A propos of not much in particular, the writer has recently revisited his long held views on atomic weaponry. He has been greatly assisted in these reflections by the output of the two Ronnies.
In his short book 'God and The Atom', published very shortly after the destruction of Hiroshima, Monsignor Ronald Knox denounced it is an immoral act; and quite rightly. It would have been proper for a declaration of intent to have been made; perhaps, as Monsignor Knox says, by the destruction of an uninhabited mountain, before a town larger than Southampton was just wiped out. Yes, it was done badly. Yes, it was immoral.
On the other hand, perhaps the most committed atomist of the 20th Century was President Ronald Reagan. Possibly the 20th Century's most intellectual and thoughful president, the Dutchman was committed body and soul to the advancement of peace. I challenge anyone who has read the book 'Reagan, In His Own Hand', to draw any other conclusion. The Soviet Union was not a peaceful entity. At Reykjavik, Dutch was prepared to give up on atomic weaponry completely, provided he got a guarantee; a guarantee that the committed and lifelong Communist turned secular saint Mikhail Gorbachev was unwilling to provide. That should have said it all.
The Cambridge Spies, the rogue members of the British elite whose treason was made possible because of our absurd belief that morality flows from the schools you attend and your attachment to your college, helped imperil us all. It took a ham actor from small town Illinois, a man they would look down on and sneer at, most definitely not their sort of chap, to undo the havoc they wrought.
What Dutch Reagan understood, and which Monsignor Knox might perhaps not have, is that the ability to wage peace is entirely dependent on the willingness of all parties to be peaceful. In its last stages, Imperial Japan was a death cult. It might be said the kamikaze were suicide bombers - none of them ever seems to have planned on coming home. Faced with an enemy who actually wants to die, who volunteers for suicide missions, would a show of strength on an empty mountainside have done any good?
We now face the Dutchman's dilemma in Afghanistan. Is bombing medievalist Muslims, guys who not only want to die but who think that doing so will help them get laid, back to the Stone Age ever going to do any good? I don't think so. The very first piece of commentary I ever published on the Intenet was entitled 'Is Afghanistan Worth Saving'? Sad as it is to say, I thought then and I think now that the answer is no.
Better for it be cut into statelets, or a wall built around it, than for another non-Afghan to lose their life on a quixotic, undefined, indeterminate mission impossible.
However, that is not to say that the conflict in Afghanistan is not without winners.
The entity that President Eisenhower labelled the 'military-industrial complex' is doing just fine, thanks very much. Depending for its survival on death and mutilation, the military-industrial complex is just as much a death cult as Shinto or Islam. Why not call it that?
Since Ike gave his stern warning, another death cult has sprung up which is also doing just fine out of Afghanistan, and is prospering wherever human beings suffer. One might call it the 'Sexual-Secular Complex'; the array of taxpayer-funded non-governmental organisations dedicated to 'human rights', 'womens' rights' 'human women's rights', 'reproductive rights' and anything in particular that will help make the world look like San Francisco in 1975. The Military-Industrial Complex exists to ensure that your enemies will be efficiently bombed; the Sexual-Secular Complex exists to ensure that your enemies will be efficiently damned.
The Sexual-Secular Complex is just another death cult. Like the imperial Japanese, trying to reason with them is futile. They are dedicated to our destruction, and thus can only be opposed. They must be loved; but being a death cult, it is to be hoped that they kill themselves off, before they have a chance to kill us.