by Joe Shea
July 17, 2014
HOW TO STOP WORLD WAR III
BRADENTON, Fla., July 17, 2014 -- It was one of those small, still voices deep down in my gut that instantly gets my attention, and there were just two words: "world war."
Sometimes the word is "hurricane," or "check" - that one means I'm getting income. I knew well what it meant, though, not only because I follow the news with reasonable care but because I know that small events like today's can suddenly explode into great conflagrations.
The sinking of the Maine was instantly transformed into an act of war by huge headlines in William Randolph Hearst's New York Sun that echo down through history: "Remember the Maine!" As historians now know beyond any doubt, though, the Maine was not sunk - and the Spanish-American War engendered - by a hostile Spanish torpedo, but by its own exploding steam boiler.
World War I was started 100 years ago last month with the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand, and ended the Austro-Hungarian Empire before it was over. The division of spoils after that war had a lot to do with the wars that have been fought since, not least of all in Bosnia.
The Vietnam War, as is now well-known, started over false reports that North Vietnames vessels had attacked and sunk a U.S. patrol boat in the Gulf of Tonkin; even President Johnson told his biographer he was pretty certain this was not the case, but he displayed no doubt when he went to Congress to begin that undeclared war.
Fox News, which has inherited the ragged mantle of Hearst, has been stressing the duplicity and "lies" of Russians as it covers the crash of a Malaysian Air Boeing 777 in the eastern Ukraine today. Ironically, President Obama learned of the crash directly from President Vladimir Putin, who was on the phone with Mr. Obama complaining about the heavy sanctions that the President had slapped on Russia over the Ukraine issue the day before.
Fox anchor Shephard Smith was busy listing all the "lies" Putin told prior to taking over the former Ukrainian province of Crimea, and left little doubt that pro-Russian separatists had shot the jet down, even though no one actually knows if it was shot down, or fell out of the sky like Flight 800, which occurred on this date, July 17, 1996, on a flight to Rome.
At 4:50pm, Vice President Joe Biden said - per MSNBC - the plane was "apparently" shot down, and for now that should be considered definitive, although Biden cautioned that he did not yet have absolute certainty on it. "It was not an accident," Biden said.
The only evidence to the contrary was offered on CNN by an aviation expert who said video of the smoke climbing from the crash showed no evidence3 of a trail of smoke leading from the sky to the ground, as he said there would be if the plane exploded in mid-air. That proved, he said. that the plane was not shot down.
Russian separatists say the Ukrainian Armed Forces brought it down; somewhere, someone is probably blaming the Mossad for it, in trying to deflect attention away from Israel's large-scale invasion of Palestine.
Clearly, Malaysian Air as a corporation has been in trouble since MH370 disappeared somewhere over the Indian Ocean, and it's not impossible that due to a shortage of cash a flammable battery was not replaced or some other missed maintenance issue caused the crash.
On MSNBC, Sen. John McCain is saying that if Russians or pro-Russian separatists are behind the crash, "I think there will be Hell to pay, and there should be," and all the more so if American passengers were aboard.
Of the first 233 passengers whose bodies have been recovered, no Americans have been identified, MSNBC quotes Malaysian Air is saying. But if the results are anything like those of 9/11 - meaning the fruitless wars in Iraq and Afghanistan - it's America that will suffer most.
My little whisper of a voice is rarely mistaken, and I rarely share what those whispers say - not only for fear of being deemed a lunatic, but because they are sometimes predictive of volatile and inflammatory events.
Right now, ISIS and its dreams of a Fifth Caliphate are slowly advancing on Baghdad, even as 70,000 Israeli troops are invading Gaza (reader can use the Control+F function to find my article, "The War Aginst Caliphate," from Sept. 2009) by land, sea and air. It appears the Ukraine will explode, and it's likely that some NATO forces will become involved.
Syria's civil war is raging, and China and Vietnam are at each other's throats, as are China and Japan. While no actual fighting is occuring in those theaters, it might not take much - another false claim, for unstance - to set it off.
There will always be those who see the U.S. as overwhelmed by the multiple crises we now face, and try to take advantage of that mistaken belief; the truth is that we are well-armed and well-prepared for war, and always are.
The Middle East is at war now, and all those nations, from Iran to Russia to the United States, that have a horse in the race are strapping on their guns, ready for a fight. Our 2014 elections raise the stakes - and the opportunities for rabble-rousing by Fox and others - exponentially.
It certainly is not too late to short-circuit the approaching cataclysm.
Just solving two or three of the elements that are now converging towards a global conflagration could prevent one, I believe, and that ought to be the exclusive goal of all Western diplomats tonight.
Write Joe Shea at firstname.lastname@example.org.