14 December 2010

Day 262: The Final Judgment

The Final Judgment by Richard North Patterson.  ISBN: 9780679429890.

One of the characters is a draft dodger.  I won't tell you who, because it's a tiny bit of a spoiler and not really relevant to this blog post.  In any case, about ten years ago, when the War on Terrorism started, I considered myself to be a conscientious objector.  After having many, many years to think and reflect on it, that's less true.  But my thoughts are very complicated on this issue, and so we will delve into them here.

I believe less in the widespread violence that a World War, or even a war between countries, brings.  I believe more in personal violence.  I have always backed the idea that if elected leaders want to go pick on another country, they should do it cage match style.  That's right, instead of declaring war and sending everyone over to go die in the trenches, you put two people in a cage and let them have at it.  At the very least they could theoretically elect Champions to take their place, but only if that person is both willing and believes in the cause (their families should be compensated appropriately).  Think of how much money and time we would have saved over the last 10 years.  Think of how much the terrorists could have humiliated our country if they had just defeated our champion.  There's more to gain on both sides through this method.

Even citizens of our own country might have the chance to reckon with the government when they're in the wrong.  All they would need to do is champion their own idea or find someone to champion it for them.  This might not be ideal since inevitably the rich will be able to back the better champions... but I don't see how it's any different from now.  The only difference is rather than backing the best liar or the trickiest dick, we'll be backing the most muscled person we can find and s/he will be the ones literally fighting for our rights.

Having said that, there are some wars where it is worth sending masses of people to their deaths.  I think World War II is one of those that you cannot possibly argue against.  The US Civil War is another one.  Those are wars that relieved mass suffering and where people died in order to improve the lives of future generations.  We learned something from those wars, even if it was only that humans are monsters and there's something worth fighting for.  This is not to say that I don't think terrorism is worth fighting against, but I really don't think that the way we've gone about it has been anywhere near productive.  I know I don't feel any safer, and I have absolutely no desire to travel anymore thanks to the ridiculously invasive "safety" measures being instituted in our airports.

The only thing this war has really done is to make me want to take a page from Bin Laden's book.  And before you misconstrue that, I mean it in the sense of hiding in a cave for the next ten years.

Tomorrow I talk about the snow. OMG, so much snow.

My review can be found on Goodreads.

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