Touch of Depleted Uranium
“It must be getting early. The clocks are running late…”—Grateful Dead
Early morning and coffee are a nearly perfect pairing. Small noises like the pouring of a cup do not register in other parts of the day, or evening, but, in early morning, nothing is making any noise. Later, every thing in the time zone begins to move, and then compete with everything around it for space, and to be heard, and the noise rises. But, at coffee time, even the sun has not risen, and started sliding its slippers down celestial hallways. Cream vessel clouds remain closed, and the sky is black. It is so nearly silent that you can hear coffee pouring.
Today is a little different, though. Did you notice? The tanks are back. In our American morning, there is still a sort of silence. We can pretend that coffee time is the same, but tanks are being called to an assembly in Europe and the noise is rising. Tanks.
Not too long ago, tanks were thought to be obsolete machines of war. I can recall how the discussions of defense spending used to go when I was a teenager in 1980 regarding the M1 Abrams tank, and the M1A1. While tanks were used heavily and effectively during WWII, they were not so effective in wars since. We questioned why the Defense budget was allocating so much money to create tanks that could move at 60 miles per hour, and increase armor when that sort of “mechanized cavalry” capabilities were made obsolete by guided missiles from helicopters and jets, and armor was made as vulnerable as tissue paper with depleted uranium artillery rounds.
We have spent the last several decades fighting different sorts of wars. We have been doing a lot of light infantry, and counter insurgency with squads on foot, and fire teams harassing towns, and homes, and individuals. We have used surveillance drones and predator drones to do the dirty work. We even brought some of that home to policing American communities in a watered down way. Drone warfare is relatively silent until the detonation of the round. Even the drone pilots tend to be miles away from their machines when they do the killing. Tank warfare is a different matter altogether.
“I see you’ve got your fist out. Say your piece and get out…”—Grateful Dead
Tanks are noisy and destructive. They are destructive just moving down paved roads. Our previous cartoon villain president, Park Avenue Bluto, Fifth Avenue Falstaff, wanted to have authoritarian style parades with tanks, but the tanks were not allowed because of the massive expensive damage that they would do, and they were not even armed. Orange Nero had to stick to the fly-over of military aircraft to accomplish his Putinesque put-on.
“Kid can’t read at seventeen. The words he knows are all obscene.”—Grateful Dead
Sadly, this tank assembly doesn’t appear to be a put-on. Russia has nearly surrounded Ukraine with 100,000 troops from the East, and the South (Crimea). They are also enlisting the help of the military from the North in Belarus. To the West is Poland. There is no good location for war, but this particular region of the world is so conducive to tank warfare that many of the worst things ever done in war, and because of war, were done there. The world suffered a sort of PTSD from WWII that we called “The Cold War”, which lasted until nearly as long as any survivors remained in positions of power.
Forgive my glibness. It is intended. It seems to me that the alternative is too frightening and morose. The quotes are from the Grateful Dead song, “Touch of Grey”. The refrain repeats, “we will get by”, and it ends, “we will survive.” I sincerely hope so. I like my coffee black with no sugar. I certainly do not want any depleted uranium in it. Coffee time is ruined until we get this situation sorted out.