Persistently ticking off the precious seconds in humanity's "Countdown to Extinction", the Doomsday Clock of the Bulletin for Atomic Scientists has advanced to seven minutes of midnight. Yet despite nuclear terror unleashed on Japan, an arms race of monumental proportions, the collapse of the Soviet Union, and widespread nuclear proliferation, somehow humanity has managed avoid nuclear apocalypse for 60 years. Perhaps the virtual certainty of "mutually assured destruction" will freeze the hands of the Doomsday Clock and continue humankind's stay of execution.
As if the possibility of nuclear devastation was not enough of a concern, Donald Rumsfeld recently informed us that those who oppose the Iraqi Occupation and the abrogation of Constitutional law lack courage and are confused morally and intellectually. "Terrorism" is an existential threat to the "civilized world" and the Bush administration is justified in all of its "counter-terrorism" measures, according to Rumsfeld. Remember, if nuclear war does not annihilate us, the "terrorists" will.
As you ponder the threat of "terrorism", do not forget to consider that the many invasions mounted by the United States military and the IDF have killed millions more innocent civilians than the asymmetrical warfare waged by over-matched victims of imperial oppression.
And on the subject of courage, Rumsfeld has sent over 2600 US soldiers to their deaths yet has not spent a minute engaged in combat.
Who did the Secretary of Defense say lacked courage and was morally and intellectually confused?
Nuclear devastation rendering the world virtually uninhabitable, unfathomably cruel war crimes annihilating innocent human beings, and the impending coastal inundation, droughts, violent weather, and ecological disasters of Climate Change are harrowing potentialities and realities with which we humans cope on a daily basis.
The sad irony is that the common denominator amongst these dire threats to the perpetuation of life on Earth is that we created them.
Unfortunately, the species blessed with frontal lobes and opposable thumbs is threatening extinction of life on Earth in still another way. While less immediate, the consequences of humankind tenaciously clinging to the prevailing socioeconomic order will be as disastrous as nuclear war, the escalation of the murder of civilian populations or Climate Change. Quite simply, humanity's present course down a blind alley will inevitably lead us to a dead end, literally.
Dream the American Dream
And while not the sole culprit, the United States bears much of the responsibility for this additional threat to the perpetuation of the human species. This nation shamelessly spawned, practices, champions, and proliferates many of the socioeconomic dynamics responsible for the incredible strain we humans are putting upon the Earth as we tax this planet far beyond its capacity.
Seemingly destined to become the "asylum for mankind" Thomas Paine foresaw, the United States freed itself from a tyrant, created a constitutional republic, absorbed waves of immigrants, abolished the heinous institution of chattel slavery, ceded rights to working people, recognized the right of women to vote, instituted numerous social service programs, and made notable progress in extending civil rights to minorities. In spite of the genocide of Turtle Island's indigenous people, the brutal treatment of its Black population, and various other significant transgressions, the United States made remarkable moral progress over the course of its relatively brief existence.
Regrettably, as the United States was marching toward fulfilling its rich promise, the enemies of social justice and human rights were licking their wounds and plotting the restoration of power to the de facto aristocracy. Men like Goldwater, Nixon, Reagan, Clinton, and both Bush's have presided over a perverse and tragic turn of events as powerful corporate entities and a relative handful of wealthy individuals have hijacked most of the social, economic, and political institutions of the United States. The lunatics are indeed running the asylum. And the betterment of humanity is not even on their radar screen.