If it weren’t for the thundering theme music on MSNBCNNFox, it would be hard to tell that this country is less than 24 hours away from an intense military conflict. My grandparent’s generation lived through the conflict to end all conflicts, World War II – where even in the small island of Jamaica my grandmother got to know what it was like to black out your windows and hear an air raid siren. In World War II, you didn’t know that our side would win. The eventual victory of the allies must have seemed very far off when Londoners sought shelter from the Blitz, Americans were killed at Pearl Harbor, and the Japanese engaged in atrocities in Nanking. Hitler and his army were a force so powerful, they could have won the war and that put the fear of Jesus into the globe.
For a country like America, even with 9.11 a recent memory – there is no such fear, and it strikes me as an unhealthy thing. President Clinton was the first leader born from a generation who saw conflict in the terms of Vietnam and America’s subsequent bulking up for adventures in numerous global hotspots. Kosovo showed us that our power was so great we could cower an enemy without even setting foot on his land – we could destroy him from the air. I am of course happy that this force is defending me, but I wonder if in taking our military might for granted that we know see grand military undertakings not in the reverential tone of our forbearers, but as just another thing that happens.
There are 300,000 American soldiers about to break down Iraq’s door and we don’t think that’s a big deal until the door is actually broken. Until then we watch American Idol and Frasier and go to work in our cars or on the subway and come home asking “hey, did the war start yet?” as if it were just another midseason replacement.
There is no way that can be a good or healthy development.