In the Winter of This Night
They may be told that they are heroes for having lived through a fearful night, but that is mere platitude to steel them for their next journey, inevitably worse as tragedies are in their progress.
The Bush Administration has now called home the American ambassador to Syria. This is not a pretext for war against that country; it is, instead, as much as anything else a notice to the people of the United States that a situation of crisis is building once again in the Middle East, and the Americans must and will take the lead in resolving the looming threat. Syria poses no danger to the United States, but it does afford the neo-conservatives a means by which a message can be conveyed to Iran.
We are on the brink, once again, of war. This time, however, the enemy will not be a country evicerated by years of debilitating sanctions. This time, the enemy will not be a nation with a Westernized military the vast majority of which stood down for us as we staged a violent and epic play for embedded reporters and enraptured television viewers. This time, the enemy will fight; and the battlefields will be slaughterhouses not only for Iranian soldiers, but for American soldiers, as well.
And this time, the cities of our enemy may not be the only places that become the burial grounds of tens of thousands of innocent non-combatants.
Iran is a country about to become a nuclear state. Anyone who believes otherwise is a fool. Iran with nuclear weapons is no counterbalance to the nuclear state of Israel; it is, rather, the partner for a gruesome dance of death traced across the blood-strewn floor of a new century. Iran as a nuclear state is no longer merely a meddling, regional menace; it is a global threat to Western culture.
Now, for those who find the idea of "Western culture" repugnant, the alternative offered by Iran and nations like it should transcend even the most terrifying visions of a world oppressed by the grotesqueness of what America and the Europeans have done throughout history.
Iran is a theocracy; and just like those in the United States who militate for rule derived from holy texts, the rulers of Iran have no use for liberal society based upon tolerance and progressive enlightenment through rational, scientific debate unchained by reference to gods seen in a tribal world thousands of years before. The words upon which religious fundamentalists derive their ambition are written upon the same scroll of meanness, whether they be read with cruel eyes in the Conditional Code, in the Sharia, or in the Book of Revelations.
The United States has come once again to a place without options, and it has found its way here by the inattention that has hallmarked the Bush Administration. The unspeakable savagery visited upon the United States on September 11, 2001, was not the "fault" of the criminals who perpetrated that horror: they acted with deliberation, and they achieved their goal. The fault lies squarely and forever with the Bush Administration, which by its incompetence allowed the hatred of brutes to fester, flourish, and finally come to genocidal fruition.
The world is a good home to madmen. It is the dutythe sacred, unrelenting, untransferable dutyof America's leaders to protect the soil and lives of its people. The Bush Administration failed to do that. There is no amount of bravado, platitudes, expressions of sympathy, and war after the fact that can quiet that guilt. It stands forever.
America is backed to the wall, once again. A world that relied upon us for far too long now comes to bear upon Iran far too late, and America will strike unless the small and violent state of Israel does so first. But should Israel once again stop a nuclear state from emerging from the womb of modernity's ugly belly, as it did before in destroying the Osirak reactor in Iraq in 1981, we shall be so much more beholden to a nuclear state that makes a farce of U.S. fanfare about non-proliferation.
The Bush Administration had more than four years to contain Iran's nuclear ambitions. The Bush Administration had more than four years to shepherd, both openly and covertly, that country's moderates to permanent dominance in their halls of political power. The Bush Administration had more than four years to shut down the global traffic in components for nuclear weapons and precursors to the fuel of Hell's weapons.
The Bush Administration had more than four years to build a house that would keep America safe and at peace in a world of madmen.
That house was never built. And now, the bitter-hot winds of war are coming. And we are have no choice but to walk through the maelstrom to the other side, where the next tragedy of our leaders' failures will surely begin.
The Dark Wraith has spoken.