Chapter 19: Panel Discussion
2 November 1963, 0100 HOURS EST
"Kalo, Bob. Tonight, instead of establishing a format, I want to have a panel discussion of sorts. With me are Masters Endo-Saran, Vassi-Koln and Kren-Lor. We will be discussing anything that comes to mind."
[Note: I shall call them by initials, KL, ES, VK and KA.]
KL: "To begin, let me reflect for a while on your planet's history. Ever since Cain slew Abel, man has in some way been doing his fellows harm, either for personal reasons, war reasons or just plain meanness. All I will consider at this time is wars, of which your planet has a notorious background.
"It seems that no period has been without warfare. If it wasn't Caesar fighting the Gauls, it was the Crusaders fighting the Mohammedans, or the North fighting the South. Wars have been waged for all sorts or reasons, from eliminating dictatorships to avenging a nasty remark about a king's bald pate.
"It has yet to be shown that war has provided anything but a socially acceptable form of population control."
ES: "Let us count the blessings that war has brought to your world. It is best to begin with hatred, since of course even the weakest of you can hate. We then proceed to suspicion, since nobody trusts anyone who has a record of militarism as long as your arm. Next, we consider poverty - ah, what a blessing, poverty. It saves paying taxes. Sickness? As Florence Nightingale once said about all the sickness bred by war, 'Yecch!'
"Death? What do you expect of war? The participants don't limit themselves to wrist slapping. Destruction? Oh my, yes. What jolly good fun, blasting cities into rubble. Makes one proud to be subhuman."
KA: "I suppose you remember that World War I was to be the 'war to end all wars'. Same for World War II. Now at last you have the golden opportunity to make the dream come true. A war to end all wars. Just think of it. Now, with only a push of a button you can snuff out a million people, wipe out whole cities, fill the air with that wonderful radioactive fallout. Oh joy! That lovely mushroom cloud. Such majesty! Such symmetry! Such power! Fabulous!
"As they say, three times and out."
VK: "Indeed. And if you were to believe the Civil Defense, when all the shooting is over, you crawl out of your shelter, if the house hasn't fallen in on top of the entrance, you open the fridge, pull out a can of beer, and watch the ball game on TV.
"Such delightful innocence. But do you believe all that? Do you accept that the next war will be limited, that no atomic weapons will be used? This is one case where ignorance isn't bliss. Poor deluded Earthlings. The modern government storytellers have it all over the Brothers Grimm for spinning tall tales.
KL: "The one hope for your world seems to be the United Nations. Here is the place where the nations can settle differences without resorting to the international vandalism called war. Of course, the warmongers in the US can't stand this sissified type of dealing. A big, strong nation like the United States backing off from war, in the UN? Shameful! We are an almighty nation, say they. We come, we see, we conquer. Why should we allow ourselves to be run by the world?
"But how shall we go about turning popular opinion against the United Nations? Up pops a rightist. 'I have it!' He is elated. 'Let's say that it's Communist-controlled. Oh, I'm so clever I could kiss myself!' 'Brilliant!' cry the fanatics. 'We'll call it Communist. You're beautiful, Harrisford, Absolutely beautiful!'
"The next day, in the papers, on Radio and TV, these zealots start their campaign.
" 'See the United Nations. It is called the UN. UN, UN, UN. It is called the United Nations because all the world's nations come here to meet. Meet, meet, meet. But it is a bad place. Very very bad. It is run by Communists. Communists, Communists, Communists. If you are a good patriotic American, that should fill your heart with terror. Shudder, shudder, shudder.
" 'Aren't you happy we told you? You do not want them to continue, do you? If you let the UN continue, they might do something foolish, like bringing about world peace. Peace, peace, peace. We do not want world peace. If we have world peace, then you won't have anyone to hate. Wouldn't that be terrible? Oh! Oh! Oh!'
"In case you're wondering about the language, all these fanatics work on the assumption that the United States consists of idiots. Perhaps they are, for not acting for peace while they have the chance."
KA: "We note that everything that is opposed to one or more of the American people's belief's, customs, or conformities is said to be Communist inspired. It used to be that everything against established philosophies was the work of the devil. It seems that Russia and China have replaced hell as the source of controversy.
"What else has been called Communist? Birth control; peace marches; freethinking; atheism; Playboy; Truman and Ike; the entire US Senate. About the only thing left is the Creator, and I don't believe that even He is above the wrath of these fanatics. Watch for this argument: Integration is Communist; God favors integration; therefore, God is Communist. Asinine? Yes, but as I have said, bigots and zealots of this type don't let absurdity interfere with their activities. After all, if they can call Catholic Cardinals Communists, why can they not go to the Big Boss Himself?"
