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FROM MY CORNER: Knocking off an Iranian General

Howell Hurst Defining Trump, Terrorism, War and Organized Mayhem

January 3, 2020

Our stalwart leader has demonstrated his macho, I see.

I don’t know whether to smirk cynically, grin grimly, or laugh darkly. My initial gut thought was: “Well, this could motivate all worldwide political points of view to collaboratively launch the 21st Century’s own World War III, couldn’t it?”

Immediately followed with: “Now, don’t overreact.”

Then, “I’m not over-reacting. Lesser acts have launched a war.”

Surrounded here today in Charles de Gaulle airport by thousands of diverse nations’ travellers capable of financing an international flight, I notice they seem unaware that the second highest personality of Iran was just removed by us from the face of the Earth.

They’re buying duty free luxury items, reading books, checking tickets, taking selfies, eating, drinking, tapping their laptops as I am – just generally getting on with their lives.

And I’m thinking I read recently how North Korea’s Kim is still testing his nuclear rockets and using every secret means at his disposal to help supply weapons to Iran and others facing off with America.

To me, and I suspect to Iran’s Ayatollah, our knocking off his top general is similar to Japan bombing Pearl Harbor. I bet the Ayatollah is really pissed off. I wager Putin loves it. And Kim is adjusting his makeup.

Popping a top general is the kind of behavior that really riles up the attitude of die-hard militants versus those favoring a slightly more diplomatic approach to the end of the planet. Still . . .  I ponder whether I’m taking the general’s death too personally.

Our U.S. military and its commanding officer have painted him a serious threat to our way of life, a totally efficient technical terrorist. However, in this age of media exaggeration, I’ve lost track of how to judge such things.

Who is telling the truth in a time where truth has been declared obsolete, or just a matter of opinion? It doesn’t seem to really matter anymore. World leaders and would-be world leaders appear to be operating from emotional biases.

Facts seem too ambiguous to matter anymore. Give me a good old dose of honest prejudice every time.  I’d guess the Ayatollah will likely react straight from his gut. After all, even the Pope slapped a lady lately.

If the leader of the world’s most symbolically-obsessed religion can so easily lose his cool, it sure doesn’t bode well for the rest of us down here in the trenches trying not to bang each other around when we get upset by some little slight or the other.

I mean when the world’s political and religious role models, allegedly anointed by god or the will of their people, can’t keep it together – where does that leave us?  That’s a pretty slippery slope for us to navigate.

If it is the end of the world coming, it’s sure to be a whizbanger. Trump’s got us headed out into space now with our new billions of dollars of nuclear upgrades, Putin’s got poisoning of enemies down to a science, and blustering Kim will probably win an academy award this year.

T. S. Eliot or some other poet once predicted the world will end not with a bang, but a whimper. I’m not so sure about that. When you mix religious zeal, fueled by superstitious mystical imagination, with the power of the atom, fueled by scientific physics, you have an unpredictably volatile firecracker to deal with.

Hopefully, we are not about to explore its ultimate consequence. But, if we are getting close to that, I’d place my money not on our collective whimper, but on an outstandingly big bang.

Perhaps Mr. Trump’s hit on the Ayatollah’s general will end up satisfying his true believers that it is the ultimate will of their god. Physicists say a bang created the Universe. Why not end it the same way?

Until next time,

Hal

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