A HILL OF BEANS
by Joyce Marcel
American Reporter Correspondent
DUMMERSTON, Vt. -- Under a bright blue sky, this year's foliage is extravagantly beautiful.
A friend worries about a proposal she's been asked to write for a large non-profit organization.
The Dummerston Congregational Church's annual fund-raiser, the Apple Pie Festival, sold 1,500 apple pies on Sunday.
I talk to a new editor about writing some stories.
We follow the latest political scandals.
We keep a baleful eye on the price of gas.
There is some question about Joe Torre's relationship with George Steinbrenner.
I'm nervous about an upcoming colonoscopy.
Randy gets his second flat tire in three weeks and decides to put on his snow tires early.
The cat practices catch-and-release with another mouse.
The world turns. We live our daily lives. And all I can think about is the aircraft carrier USS Eisenhower, accompanied by a guided-missile cruiser, a destroyer and a fast-attack submarine, all of them now aiming for the Straits of Hormuz off Iran.
Iran does not have nuclear weapons. The consensus is that the country is years away from creating them. This is a fact. It does not matter.
It's no secret that President George W. Bush believes, in his blind arrogance, that God is directing his hand. It's no secret that he's a born-again Christian with a taste for Armageddon. It's no secret he believes he makes no mistakes. It's no secret he loves the idea of himself as a warrior-President.
It's no secret he thinks Iran - an entire country! - is "evil." It's no secret he wants "regime change" without giving a thought to the damage he's already caused in Iraq.
It's no secret he ordered the Eisenhower's fleet to sail.
It's no secret he badly wants to attack Iran.
It's no secret he cannot learn. Therefore, he cannot gain by understanding Israel's disastrous recent experience in Lebanon.
It's no secret that he and Vice President Dick Cheney believe that the nuclear option is not only a viable one, but a desirable one.
It's no secret that the U.S. military is stretched beyond its limits in Iraq. Recruitment standards are being continually lowered to get more warm bodies into uniforms. Even if attacking Iran was rational, it would be impossible to put men and women on the ground without bringing back the draft.
Taking all these things together, it's not hard to visualize a nuclear attack on the good people of Iran.
Could we, as Americans, in good conscience, allow our country to use nuclear weapons?
Former U.N. arms inspector Scott Ritter said in Chester, Vt., this weekend that, "Congress has pretty much capitulated. The public debate is over on Iran. Seventy percent of Americans says Iran is trying to get nuclear weapons, so the Bush Administration doesn't have to sell this war. We're in a very dangerous climate right now."
Think about the possible results of dropping a few "tactical" nuclear bombs on Iran. Besides the cruelty of such an act, the horrific destruction to cities and towns, the burning, anguish and death we would bring to thousands - possibly millions - of people, the poisonous clouds of nuclear dust that would be released into the atmosphere to circle the earth, what else might happen?
Pakistan, India and Israel have nuclear weapons. Once the concept of MAD - mutual assured destruction, an idea which has kept the world from a nuclear holocaust for over 60 years - is demolished, what will keep other countries from using their nukes? India and Pakistan over Kashmir? North Korea, which has developed and is testing nuclear weapons while we've been busy destroying Iraq, on South Korea and Japan?
Europe would be horrified, traumatized. Asia would be repelled. The Arab world, which already loathes the United States, would rise up in howling violence. Terrorism would increase. Israel would be at risk. Chaos would rule the Middle East.
Why aren't we, as citizens of this country and this world, screaming for this to stop right now?
Maybe it's because we know we can't do anything to stop this attack. Millions of us - around the world - poured into the streets to stop Mr. Bush from attacking Iraq. He did it anyway.
Here in America, we are living our day-to-day lives as if nothing will ever change. What movie will we see? Which car will we buy? Who will win the World Series?
Yet I'm reminded of the last scene in "Casablanca," when Rick says, "Ilsa, I'm no good at being noble, but it doesn't take much to see that the problems of three little people don't amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world."
Someday, America, you'll understand that.
A collection of Joyce Marcel's columns, "A Thousand Words or Less," is available through joycemarcel.com. And write her at firstname.lastname@example.org.