself.  
     Meanwhile nuclear winter has set in.  Massive climate change
is not something that human civilization and computerized
chemical agriculture can adapt to.  Famine spreads.  Cannibalism
becomes widespread in the late stages.
     No angels or gods or spaceships arrive in time to stave off
the final whimper.
     Does anyone else feel discouraged, or angry?  Does anyone
have any idea how this can be stopped?  Or are we already past
the point of no return?  Is seeking our own personal and private
comfort and happiness the only thing left to do, and is that good
enough?  My instincts say no, but my head doesn't come up with
     Can bribery be made illegal and seriously punishable, in
time?  Would a Democratic Congress, with a huge veto-proof
majority, make things any different?  What kind of popular
uprising would have any chance of effecting any worthwhile
change?  We'd better get at it, because time is running out.
                            *   *   *
Copyright © 2002 Harry Willson

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