Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank

I inherited this book, along with many others, from my mother. She’s been gone over a year now; however, this book continued to “call me”, if you will, to pick it up and read. I’ve been much too busy, between studying, meeting my obligations on the three committees I either sit on or chair, raising my children, reading other, more “modern” books…any excuse, in other words, not to read this one.

Written in 1959, it is the tale of a group of survivors following a nuclear attack by Russia. One of the first post-apocalyptic novels, and one written prior to the civil rights movement, it is a product of it’s time, and yet, is also timeless.

The title is taken from Revelation 18:10:

Standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, Alas, alas that great city Babylon, that mighty city! For in one hour is thy judgment come.

We don’t think too much about the effects of a nuclear holocaust these days, much less about survival or the aftermath of an attack.

Lately, it’s been in the news because of the crazed, insane, sawed-off little men like Kim Jong Il and Ahmadinnerjacket–but have we really, TRULY, thought about the effects here in the United States?

Most of us grew up in the shadow of the Cold War (what Neal Podhoretz calls WWIII) and so nuclear annihilation became something we knew could happen, on a visceral level, but we all put it out of our minds quickly. After all, there were fishing holes to be explored, fire flies to catch, parades to watch, dandelions to pick and make wishes on, roller skating, bike riding, swimming, school, friends, sleep-overs–the stuff of life in a small town. At summer camp, there were the standard arts and crafts, the sitting around the campfires learning folklore, getting the program ready for parents day, haunted houses and camp outs.

In short, the threat of war, nuclear or otherwise, just wasn’t discussed. We all saw the 6:00 news and all the Vietnam coverage, but even that wasn’t really discussed–unless you knew someone whose draft number came up (I knew two–my babysitter’s son, who was drafted to Thailand, came home a double amputee in a wheelchair and became a lawyer, and a member of our swim team–one of the few I ever saw that could beat the pants off Mark Spitz–who did not come home).

There was one place it was addressed. Believe it or not, that place was school. I went to a parochial school, St. Mary’s.

I will never forget the lessons taught. Sr. Mary Louise was trying to explain the horrors of communism to us and what it would mean to us as Catholics. I remember her saying, in response to Kenny Pruitt’s question–which was what do you mean they don’t believe in God? I don’t understand–they have been raised to believe there is no God, there is no Jesus and those that believe in Him deserve to die. To a classroom full of 4th graders, that was pretty serious stuff. Sister went on to explain that there may come a day when we are invaded and we may be at school when that happens. Should that day come, the invaders would more than likely line each of us up against the walls and ask us one question: “Do you believe in Jesus?” If we answered yes, we would be killed.

I was nine years old.

I’m now 46. We are no longer in a Cold War with the Russians. We are in a war against the ideology of islam. With the terrorism shown, and with it increasing, we have been shown these terrorists are planning to target our children–very much as Sister described 37 years ago.

These islamics have made it clear their belief in a misogynistic madman is what they want to rule the entire world–not quite the communism we were brought up with, but still an overpowering desire to wipe out Christianity or ANY belief system other than their own.

We have been told, in no uncertain terms, the little men want to annihilate us. And yet, we allow this sawed-off jackass onto our shores under the protection of the UN.

Which brings me back to the book.

A particular character, Sam Hazzard, is a former Pentagon bigwig. He’s begun writing his memoirs, trying to pinpoint certain things. The question he is asked and which he’s trying to answer is this:

“We relaxed, didn’t we? What happened to us?”

The “meat” of his answer to this question was this:

“Once both sides had maximum capability in hydrogen weapons and efficient means of delivering them there was no sane alternative to peace”

“War was no longer an instrument of national policy, only an instrument for national suicide. War itself was obsolete”

“You see, no matter how well we understood the truth it was necessary that the Kremlin understand it too. It takes two to make a peace but only one to make a war”.

The most telling passage comes next:

“…The answer was not in the Pentagon, or even in the White House…There are odd similarities between the end of the Pax Romana and the end of the Pax Americana which inherited Pax Britannica. For instance, the prices paid for high office. When it became common to spend a million dollars to elect senators from moderately populous states, I think that should have been a warning to us. For instance, free pap for the masses. Bread and circuses. Roman spectacles and our spectaculars. Largesse from the conquering proconsuls and television giveaways from the successful lipstick king. To understand the present you must know the past, yet it is only part of the answer…”

Now, keeping in mind the year this book war written, unfortunately, this sounds eerily like what America is today.

Look at the outrageous amounts spent on campaigns. Look at the entitlement programs in place–Katrina comes to mind, big time (see the Gold’n Ticket), as well as the welfare programs now being given to illegals.

Look at our TV programming, with reality shows like Survivor and Big Brother, the general pornification of our culture (to use Laura Ingraham’s phrase), epitomized with Kid Nation. Look at the commercials shown during “family time”–viagra and cialis and feminine products. Look at all the special interest groups and the vocal minority screaming for this, that and the other. Look at what passes for music these days, with the hip hop bullshit.

And, finally, look at our Congress. That completely DISGRACEFUL body of politicians who put America last and their political ambitions first. Look at the way this group of collective insanity has hamstrung our military.

“We relaxed, didn’t we? What happened to us?”

Yes, we relaxed. And now we’re scrambling to go back onto offense. Unfortunately, we still have special interests trying to get in the way. We still haven’t focused on just exactly what’s happening in this world and what the effect on America will be, either short term or long term.

Oh, some of us “get it”. But those that matter, those that should be keeping us safe–they don’t. the Hillary’s, the Obama’s, the Edward’s, the Pelosi’s, the ReidCo’s, the Murtha’s, the Kerry’s, the Kennedy’s, the Code Pinks, the ANSWERS, the GLBT’s, the KOSmonoffs, the Huff and Puffs, the defeatists–NONE OF THEM GET IT. They are ALL more concerned with their political games than with the welfare of this nation.

Russia still has nukes; so does Pakistan. Now, North Korea, Syria and Iran. What do these cowards, determined to see the destruction of this country come about, think these countries and rogues are going to do with those nukes?

And, are we prepared? In our rush to appease murderous thugs on our shores, just how are we prepared when that thug aims those nukes at us–with the blessings of his fellow thugs?

How many of you have even thought of what survival would entail should that scenario transpire? Some of my fellow bloggers and I foresee a coming civil war on our shores. We’ve spoken in passing about it. But in reality, how many are truly prepared for such an event?

We need to go back “on guard”. We need to quit “relaxing”. We need to find our way back to the greatness of America–and the politicians be damned. For they will destroy us from within as surely as an enemy from without.

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