Thursday, June 08, 2006

The Apocalypse--A Couple of Days Late

Okay, I can now freely admit that I have been laughing for weeks over 06-06-06. Everytime I saw a fundamentalist Christian expounding their views on the coming of the Antichrist and the aproach of Armageddon because of a date it was difficult for me to restrain my all-too-audible laughter. I distinctly remember a few years ago (about 20, actually) when a friend of mine was convinced that the Rapture was coming. She spent all day in a field waiting to ascend into Heaven with the rest of the righteous and was quite shocked that she had to creep back into the house, thoroughly chilled from a soaking rain, and continue life with all the rest of us sinners. I told her at the time that her greatest sin was presuming to know the will of God.

She didn't speak to me for six months, during which time I continued to sin quite happily and quite proficiently as an example to her holier-than-thouness.

At any rate, yesterday I was quite cheerfully occupied with laughing at the near-miss of the Apocalypse. Now, I'm not quite as sure.

The news that Al-Zarqawi was killed yesterday has changed my perspective a little. Granted, on the surface this has very little to do with 666 or 06-06-06 but bear with me a minute. Is this death good news? Of course it is. It's very good news for the coalition forces and the people of Iraq. This is at least one major cog gone from the wheels of the insurgency; and really gone, judging from the fact that we dropped two 500 lb bombs on his head. (all I can say about that is- ewwwwwwwwwwwww!)

However, the chain-reaction that will follow this is disconcerting. To think that Al-Zarqawi's death will effectively 'end' terrorism in the Middle East and particularly Iraq is naive. Granted, it will send it into disarray, but the organizations are still there. This might send Bin Laden out from whatever spider hole he's been hiding in with his dialysis machine, but I doubt that as well. One thing you can say about cowards--they are consistent. If you actually read the book of Revelations (which, I've noticed, most Christians really don't) then you know that Armageddon refers to a town in the Middle East, where the earthly armies of the Antichrist meet with the forces of good.

But something happens before the war actually takes place. There is no conclusive victory or defeat, although the valley of Armageddon fills up to a horse's knees with blood. Sound familiar? Does it sound, perhaps, like our war on terror?

Now, I'm not really a conspiracy theorist. (no, really, I'm not!) The death of a terrorist who orchestrates and revels in the deaths of innocents can only be a good thing. I have to admit, however, that I think this event may lead to an escalating spiral of renewed violence in the Middle East. Sometimes, when a group loses its head it retaliates with random, unplanned, scattered attacks that are impossible to track. And while I watch video of Iraqis dancing in the streets for joy at Al-Zarqawi's death, I keep in mind the fact that they are dancing with guns. If someone tried that in the States they'd end up in jail. In the Middle East, however, it is a fact of life; they all have guns, have to have guns if they are to survive. Those guns, I fear, will be used more rather than less in the weeks ahead.

So is Al-Zarqawi's death the harbinger for a true Apocalypse? Nah. He wasn't a viable candidate for the Antichrist, after all. He was nothing more than a two-bit, cowardly, hiding in a safe house with a woman and a child thinking that would keep him alive sort of jackass who had nothing better to do than to kill his own people to prove some obscure point about how he had a direct line to Allah. As a matter of fact, he was really just an idiot with a gun.

Let's not make more out of this than it is.