No Peace in Our Time

Suzann Darnall

I was infuriated this morning as I watched Obama address the United Nations. While effusively praising the UN for its peacemaking and peacekeeping he said the phrase, ". . . even as the United Nations helped avert a third world war . . ." Excuse me? When did that bunch of useless gits avert anything?

If World War III had broken out, it was most likely, through most of the years following WWII, to have happened during the era of the Cold War, when the Soviet Union was striving for world domination. The hot button point during that time came in October 1962: The Cuban Missile Crisis. When American President John F. Kennedy backed down Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev he did not rattle a bunch of ill equipped, ill trained, politically hamstrung UN peacekeepers in Nikki's face. It was Titan and Atlas ICBMs, B-52s and B-47s and plenty of United States Navy Nuclear submarines with nuke tipped SLBM in the mix that he waved, and the USSR made a hasty retreat back to their cold-soaked environs. JFK played this poker hand perfectly because the full weight of the United States military, in particular our nuclear arsenal, gave him the right and might to do it.

My entire life has been under an umbrella of Air Force blue. Really the first photo of my existence is my pretty pregnant mother all dressed up, at an Air Force ROTC ball, standing next to my handsome father in his uniform. I spent 19 years as my father's dependent daughter, then another 21 years as my husband's dependent wife. My father was a launch crew commander in Atlas and Minuteman ICBMs, and my husband a crew commander in Minuteman and worked high level development and test of the Peacekeeper ICBM.

Even now my life has the hovering protection of the USAF, because of military retirement benefits. So, I admit I am prejudiced towards the side of the military in general and the United States Air Force specifically. And, I have to say, I pay great credit to the now defunct Strategic Air Command, for keeping the world a safer place for most of my life.

Some of my earliest memories are of visiting an Atlas missile site and seeing Air Force planes. I cannot remember not knowing about missiles, airplanes, and war. My father was a student of WWII and it was natural that I followed his footsteps. I started reading about WWII in elementary school and never stopped. I also loved military television and movies. Two favorites have always been "Strategic Air Command", with Jimmy Stewart, and "A Gathering of Eagles", with Rock Hudson. Both go into life as part of SAC and touch on how SAC stood between us and the "bad guys." We lived that life, and those films were true to life.

I have to say I've never felt quite so safe since SAC faded into our past. Something about the old SAC mailed-fist insignia patch was reassuringly threatening. I am not so much about kinder and gentler when it comes to protecting our country. I have to admit I like the idea of the word "war" versus "defense" when speaking about the department over our military. Because I want a proactive, not reactive, system. I want them to stop the "bad guys" before they cross the line … or our borders.

But, back to the idea of the UN as the ultimate peacekeepers of the past 70 years. I don't think so! They have never been anything more than a little worldwide club for corruption. A place for a big chunk of American money to be poured down the drain.

When has a UN peacekeeping force ever been first boots on the ground? Don't they usually show up after U.S. and allies make it safe or at least safer?

Mr. Obama needs to get a good briefing on what men like General Curtis E. LeMay, General Thomas S. Powers, and other Commanders In Chief of Strategic Air Command did to set up that magnificent military force and what they and millions of other soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen did for all the years of the Cold War to keep peace in "our" world. It's clear BO hasn't a clue about what has made this nation great. Barry, I can assure you it ain't the United Nations. The day that big building is turned into condos, when we stop supporting it, and the UN is headquartered on some island in the Indian Ocean or at Katmandu, our world will be better off.

© Suzann C. Darnall, SEPTEMBER 2011

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