R for Romeo
Almost there. And it looks like the UNA is going for broke.
It’s difficult to convey the mixed feelings this page gives me. Though I write a military comic, I’m very committed to nonviolence and peace – it’s an odd and at times awkward contradiction. But I am going somewhere with all of this, and this was how the chapter was supposed to end. In fact, way back in Chapter 1, Jim Francis, artist and writer of the online GN Outsider, quipped that he wasn’t sure where I could go once I’d already dropped the proverbial Big One at the end of Chapter 1. Well, global atomic war seems rather a step up, I guess.
It’s important to note that this is, in fact, an atomic war, not a thermonuclear one. The distinction may seem minor when you’re talking about weapons that destroy entire cities, but hydrogen weapons are an entire order of magnitude more powerful than atomic weapons. Hermann Kahn likened them to barely-controlled forces of nature. An atomic war may be survivable in ways that a thermonuclear one would not, simply because the total atomic mass expended would not be as great. On the other hand, the aftermath is likely to be much more devastating, as the byproducts of fission weapons are considerably more toxic. But I digress.
In researching this comic I have been watching a lot of documentaries and videos from the Cold War on the subject of nuclear weapons. YouTube is a particularly open source for this stuff. What shocks me, though, is the extent to which people give free rein to very strong feelings of disgust and resentment about Hiroshima, Nagasaki, the Bikini Atoll, Castle Bravo, and all the other devastations caused by atomic weapons, yet seem perfectly willing to advocate their use against the US as revenge for, well, basically everything and anything. Being an American seems itself to be a source of popular scorn these days: “Death to the USA!” is a common sight all over the internet. It’s odd to be a citizen of the last nation on earth people feel it’s okay to openly hate. But, well, I suppose the debate just rages on, so to speak.
I’m certainly not so naive as to believe that we can simply “un-invent” nuclear weapons now, nor am I willing to second-guess the way the United States went about ending the Second World War. Someone once asked me if I, as a crypto-pacifist, was outraged by the atomic bombings of Japan, and whether I thought it was immoral or unjustified. My response was this: the entire war was immoral from start to finish, and the atomic bombs were simply the final stage in an escalation that had been underway for close to a decade when we used them. The alternatives, which were either to blockade Japan and starve them to death over some matter of months or years, or killing the same number of people, or more, with guns, knives and bayonets in an invasion of Japan would have been just as immoral, inhuman and insupportable, and so we got the killing done all at once, with a weapon that ended up becoming an albatross to the entire civilized world right up to the present day.
So, enough railing about my thoughts and feelings on nuclear war. I’ll simply sum up by saying that if anyone wants to know what I really think about nuclear war and its dangers, they should watch the BBC documentary The War Game. It may be alarmist, to some extent, but you’d better have a strong constitution either way. And in the end, as Curtis LeMay said, “All war is immoral, and if you let that bother you you’re not a good soldier.”
Anyhow, this page is the second half of another spread, but it’s not as cut-up as the last one – it’s just a continuity. But if you’d like to see the whole thing, you can just pop on over to TopWebComics.com, vote for 6-Commando, and there it’ll be, in living color!
Thanks to everyone for all the comments last week – the discussion was very lively and I appreciate it enormously. And next week will be the last page of the chapter. So until then, be well, and may a Rumbler not run over your car!
First, the guest work on reMIND is still going strong: this week is the work of Aviv Itzcovitz. I recommend you check out both reMIND and Aviv’s own work, Stupid Snake – both are well worth the time, and both artists have been a great support to me as I’ve developed 6-Commando.
And second, on a related but unpleasant note, I am informed that the same, Jason Brubaker, has suffered the loss of his grandmother over the weekend. He has my deepest sympathies which I’m sure all of you share.