Redemption of the Avenging Angel

Member Group : Lincoln Institute

In the Bible’s Book of Revelations it says: "and the first angel went and poured out his vial and there fell a noisome and grievous sore upon men." If God were to create such an avenging angel to deliver his wrath could it ever earn redemption? A question undoubtedly to be argued by theologians through centuries, yet answered on earth 13 years ago this week.

The ultimate avenging, yet redeemed, angel exists among us. His name is Lee Butler and he is retired from the United States Air Force. General Butler stunned friends in a 1996 speech when he said: "nuclear war is a raging, insatiable beast whose instincts and appetites we pretend to understand but could not possibly control."

He knows what he’s talking about. Until 1994 Butler headed the U.S. Strategic Air Command. His bombers were in the air 24/7 prepared to annihilate anyone daring American power. His tactics included SIOP – the Strategic Integrated Operating Plan – that would coordinate the vengeance of some 10,000 nuclear bombs loaded on submarines, missile silos and aircraft. Enough fire power to kill the whole world five times over. Butler would fly a doomsday aircraft called ‘Looking Glass’ while the earth was being incinerated underneath him.

Butler’s prophecy about "appetites we pretend to understand" has come tragically, dangerously true. North Korea is estimated to have 6 primitive atomic weapons. Primitive is particularly nasty, especially if they rain down on Seoul. They’d wipe out most of the civilian population. If the North Koreans can swap a few bombs for some of the new Iranian Sajjil-2 missiles they could lob their infant nukes on to the west coast of the United States, killing 150 to 200 million Americans. Those of us lucky enough to live in the east would only have radiation burns, cancer and jelly-like nuked eyeballs.

Yet the administration pays scant attention to the deadly vials of nuclear weapons that are now spread through out any axis of evil one can imagine. Dangerous neighbors India and Pakistan have joined the nuke club. Allegedly the Israelis joined it 40 years ago and shared the technology with South Africa in return for testing grounds. The North Koreans have theirs and play games with the U.S. over disarmament while doing business with the Iranians. After testing their new long range missile last week the Iranians invaded an Iraqi oil field. The Israelis bombed Syrian sites earlier this year that were alleged to be nuclear labs.

Since his retirement from the Air Force, Butler has been extraordinarily successful in his career as peace maker. In partnership with former Soviet Supreme Commander Alexander Lebed he is credited with helping reduce the U.S. and Russian nuclear arsenals to fewer than 6,000 pieces. That’s still enough to deliver Armageddon but at least the numbers lessen the chance of it happening accidentally.

This sorry planet needs more voices like General Butler’s to stave off a nuclear catastrophe. If the world does not wake up to his message someday some rogue commander will launch one, a committed fanatic acting on God’s orders will sneak one into a major city or a failing government will deliver hellfire and brimstone on some perceived enemy. To prevent nuclear decimation the world, now more than ever, needs the song of the angels. The one that was sung outside of Bethlehem in Judea over 2,000 years ago: "peace on earth to people of good will."

Albert Paschall is Senior Fellow at the Lincoln Institute of Public Opinion Research, a non-profit educational foundation with offices in Harrisburg and King Of Prussia. Somedays is syndicated to leading newspapers and radio stations in Pennsylvania. [email protected]
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