Friday, April 13, 2007

So long, Kurt Vonnegut

The death of Kurt Vonnegut saddens me. I did not know him, neither was he one of my favorite authors. Other than Slaughterhouse Five, I read his other books primarily because I thought a well-read person was supposed to have read them. I put Slaughterhouse Five in a different category because it had a profound impact on me. I chose to read it in the first place because I was a science fiction freak and it was advertised as a science fiction book. As it turns out it was much more than just another good sci-fi yarn. It was the first anti-war book that I recognized for what it was. Not that it was the first I read, but I had always been able to dismiss the anti-war arguments as not be relevant or applicable to me. At the time that the travails of Billy Pilgrim affected me, I was serving in the army in Germany and soon to be deployed to Vietnam. I won't go into all of the details of my conversion from hawk to dove but give Kurt Vonnegut credit for being very significant in that process. He will be missed.

The destruction of Dresden can be seen in the picture below. While the bombing of Dresden was not charged as a war-crime, it is a clear example of the horrors of modern warfare with the use of weapons of mass destruction. Destruction like this is one of the main reasons I am firmly convinced that the concept of "just war" is no longer valid.

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