The Reactionary Utopian November 17, 2006 APOCALYPSE SOON by Joe Sobran Those who like to portray President Bush as a nincompoop always fasten on his alleged mispronunciation of "nuclear." It apparently never occurs to these intellectual snobs that maybe he is the only one pronouncing it correctly and the rest of us have been getting it wrong. A trivial matter, you say? We may soon face nucular war in the Middle East. Seymour Hersh of THE NEW YORKER has reported that the president has refused to rule out the nucular option against Iran. President Bush's religious views are unclear, but he is reportedly tight with people like the preacher John Hagee of the Religious Right, for whom events in the Middle East hold the promise of Armageddon. Think of Dr. Strangelove reading the Book of Revelation, and you'll get some idea of the showdown they seem to have in mind. As a Catholic, I take my hat off to these "Bible Christians." We Catholics keep Bibles on hand in case we really need them, but it must be admitted that we can't hold a candle to these folks. They can quote rings around us, Scripture-wise. What do we know? When they cite a verse like Second Ben-Hur 26:19, we can only take their word for it. And they are at their most impressive when they interpret the Book of Revelation, which lays out the schedule for the Rapture, the Second Coming, the clash of Gog and Magog, and related events right down to the minute. Hagee looks to Revelation, the most exciting book in the Good Book, for "God's foreign policy," as he calls it, and he doesn't seem to share the voters' general disillusionment with the way things are going over in Babylon and environs. When you've got the Almighty's playbook, what do election results really matter? I still can't figure out what liberals mean by the expression "right-wing," but Hagee & Co. evidently don't take their bearings from such arid secular humanist documents as THE WEALTH OF NATIONS and THE FEDERALIST PAPERS. Adam Smith and Alexander Hamilton wrote before the advent of nucular weapons gave foreign policy apocalyptic possibilities, especially with George W. Bush's finger on the button. Now that even the neoconservatives are having a few second thoughts about our Babylon policy, it's time to raise an issue that most of the postelection analyses are ignoring. In fact I've seen not a single mention of it anywhere. You could easily get the impression that it's dead, upstaged by such issues as war, illegal immigration, and same-sex marriage (a clear threat to the nucular family). I refer, of course, to the flag-burning amendment. This has energized conservatives and patriotic organizations for years, especially the American Legion, which has poured millions of dollars into the drive to prevent hippies from torching Old Glory with impunity. Emboldened by the Republicans' defeat, these dope-crazed "flower children" are already making the most of their opportunity to blacken the skies with smoke. A neighbor of mine has suffered second-degree burns on both hands while trying to rescue a flag from desecration. We could have predicted it. This is what happens when America lets its guard down. It is no discredit to the Framers of our Constitution to note that they didn't think of everything. They were only mortal, and they couldn't have foreseen the startling implosion of America after generations of moral relativism had taken their toll on the minds of our youth. But the passage of time inevitably presents new challenges, and now it's up to us to meet this one. I haven't seen Clint Eastwood's new movie, FLAGS OF OUR FATHERS, but it's not hard to imagine how the Marines who planted the flag on Iwo Jima would react if they could witness what is being done to that flag today. They would be astounded that it should even be felt necessary to amend the Constitution to prevent behavior they would have found unthinkable. It's rather like amending the Constitution to outlaw stabbing one's mother. Alas, what was once freakishly infrequent has now become so common that revising the fundamental law of the land is about the only way left to cope with it. Indeed, many well-meaning liberals will tell you with a straight face that burning the flag is protected by the Constitution itself! Such rubbish is enough to make you go nucular. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Read this column on-line at "http://www.sobran.com/columns/2006/061117.shtml". Copyright (c) 2006 by the Griffin Internet Syndicate, www.griffnews.com. This column may not be published in print or Internet publications without express permission of Griffin Internet Syndicate. You may forward it to interested individuals if you use this entire page, including the following disclaimer: "SOBRAN'S and Joe Sobran's columns are available by subscription. For details and samples, see http://www.sobran.com/e-mail.shtml, write PR@griffnews.com, or call 800-513-5053."