The Gross National Debt

Monday, May 27, 2013

Blow 'em ALL up

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Many many years ago I said when I owned a house, I'd have book shelves in every room. People who've been to my place have seen shelves in every room.

Every room.

On two different shelves I have a set of books some of which have profoundly influenced me and helped shape me into the person I am today. They are also my all time favorite reads. The list includes The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Dune, Tales of the Old Duck Hunter's Association and Other Drivel, My Health Is Better in November, Stand on Zanzibar and This Is Your Captain Speaking. The Bible is not included in this list because the above books are all first edition (except Dune) and cannot be replaced.

To this list I must now add Ralph Peters' work, The War After Armageddon. This surprised me immensely.

I found the book in a rack at a discount store, a chain of stores I routinely visit because I can get novels for about 20 percent or less of the original cover price. I nearly passed over Peters' work because I seriously do not like war novels and don't care for action novels. But the price and the fact that it was a novel of what could happen in the future made me buy it.

Egad.

The writing is good. Not great, but good. The character development is very good, not awesome, just very good.

The exploration of human interaction with politics and religion as the basis for those relationships is as good as anything I have ever read, including Dune. That kind of discussion cranks my tractor.

Peters, a former military man, uses war in the Middle East as a plot device for his exploration of what can happen when a large group of people is simply pushed too far. Egad. Egad. Egad. Egad.

The scenario he posits is frightening realistic and to my thinking quite possible. Religion and politics are not a metaphor in this book. It's reality and can be seen right now.

One of the statements which struck me hardest was made by the protagonist Lt. Gen. Gary "Flintlock" Harris. He said that if it was possible, he'd blow up every part of the planet over which war in the name of religion was fought.

Arg. Confusing.

He said he'd blow up any rock that caused religious division.

Yes. 

Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes to the whatever power necessary to blow up every religious rock in the world that has sparked a war.

Blow them up. Turn them into dust.

If you serve a god that is more concerned about a piece of dirt than the people of this world, then Ralph Peters suggests and I clearly state your god has his priorities in the wrong place. Attaching so much religious significance to a piece of dirt or a building that you'll kill someone over it — No. Blow it up so it can't belong to any religion. If a religion tries to lay claim to it again, blow it up again. I say that knowing what the Old Testament states.


Peters' work in this book is infinitely forgettable for his writing ability, somewhat forgettable for his character development, but the message in the book is one that needs to be writ large, remembered and lived.

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