Sixty six years ago London and other British cities experienced some of the most massive destruction of World War II. German bombers, in September 1940, launched an air assault on London, Coventry,, Birmingham and other populated areas. The attacks were aimed at the civilian population, designed to demoralize and terrorize. Civilian casualties in the cities were in the tens of thousands. Children were sent off to live in the distant countryside.

The United States has never quite experienced anything like the blitz. In World War II, this country was essentially spared aerial bombardment and shelling from the sea. One of the reasons that the attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon in September 2001 was so horrifying is that it was so resembled the London and Coventry raids – attacks from the air that killed more than 2700 people and left behind for all to see, the rotting residue of death by violence.

At the moment, enemies of the United States can only launch episodic assaults. They cannot initiate a continuing rain of terror from the skies as the Germans did in 1940. When Nazi planes were shot from the skies by the brilliant flying skills of the RAF pilots, Germany then resorted to the V-2 or buzz bombs that, in their own way, were just as terrifying as the nighttime raids by conventional bombers. The British eventually persevered in what Winston Churchill called “their finest hour.” But the U.S. has never experienced such an event, and probably never will, short of a superpower encounter in which both sides use nuclear weapons.

So what if the Iraq war keeps deteriorating to the point that some enemy of the U.S. decides we are either weakened or indecisive enough to merit an attack? What will the reaction be of millions of Americans who have never experienced combat or anything even close to the Battle of Britain?

To put it another way, the legions of young Americans who spend their days memorizing pages of hip-hop lyrics – how will they react to the first air assault on the U.S. Or the pinheads featured on “Jaywalking” on the Jay Leno Tonight Show – what can we expect from them?

JAY LENO: Who is buried in the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier?

TYPICAL INTERVIEWEE: Duh…is it General MacArthur?

A recent survey by the Rubber Manufacturers Association found that 85% of motorists don’t know how to check their tire pressure. An earlier survey by the National Education Association showed that two-thirds of the high school graduates in Washington, D.C. couldn’t understand the cooking directions on a can of soup. And in that same group, a test revealed that 35% of high school seniors could not name the president of the United States and that 92% could not name the vice president. Unlike the World War II era, Americans are neither as religious as they once were, nor do they seem to have the same sense of purpose. Huge blocks of time are spent glued to the TV screen watching mindless drivel, or listening to “music” that tortures the trained ear, and “lyrics” that go well beyond X-rated and leave nothing, nothing to the imagination. More and more Americans, especially young Americans, have few cultural or intellectual interests. What interests they do have rarely fall outside their private lives and personal gratification.To use another phrase from Churchill, “the gathering storm” is on the horizon, with the certainty that the times that try men’s souls is approaching exponentially with each day the Iraq crisis takes another downturn. The violence in Iraq continues to escalate and the goal of building a self-sustaining Iraqi government becomes even more elusive. President Bush remains unswerving in his objection to prevail. “Our goal is clear and unchanging. Our goal is victory,” Bush said only yesterday. Meanwhile, the violence in Iraq is now being compared to the landmark Tet offensive in Vietnam, which shifted public opinion against the war.American voters’ minds are still slow to move from the economy and lower gasoline prices to the 22% jump in attacks in Iraq in which 73 U.S. troops were killed this month alone, making October the bloodiest month in two years. Since the beginning of the fighting more than 2,760 Americans have died in a war that has now lasted longer than World War II. Where is the outrage? Where is the commitment? Where is the soul of America?– Chase.Hamil– Chase.Hamil– Chase.Hamil

– Chase.Hamil

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