Green Room

From Here to Eternal Damnation: The War after Armageddon by Ralph Peters

posted at 12:25 pm on October 31, 2009 by


As the principal action of Ralph Peters’ new novel commences, religious war is consuming the world.  Realizing a scenario that Peters was already discussing a few years ago in response to Mark Steyn’s controversial demographic theories, the Europeans have reverted to their old racist and genocidal ways, forcibly expelling a Muslim population associated with escalating terrorism. To make matters worse, US humanitarian intervention has been frustrated by Jihadi resistance, and in a way that in America has encouraged a Christian fundamentalist movement whose charismatic leader had already been calling for a crusade – even before the Islamists nuked downtown Los Angeles and the Las Vegas Strip, and Iran hit Israel.

The story follows the first military campaign launched in the wake of these events, and mainly consists of combat amidst converging stratagems in the contaminated environs of Tel Aviv, Haifa, and Jerusalem. It becomes clear that the only people standing in the way of a global war of annihilation and the end of American democracy are in fact the soldiers and officers of the old US armed forces, originally assigned merely to support the new US Christian forces. Since Peters is, it seems, determined to tell a cautionary tale rather than an entertaining or inspiring one, the good guys, represented by assorted front-line grunts and especially by a crusty old school general, must fail, and fail they do – comprehensively.

That’s not a spoiler: We know from the first few pages that the conniving Christianists direct from left-world central casting, at the head of their own “Military Order of Brothers in Christ,” are going to triumph, to all our woe. The only questions the narrative leaves open are secondary ones: How miserably and explosively the catastrophe will unfold , whether some at least symbolic seeds of hope happen to be planted along the way, and, incidentally, what the rest of the world is doing with itself while the flower of America’s youth and the flower of Islam’s are busy annihilating each other and countless innocents .

Peters has retained the skills he’s honed over the course of writing 23 previous books, including an ability to render character and combat economically and vividly, but I won’t pretend the results held my interest long enough to prevent me from starting to skim – a fact that may have to do with why I missed any explanation, I’m guessing a religious one, of what happened to all the women in American uniform. (This is a nearly 100% all-boy novel.) Eventually, I found myself skipping all the way to the obscenely violent final massacres and dreary epilogue – during which latter, while looking back from twilight years on the main storyline and subsequent horrors, our narrator finally reveals his own decisive role in the unhappy events, and helpfully informs us that “killing a billion people was difficult” (italics in the original). 

Revealed as a traitor to his own highest values and aspirations, he lives in a world defined by faith but utterly unredeemable – in a word, hopeless. I can’t help but wonder whether, at bottom, Peters sees our own world, and his own place within it, any differently.

cross-posted at Zombie Contentions

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Yeah cuz you know who I see leading a religious crusade to destroy the US? This guy!

apollyonbob on October 31, 2009 at 1:03 PM

So what about the Jews huh? Are we all radioactive slag or something?

Defector01 on October 31, 2009 at 1:26 PM

Have no fear, Defector01, a scheming Zionist general chomps at the bit to play his part and prepare for the re-birth of his nation. Peters is oddly silent, at first, on what happened to the Israeli Jews who weren’t annihilated in the initial barrage, and also on whatever happened to the Israeli nukes that I, for one, would have expected to see dumped in retaliation on diverse Iranian “hot spots.”

CK MacLeod on October 31, 2009 at 1:43 PM

Defector01 on October 31, 2009 at 1:26 PM

Hey, that was my line. Well, over at CKM’s other blog. Wouldn’t be fair to leave the Judaists out when making stuff up about Christianists so that everyone who prays can be equated with Islamists.

J.E. Dyer on October 31, 2009 at 2:43 PM

Is it jsut me, or is the review more confusing than the book? I’ve always been a big Ralp Peters ever since I read ‘Red Army’ in the 80s, so I guess I’ll have to give this one a try.

Ganryu on October 31, 2009 at 7:45 PM

CK MacLeod,

the Europeans have reverted to their old racist and genocidal ways, forcibly expelling a Muslim population associated with escalating terrorism

Forcible expulsion and genocide are not the same thing. The latter means the total destruction of an ethnic group. Also, is it possible that the motive for this fictional expulsion has more to do with “escalating terrorism” than good old-fashioned racism?

In Peters’ famous New York Post article of a few years ago he cited the Repeal of the Edict of Nantes as his reason for thinking that Europeans would expel Muslims. By defintion that could not have been motivated by racism as all parties to the affair were French.

