The degeneration of logic, sanity and innocence has caused enormous chasms in the configuration of normal life and in this chapter we cite three more logic-deficient frustrations which American society appears unwilling or unable to cope with: the conflict in Iraq, the issue of gun regulations, and the growing threat to our environment.
Recent years have taught us a great deal concerning the reasoning that can be cultivated from the meaning of certain words, in particular words that have been used by the Bush administration to promote its agenda while purporting to provide up-front facts for any matter under review. The word “Victory” comes to mind along with its mirror image “Mission Accomplished” – words which were punctuated by the infamous and absurd farce of this President masquerading as a fighter pilot. It was not, however, totally illogical to use the word Victory in this particular context. In Iraq, there was the appearance of a victorious military conclusion in the classic sense of the word (though far from the absolute Victories achieved by Generals MacArthur or Eisenhower).
Years have elapsed since the faux fighter pilot embarrassment and the word “Victory” nevertheless continues to be uttered, as if it had not been used in that first instance. We are therefore compelled to assume that, having previously achieved victory, the war we are now fighting must be a new, undeclared war, one that began seamlessly as the original was being presumptuously terminated.
Logic might suggest to the White House occupants and the many compliant Senators that, for historical purposes, the current conflict in Iraq cannot have victory as its objective, since that has already been certified. A new desirable objective should now logically be targeted – using a word more in keeping with current conditions, a word that is seldom heard in the White House, and that word is PEACE. This word, regretfully, was assumed by the White House intellectually sterile proponents of war to be an automatic reward for victory, while forgetting or ignoring potential recriminations, exemplified by the legendary actions of the invaded French in World War II, with an underground movement known as “La Resistance”.
It has become increasingly evident to a strong majority of attentive individuals that the inevitable process for peace in Iraq is to get the uninvited mercenaries and their accompanying armies off the as a preliminary step to getting back to their homes and families where they belong – letting the world’s oldest societies to find their own ways to deal with problems which have plagued them off and on for close to fourteen hundred years. These problems will not be solved by the administration’s retinue of successive imperious generals and bands of undisciplined enforcers.
Even in a civil war, the militant factions of Iraq would be unlikely to be the cause of more deaths than have already been (directly or indirectly) caused by Americans. One thing is clear: the Iraqis could do no worse than we have been shown by the imported brains that have supervised the creation of the current debacle. We ask: where is the logic in expecting that the willing perpetrators of such an incomprehensible disaster could possibly find sufficient resolve and wisdom to contain this inferno, which they have themselves kindled and fanned to ashes?
In 1789 a Second Amendment was added to the U.S. constitution after considerable debate and fine-tuning. The context of the times was that the leaders of the individual States realized that a strong central authority was essential to the peaceful governance of this newly formed nation, and it needed to be supported by a strong military. Each State then had its own “Militia” which was a cross between the State police of today and the National Guard, and conflicts kept flaring up between individual States. It was decided that a strong, military-backed central Government should be formed. The Second amendment, meanwhile, was enacted for the express purpose of ensuring that each State would maintain its legal right to defend its territory against a possible intrusion by any radicalized future central government. It reads as follows:
“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
That is all of it. There is nothing else. The gun-addicted aficionados of the U.S., ably supported by the gun Barons and their well-heeled lobbyists and shameless lawyers, have for years read and interpreted the words of the Second Amendment in a manner clearly unlike the meaning and intent of the legislators. These warped minds specifically dispel the comma after the word “State” and substitute a period for their purposes, hoping that no one will notice. They follow-up by reading this amendment as having two separate sentences, but that is not how it was written or intended. They further interpret the words,” the right of the people” as the right of citizens or the right of individuals, which is false. “The People” is a term universally recognized as denoting an assembly of persons in a common cause or a regulated assembly, and that was the intent.
What was surely not the amendment’s intent was to give “individuals” the right to play a defensive role against a central government, as was the case in the assassinations of Abraham Lincoln, John Kennedy, and the attempts on Ronald Reagan and Gerald Ford, or for that matter the elimination of any other individuals they happened to disagree with. Nothing in the amendment prevents today’s legislators from ruling on any conditions to be imposed on citizens to possess arms, or the types, of arms that can be sold to them.
Legislators are motivated in a number of ways: Election concerns, political affiliation, social and moral conscience, religious concerns, personal gain, intimidation and gutlessness. We will leave it to readers to select the reasons why their legislators have avoided their obligation for the strengthening of gun regulations in the face of the growing evidence of its urgency.
The world may eventually come to a sordid end, but there is every reason to believe that humans will be spared the experience, since all human life may by then have self-exterminated, carrying with it much of animal life as well. For billions of years earth has managed to survive while passing through assorted whims of nature and supporting and destroying many of life’s numerous experiments. Man, however, has seriously interfered with nature’s norms and we are beginning to see and live the dawning of earth’s ominous response. We have taken from the earth its combustible materials and consciously transformed them into poisonous polluting gasses, which have risen to the top of the world and hang above us as a modern day Sword of Damocles. We have compromised our own breath and created a fatal imbalance in the higher reaches of earth’s atmospheric protective shield. Humanity’s penalty may render redundant its historical tradition of massive self-mutilation.
Coal is the major atmospheric pollutant, but since its use is utilitarian and it is under industrial control, there is little that individual users can contribute. Gasoline is the next prime offender representing 20% of all oil production usage worldwide with jet fuel accounting for another 5%. Of the 85 million barrels of oil produced daily in the world, 21 million are used in the United States. Incredibly, this number equals the next 6 users combined. 45% of the U.S. oil is converted into gasoline, the second most dominant source of atmospheric pollution. These disproportionate figures indicate that close to half the earth’s atmospheric pollution through the burning of gasoline, originates in the U.S.
It is simplistically evident that automobiles of lesser weight can operate with smaller engines and thereby consume less carburant. Logic in this case hits an impenetrable wall. The notorious American obsession with anything that is bigger and stronger found willing allies in the U.S. auto industry, as well as unwavering support in the oil industry whose executives have their own allies at the White House. By common consent gas-guzzlers became the “vehicle du jour,” and practically any young man who did not conform, for example, had better possess other attributes to confirm his masculinity.
Avoiding an overflow of technical details we would however make the point that the truck industry benefits from the development of automatic transmissions with up to 20 speeds, which makes it possible to propel a mastodonic vehicle at extended highway speeds, using engines barely larger than that of a high-end American sedan or SUV. Logic would suggest that considerable reduction in the use of petrol could be realized by the use of small engines coupled to a transmission with a much greater number of speeds, without reducing the American buyer’s cherished size preference. It is a compromise surely worthy of a trial.
Recently, a small step was taken by raising the available speeds to 6 in some cars, but before rejoicing at these companies’ newly found sense of responsibility, it should be noted that even these cars are being tuned and marketed for greater performance with no compromise on power, and not for any improved gas mileage. Currently America uses 21 million barrels of oil per day but produces barely 9 million. The reduction of this oil dependency factor is a most desirable political objective for the U.S. This plan could potentially close the gap by perhaps 4 million barrels a day, and coupled with important planned production increases in the friendly confines of the Alberta tar sands, it is conceivable that the U.S. could close in on oil independence, while simultaneously advancing the environmental cause.
(Paul Forest can be reached at PolForest@aol.com. He blogs at PolForest.blog.com)