ES: "What exactly is war? The definition as I see it: war is a ridiculous contest between two teams that don't know themselves, the opponents, why they're there, where they are or what game they're playing. They are fighting a personal grudge between two world leaders who are too cowardly to engage each other personally. They have nothing against the opponent, but is it necessary to hate a man to want to kill him? They both think they are in the right and that the opponent is a vicious animal.
"It is of course a commendable form of human slaughter, since it is all very formal and civilized. In peacetime, such activity would be called mass murder.
KA: "Consider a Mr. George Metesky, known as the Mad Bomber. He was responsible for lives and property loss. During wartime, this sort of thing would earn him a Purple Heart, a Croix de Guerre, or some other such citation of valor. Since, however, New York was not officially at war with anybody, he was condemned as the perpetrator of the most abhorrent atrocities conceivable.
"Perhaps I should also explain an atrocity.
"If a GI sneaks up on an enemy soldier, knifes him in the back, shoots him ten times in the heed, and blows him to shreds with a grenade, that is honorable heroism.
"If an enemy soldier sneaks up on a GI, knifes him in the back, shoots him ten times in the head, and blows him to shreds with a grenade, that is dastardly atrocity.
"It's all a matter of who you happen to be killing for. All you need to do in pick up a war comic and the proof will be given to you. Speaking of war comics, they ought to be removed from sale, along with the war magazines, as being pro-barbarianism."
KL: "There was and still is much opposition to the atomic test ban. In order to appease this, your officials have taken to saber-rattling, bragging about the astonishingly advanced atomic force that the US has accumulated, about how many people they can wipe out, about the efficiency of their terror weapons.
"This they do with no concern whatever with the fact that they are holding millions of human lives in their hands. It is irrelevant to them that on the other side of the ideological dispute, there are millions of people living and loving as they do. To them, these people are foreigners and therefore evil, especially Russians."
"The people of the world amount to digits on a sheet of paper. They are pawns on a chessboard. Exterminators have more compassion for termites than the warmongers have for human life. The worst part of all this is that your people are indifferent to the fact that there are men in charge of their countries who have no need for love, peace and brotherhood. They shirk their responsibilities saying, 'They know what's best for us.' But do they? Is it best for your people that you and your loved ones be murdered because your leaders are too ignorant to talk things over peacefully?
"That is a warped sense of values indeed. Can you sit back and let these men determine whether or not you have the right to live or die? If you can say that it is the government's right to allow you an existence, then you might as well build churches in honor of the government, because to you the government has become God."
"Some will say, 'If God does not want us to die, we won't die.' Oh that such faith could be rewarded in fact. In reality it results in a laxity and apathy that has always led to destruction wherever it has risen. Witness Germany under Hitler. In fact, if God did not allow Hitler and Nazism, there would have been no Hitler and Nazis. Since there was, then God permitted it for His own purposes.
"If you accept free will, then you can see that even if God does not want us to die, they who are in power can spurn his will and slaughter us all anyway. In other words, you had best forget about relying solely upon God to shape your destiny, and start doing your share to mold your future. It is not biblical, but it is wisely said that God helps those who help themselves. Perhaps, though, this is asking a bit much. A race as accustomed as yours is to letting a few do your thinking for you would be hard pressed to suddenly assert yourselves as individuals.
"If you feel that it is best that you die, then we can do nothing for you."
VK: "However, if you see fit to live, then you must act now. Don't wait until the missiles start flying before you do something. Once the hell-bombs are on their way, all you will be able to do is sit and cry in your towels and wish you had listened to those who told you it would happen unless..."
KL: "The time is ripe to do something constructive. Get up, all ye of light, and speak out against the warmongers who have so long held you in derision and scorn, Show them up as the dangers to humanity that they are. Win people to your side by word and deed. Don't let them discourage you. Failure now can mean eternal rest for the human race of a type that isn't advertised by mattress companies."
ES: "We will be speaking again of these things. For now it is time to depart and proceed to the entertainment center to watch 'My Favorite Earthling.'"
KL: "So it is. For now, Aloha Oe... or has that been said before?"
VK: "It has. The Hawaiians say it."
KL: "Is that that a fact, Sherlock?"
VK: "Elementary, my dear Watson. By the way, a Watson is an electrician's offspring."
ES: "Do you know that in discovering levitation Merlin the Magician became the world's first flying sorcerer?"
KA: "Do you know why Noah's family didn't play cards on the ark?"
ES: "Because Noah was sitting on the deck."
KL: "Oh, God forbid! Va i luce, Bob."
VK: "Aloha oe. Ha!"
KL: "Okay, okay. You've made your point, Sherlock."
VK: "You were born with your point, but that hat covers it well."
KL: "By damn, sir, that means WAR!"
ALL: "And thus it begins."
[Note: this was before the Korendians and the Alliance became aware of the presence of Omegan operatives. That discovery radically altered their viewpoint, and they made a formal retraction of and an apology for the comments reported above.]
© 2008 Robert P. Renaud -- all rights reserved