World War III?

I have been keeping up on the situation in Turkey, so I’ve been reading news the past few days. This quote from President Bush on Iran caught my eye:

“So I’ve told people that if you’re interested in avoiding World War III, it seems like you ought to be interested in preventing them from have the knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon. I take the threat of Iran with a nuclear weapon very seriously. And we’ll continue to work with all nations about the seriousness of this threat.”

I cannot help but notice when I hear Bush saying things like that how cavalierly he throws around the term “world war”.  Do most of us really understand the concept of WORLD or WAR? The fighting in Iraq hardly affects most of us. Our wallets, yes. Our hearts, yes. But our every day lives?  Unless we’ve lost a loved one or know someone deployed…probably not. Most of us alive today have no concept of how a war in our backyard feels. 

I think all Americans should visit Europe, if at all possible. I was not expecting this from my visit, but I’ve learned more about the wars fought here by visiting than I ever did in a classroom. You can still feel and see the impact of the wars fought here everywhere, specifically for me the Spanish Civil War and World War II. Museums are full of art created about it, monuments were erected, pictures were taken to memorialize how places looked before and after being bombed or raided, tourists routinely tear up in bars telling you about their visit to Normandy. Itºs powerful and it’s sobering.

I know we’ve had wars on our soil, but our country was so young and little of the physical impact seems to remain. There are a few monuments (Gettysburg, Pearl Harbor – although that is hardly the backyard at 10 hours away in a modern jet) but Europe is just full of them. My fellow travelers tell me its the same in Cambodia, the former Yugoslav republics, etc. 

If there were to be this World War III Bush keeps talking about, do you wonder how would it be? Perhaps we should ask the 100K+ Iraqis who have lost their lives (or their livelihoods) as a result of this “war” how it feels. Would it play out on American soil? Would you and I be drafted to operate high-tech machinery? Would we have to ration our food and our gas? Would we plant victory gardens and turn in our cars and our irons for the metal? Or would it be over in an instant as we pursued “victory” by launching our own nukes?

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