One look around the room revealed the lair of a disciple of doom. There were Titan missiles over here. Nike missiles were over there. Launch pads were everywhere. Yet no Dr. Strange Love was to be found. It was a male teenager’s room of the late 1950s and early 1960s. In fact, it was my bedroom.

Did I understand the death and destruction represented by those plastic models? No. I became interested in science since Captain Video and Tom Corbett and the Space Cadets of T.V. fame. My Mom picked up on my fascination with outer space. She bought me a small reflective telescope. The craters of the moon came into focus. I was hooked.

What I didn’t realize was that the technology of all this brought me in contact with weapons of mass destruction (WMDs). When the local hobby store made WMDs available via plastic model building kits, I immediately transitioned from model cars to missile mania.

I proudly kept those models into my mid-teens. In fact I would take girlfriends to see them. That might be the reason they were one and done dates. In any event, the missiles reclined on my bookcase ready for action. It’s one of the reasons why, when I heard a speaker, Mr. Warhorse for our purposes, get increasingly excited about the paraphernalia of war, I related.

But the relating ended right there. Having been made to study war during the U.S. War in Vietnam, I well knew the destructive and human toll of WMDs and war. Agent orange was used on the Vietnamese countryside to the tune of 20,000,000 gallons. It poisoned the environment and people in an area the size of Massachusetts.

Napalm, produced by DuPont Company, was used to terrorize and kill Vietnamese. Consequences were wide and horrible. These biological and chemical weapons were the WMDs of the period.

As for Mr. Warhorse, the author of a book on World War I veterans, he never even bothered to address the cause of the war. In fact he described battle scenes with enormous casualties with nary a sigh of indignation at those who initiated and ingratiated themselves during this nightmare. That the powers that be were re-dividing the world’s colonies and their resources never pursed his lips. Such is the captive power of the military industrial complex. It goes unquestioned by all too many.

Barbara Kingsolver, in High Tide In Tucson, addressed this topic with another example I could relate to easily. She visited a Titan missile site in Arizona that was made into a museum in the 1990s. In their heyday, these intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) had atomic warheads. Once in motion they traveled 15,000 miles per hour to bring death and destruction anywhere in the world. They encircled Tucson from 1962 to 1984 and other towns in the USA. The nuclear freeze movement, along with other world developments, rendered these giant WMDs obsolete.
Instructive here is the description Kingsolver details of the museum docent explaining the prowess of these giant killing machines and the reaction of the visitors. She wrote,

For years I have wondered how anyone could willingly compete in a hundred-yard dash toward oblivion, and I believe I caught sight of an answer in the Titan museum – in faces that lit up when they discussed targets and suspension systems and megatons. I saw it in the eyes and minds so enraptured with technology that they saw before them an engineering spectacle, not a machine designed for the sole purpose of reducing civilization to rubble.

Back to Mr. Warhorse. The author spoke of WWI and German machine gun bullets so powerful that one could enter and exit three “enemy” soldiers, if properly lined up. People in the audience oohed and aahed. The fascination with the tools of war somehow gets separated from the reality, whether bullets or atomic bombs. Maybe if more people understood there were 6,000 Japanese school children in the direct vicinity of the Hiroshima blast who were vaporized, the oohs and aahs would be replaced by cries of horror and with chants of never again.

Who benefitted from the cold war hysteria concerning the Titan missiles? It was a group of generals e.g. General Motors and General Electric head the list. Others knew where their bread was buttered. Here’s a lesson from my past.

During the U.S. War in Vietnam, I petitioned for the end of the war at a mall in Trumbull Connecticut. Snared by a security guard, I was guided to the owner/manager’s office. As I sat there engaged in a trite discussion of property law, my eye caught part, and I emphasize part, of a large photographic mural.

This mural was so huge it took up an entire wall of the office and could not be gathered within one’s normal field of vision. What was I staring at? A Sikorsky helicopter came into focus. It was the same killing machine being used by the U.S. in Vietnam. They were being made right down the road from the consumer Mecca where I was doing peace work. Clearly the owner/manager of the mall knew where his bread was buttered.

I now live an hour or so, as the crow flies, from the Bath Iron Works. This is where the destroyers are made that carry cruise missiles. These are the same weapons of war that the Obama Administration, and its willing accomplices in the Military Industrial Complex, wants to send slamming into Syria and its people.

Now we are being told it is to send a message to Iran and other “bad actors” and would be “limited” to this with no boots on the ground. We were told similar arguments during the U.S. War in Vietnam. While sending that message, supposedly to the Soviet Union and China, 3 million people were killed in Indochina, the vast majority civilians, as the war spread to Cambodia and Laos. All this in a war that we were told by U.S. Administrations was a “limited” war.

Want proof? Here’s a statement by Clarke M. Clifford just before he became Secretary of Defense in 1968.

“The Vietnam War is a different kind of war and that is one reason why it is difficult, perhaps, for the American people to understand it. We are fighting a limited war. We are not fighting to destroy our enemy. We are fighting to persuade our enemy to withdraw from South Vietnam and to leave it alone. But as far as military victory is concerned, I believe in a great respect we have already attained a type of victory in South Vietnam.”

For those of you who like to check sources, this little gem can be found in Reader’s Digest, March 1968, Vol. 92, P. 55.

Messages out of Washington D.C. are bombarding our people with “limited” conflict arguments. All this while acts of war are being planned in an area where no clear battle lines exist. Such actions are surely to add to the mounting civilian casualties in Syria and beyond.

Join or initiate peace vigils where you live. Call the numbers below and demand no attack on Syria. Let’s wage peace.

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