I’ve often wondered what kind of person would choose a career in the research and development of weapons of mass destruction. Did those who created the atom bomb have a ‘Doh!’ moment when they realised they’d unleashed hell on the world? Did they regret what they did or celebrate it?
Mostly I wonder: If they were so intelligent how could they be so stupid?
And today, do those who explore breathtakingly evil uses of chemicals and bacteria sleep easy at night? Do they proudly announce to their children that mummy or daddy invented a new and better way to kill countless innocent strangers today? Does anyone boast that he or she is the originator of napalm, land mines or cluster bombs? Is it on their CV?
Virtually every day now we witness worldwide outrage against the demented acts of suicide bombers and their homemade explosive devices, while remaining silent at the countless billions that are expended in the heinous creations of the arms industry.
When ISIS infected zombies attack with knives and runaway trucks our shock, anger and sadness knows no bounds. Meanwhile, when the perceived ‘Good Guys’ kill countless thousands with remote-controlled weapons of unimaginable cruelty and we stay tightlipped.
It seems that these days wars are fought for dubious reasons and never won. The only winners are the logistics companies who move in to feast upon the spoils and clean up the mess.
Have you ever noticed how those increasing military spending always speak in terms of defence when history shows that weapons are most often used to attack?
Do you care that the innocent victims of these attacks are simply referred to as collateral damage? Do you know how many innocent people die each year? Do you care?
The last figure I saw for the cost of war per annum was US$13.6 trillion in 2015. I’m not sure how this figure was arrived at but assuming it’s in the ball park I’m going to go out on a limb here and suggest that every problem in the world: injustice, poverty, disease, famine and everything in between could be solved with a fraction of this level of expenditure.
Furthermore, millions of challenging and rewarding jobs would be created as a result because there is so much to be done. Instead of armies of soldiers we could have armies of doctors, nurses, engineers, builders, teachers, scientists and so forth. Good people doing good work. Imagine.
I’m convinced this would do more for world peace than all the weapons in the world.
Okay, I’m fully aware that many people, including some of you, will be shaking their heads at the depth of my apparent naivety. I know I’m beating a tired old drum. And I know full well that once the genie is out of the bottle you can’t put it back. Any dream of an arms-free world peace ended in Hiroshima.
However, I will never stop hoping that someday, somehow the madness will end.
With that impossible dream in mind, I will continue to write songs like the two I feature today off AFTER THE DAM BROKE.
They’re songs with tunes you can hum and words that matter — at least to me.
BOATS UPON THE HARBOUR
Inspired by New Zealanders protesting visits by nuclear-armed ships. I was attempting to stir ‘dinner party liberals’ into supporting the cause.
YOUNG AT HEART
A ‘Boomers’ whimsical and self-effacing look at life.