Hey, everyone – I’m experiencing some technical difficulties here in the Bunker.  I upgraded my system to the newest OS and then my system wouldn’t boot, then when I fixed that it started taking half an hour to start up while encrypting itself, then when I fixed that, Photoshop wouldn’t work, then when I fixed that, my tablet stopped working.

So until I get this nonsense sorted out I’m afraid we’re on a rain delay here.  More news as it develops.

I don’t think this is a memory Colonel Haulley wants to have.  This is the beginning of a scene I wrote way back while I was working on Chapter 1, and it’s nice to finally be here.  I feel very accomplished having gotten this far.

This week, man… oy vey iz mir. God knows, nothing I have to say is likely to make any great difference, and I’m not in the market to rile people up – flames will be suppressed, I warn you now.  That said, however, the past few days have really driven home to me how totally screwed up we’ve allowed our world to become.  People who know more about these things than I do are starting to talk about World War III, God help us, and the prospect is starting to look less like science fiction and more like a distinct possibility.  It appears, from the Western perspective, which is what I’m stuck with, that there’s some kind of imperialist adventure afoot in Eastern Europe, and the war in Ukraine, where several friends of mine live, has begun taking on frightening new dimensions.

On the radio this week, I heard what I can only imagine is a particularly right-wing member of the Russian Duma talking about Ukraine as being pathetic and worthless, expressing his willingness to send in the Russian army to dispose of the Ukrainians themselves, his confidence that it could and should be done in a matter of hours, and discussing this kind of destructive warfare with a kind of brutal relish that I find unworthy of a leader of a modern nation.  And all of this, supposedly over what language people are speaking?  I find it hard to understand, as hard to understand as the rush in some quarters of my own government to start sending weapons into the fray to escalate the violence even further, which strikes me as similarly wrongheaded and crazy.  And at the same time, in the Middle East and Africa, well… the level of depravity and barbarism there is already reaching levels that would have been worthy of the greatest of the Fascist atrocities, in brutality if not yet in scale.  Although I’m sure they’re working on that, as well.

What can possibly come of all this?  I don’t know if this is the start of something horrible for the world, or if it’s just another sign of the times.  Maybe this will fizzle out as well and become another footnote to history.  But it’s instructive to remember that in 2001, India and Pakistan came to the brink of a nuclear war.  This is a thing that actually happened, and nobody remembers it now.  But it happened.  And this kind of thing can so easily get out of hand.  This may mark me as an impractical Western libertarian or a stick-in-the-mud, but as a builder, I know exactly how hard it is to build beautiful things, and how easy it is to destroy them.  And given the fear of fascists in all quarters, let me instead paraphrase the Communists, and say that I think everyone here has a duty to remember that we’re all just workers shedding blood for the benefit of the ruling classes.  Don’t be blinded by the propaganda and don’t fool yourselves about what’s really happening here.  In amongst all the rhetoric and politics and reptile-brain instinctive responses about ethnicity and race and religion and all that crap, please, God, you HAVE to remember that every weapon of war has a human being on both ends.

Even the ancient Greeks knew that if you’re fighting a war for the most righteous cause you can imagine, you’re still doing something evil.  They knew that in 1500 BC.  It’s a lesson we’re likely to forget unless we’re constantly reminded of it.  The only thing this will lead to is destruction for its own sake.  We can’t conquer each other, and have no reason to do so.  We can only wreck what we have.

Put the guns down.  Please.