Do you think that the Benes Decree was an immoral or unjustified action? Were Jan Masaryk and Eduard Benes (in your opinion) examples of “racist and genocidal” Europeans?

aengus on October 31, 2009 at 8:21 PM

Eventually, I found myself skipping all the way to the obscenely violent final massacres and dreary epilogue – during which latter, while looking back from twilight years on the main storyline and subsequent horrors, our narrator finally reveals his own decisive role in the unhappy events, and helpfully informs us that “killing a billion people was difficult” (italics in the original).

The idea that an American Christian army would deliberately commit genocide against the world’s Muslims is not, in my opinion, believeable in the slightest. Peters has an overactive imagination and his distorted fantasies have a negative effect on people’s attitudes towards important issues.

aengus on October 31, 2009 at 8:34 PM

Forcible expulsion and genocide are not the same thing.

Yes and no: The Germans in this book – the action takes up only a few pages in the midst of a flashback – are directly associated with the Nazis, with some cops laughing about a boxcar full of dead Muslims standing for the whole continent. The novel describes an ethnic cleansing and effectively a genocide of the European Muslims, though not represented as a Hitlerian obsession with annihilating the Muslims like vermin. The Euros are also assigning collective guilt and engaging in racial or ethnic hygiene against the entirety of their Muslim populations, heavily focused on the recent immigrants regardless of nominal nationality.

I don’t have an opinion on the Benes Decree. I’ll look it up one day.

CK MacLeod on October 31, 2009 at 9:21 PM

Is it jsut me, or is the review more confusing than the book? I’ve always been a big Ralp Peters ever since I read ‘Red Army’ in the 80s, so I guess I’ll have to give this one a try.

Ganryu on October 31, 2009 at 7:45 PM

I also have read all of Peters’ books going back to the ’80s and always found them to be an excellent read but having just read this latest I am extremely disappointed. Good fiction has a pausible plot. This did not even though the small unit action was well written. I would not waste your time and let it spoil your admiration for Mr. Peters’ work.

bill30097 on October 31, 2009 at 9:45 PM

Okay. That makes more sense.

Also, I did some checking and in a New York Post article (no longer online) from September 7, 2006 Peters writes:

A wise strategist seeks to divide his enemies, not to recruit for them. Some of the bigots out there might like to try to kill a billion Muslims, but I’m not signing up for their genocidal daydreams—nor will my fellow Americans.

This is near the end of an article in which Peters repeatedly accuses serious Islam critics of being Nazi-like bigots. His position is that Islam is a great religion that has been perverted by fanatics (his words).

Peters is a kind of Wilsonian fundamentalist, if that makes any sense.

aengus on October 31, 2009 at 9:49 PM

I begin to think that Peters is great at tactics but soso at strategy

bill30097 on October 31, 2009 at 11:51 PM

Have no fear, Defector01, a scheming Zionist general chomps at the bit to play his part and prepare for the re-birth of his nation. Peters is oddly silent, at first, on what happened to the Israeli Jews who weren’t annihilated in the initial barrage, and also on whatever happened to the Israeli nukes that I, for one, would have expected to see dumped in retaliation on diverse Iranian “hot spots.”

CK MacLeod

Oh goody. So we’re mostly slag, Israel’s being ‘reborn’ by a charlatan and when the Muslims and Christians go on their holy war, we get trampled underfoot.

I think I’ve seen this before in about the 1000s around the crusades.

Defector01 on November 1, 2009 at 11:54 AM

Think I’ll pass on this one. If Iran ever fires on Israel the whole middle east will be a glowing glass parking lot. As far as the northern europeans resorting to past ethnic cleansing? Naw, they’d sit there like little girls screaming for someone, again, to come help them – only this time it could be Russia. Actually, we could combine our theories and come up with a really great plot.

24K lady on November 1, 2009 at 4:11 PM

Think I’ll pass on this one. If Iran ever fires on Israel the whole middle east will be a glowing glass parking lot. As far as the northern europeans resorting to past ethnic cleansing? Naw, they’d sit there like little girls screaming for someone, again, to come help them – only this time it could be Russia. Actually, we could combine our theories and come up with a really great plot.

24K lady on November 1, 2009 at 4:11 PM

Also, please don’t forget the Israeli nukes smuggled into the capital of various countries as insurance for “never again”. And who can blame them after 6 million murdered.

bill30097 on November 1, 2009 at 9:45 PM

Also, please don’t forget the Israeli nukes smuggled into the capital of various countries as insurance for “never again”.

Which countries are those? Are your referring to Seymour Hersh’s book, The Samson Option?

aengus on November 2, 2009 at 7:42 AM