NO DISRESPECT INTENDED, SIR-but-IRAQ, AFGHANISTAN, PAKISTAN-hard to get much further away than that-but there we are-shipping 'em out and shooting 'em up, in the name of freedom. The stakes are enormous; not as enormous as in Dune where giant worms pop up, suck down an entire battalion, and spit out digested tanks, in one gulp. Our enemy, however, is no less lethal; just the touch of a keypad, and the desert explodes like a death adder, and takes out our soldiers, no caller ID required.
The desert is resilient. Sand fills back in. Our young men and women's psyches, however, are left with gaping holes, that time may never heal. All the while, congress hunkers like clueless hens, hypnotized by the steady hourglass stream of falling grains. How many years in a war? Obama promised he would stop the war...but he was a little vague...like that joke: "I don't drink no more...no more than I used to." It is not funny, sir.
"Good intentions can bring about as much destruction as an evil conqueror. Either way, the result is the same." (Zensunni Lament in Dune)
Dune is about "spice"--the most essential and valuable commodity in the universe. Problem is, spice is secreted by giant sandworms, that live beneath the desert, on the planet of Arrakis. The commodity gives users a longer lifespan, greater vitality, and awareness that can unlock prescience, and make interstellar travel possible. The downside is that spice is addictive, and withdrawl fatal.
Nevertheless, as we know, if something that valuable lies beneath the soil, it is worth fighting for, and sending children off to die. We have our own spice--a byproduct of Jurassic dinosaurs. What could go wrong?
"Deep in the human unconscious is a pervasive need for a logical universe that makes sense. But the real universe is always one step beyond logic" (from Muad'Dib, Dune)
Muad'Dib was the main character in the Dune novel. His birth name was Paul Atriedas, but he took the secret name when he was accepted into the native tribes, the Fremens, who inhabited the hostile desert planet, Arrakis. Muad'Dib is the name of the adapted kangaroo mouse of Arrakis, a creature associated in the Fremen earth-spirit mythology with a design visible on the planet's second moon. This creature is admired by Fremen for its ability to survive in the open desert.
In Arabic, Muad'Dib means "educator."
Since the mighty USA is not dealing with giant sandworms-only Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan-three countries with a shaky record on rulers, civil rights, and corporate accomplishment-what is the problem?-We should send them packing like the small town bullies in Clint Eastwood's Pale Rider. Basically, we are indomitable. How could a gang of material midgets stand up to the USA?
"A MORTIFYING PREDICAMENT!" Jimmy Durante might say. Or, if he had the lyrical skills of Percy Shelley, he might express it more elegantly, as in Shelley's sonnet poem "Ozymandias"-another name for Ramesses the Great, Pharaoh of the nineteenth dynasty of ancient Egypt, whose headless statue was found in the desert.
I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
Half sunk, a shatter'd visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamp'd on these lifeless things,
The hand that mock'd them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
"My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away