CXLI – The Manhattan Projection

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It
is interesting to observe the Bush administration's
self-righteous posturing over the question
of whether Iran is — or should be prevented
from — developing a nuclear weapons
system. Coming from a country that holds
some ten to twelve thousand of such
weapons in its quiver, American appeals
to the dangers of nuclear proliferation
seem hypocritical and self-serving.
On the other hand, allowing only the
charter members of the nuclear club
in on the racket does have the same
purpose, at the international level,
that gun-control laws serve domestically:
to disarm those the empire wishes to
control with the threat of superiority
in weaponry.

Please
do not misunderstand what I am saying.
I have no use for military weapons of
any sort. They are, by definition,
instruments of death used by the state
to subdue people and enforce their obedience
through violence. Two medieval statues
at the entrance to the royal castle
in Prague illustrate this most vividly.
One shows a brute about to slay his
prostrate victim with a sword, while
the other depicts a victim about to
be done in by a plug-ugly wielding a
club. At least there was truth-in-advertising
in such statuary! The methods of the
state have never changed; there has
only been an improvement in the capacity
of political systems to inflict massive
numbers of deaths upon the innocent.

Bear
in mind that this current anti-nuclear
crusade is not directed at any of the
established nuclear club members. Russia,
China, and Pakistan, for instance, are
too well endowed with such weaponry
for the American government to take
its own rhetoric seriously at the expense
of these countries. A bully would never
be so foolish as to go after anyone
of comparable strength. This is why
bullies confine their attacks to the
likes of Iraq, Libya, Grenada, Kosovo,
Lebanon, Somalia, the Sudan, Afghanistan,
and other nations too weak to pose a
genuine threat. While a few mumblings
were directed at North Korea — particularly
when it was test-firing missiles — the
Bush administration knew better than
to talk of u201Cpreemptive strikesu201D against
a nuclear-armed dictator.

This
moralistic crusade is rendered absurd
when one recalls that Bush administration
sociopaths have publicly stated either
their willingness to employ multiple
nuclear strikes upon u201Csuspectedu201D targets,
or their refusal to rule out the use
of nuclear weapons in the u201Cwar on terror.u201D
Is it any wonder, given such pronouncements,
that countries considered persona non
grata by this administration might want
to discourage such attacks by having
nuclear weapons of their own with which
to threaten retaliation?

Most
Americans have a nave opinion of how
the rest of the world views their country.
This is why so many were easily gulled
by Bush administration lies into believing
that the Iraqi people would welcome
American soldiers as u201Cliberators.u201D After
all, isn't this view consistent with
World War II newsreels showing crowds
of French or Italians cheering the arrival
of American tanks that replaced Nazi
invaders and occupiers?

But
the United States no longer basks in
the reflected glory of its soldiers
unlocking the gates of concentration
camps, or handing out chocolate bars
to children. Americans are now
seen as the invaders and occupiers.
The humanitarian image began to tarnish
at least as early as the nuclear attacks
upon Hiroshima and Nagasaki, atrocities
that most of the world now recognize
as serving American postwar geopolitical
interests, rather than the propagandized
purpose of shortening the war. These
bombings — along with earlier raids
on such non-military targets as Tokyo,
Dresden, Wrzburg, Hamburg, and other
population centers — revealed to the
world that not even an American government
was immune to the vicious and inhumane
virus of state power.

I
recall a 1980s-era television talk show
featuring Phil Donahue and a Soviet
journalist, Vladimir Posner. On one
program, a discussion of nuclear weaponry
ensued; and Donahue was troubled by
the fear, apparently expressed by many
Russians, that the United States might
use such weapons. u201CBut what would make
the Russian people think that Americans
would do such a thing?u201D Donahue queried.
u201CBecause you're the only country in
history that has done so,u201D replied Posner.

I
have long believed that the people who
comprise any nation are always more
decent and of higher character than
those who run their governments. Most
Americans probably think of themselves
as peaceful, loving individuals who
respect other people. It is doubtless
this sense that causes those who identify
themselves with their nation-state to
reject accusations of torture, murder,
genocide, and other vile practices committed
in their name.

On
the other hand, each of us has a u201Cdark
sideu201D to our personality, wherein lie
unconscious voices and forces that remind
us of the negative qualities that we
share with the rest of mankind by virtue
of our humanity. Each of us has the
capacity for violence, dishonesty, laziness,
irresponsibility, and other attributes
we are uncomfortable acknowledging,
particularly to ourselves. This is not
to suggest that we act upon such
traits; it is sufficient that we fear
that, properly motivated, we might
so act.

Many
— perhaps most — of us are uncomfortable
confronting our u201Cdark side,u201D and try
to rid our sense of self of such qualities
by projecting them onto those we have
selected as u201Cscapegoatsu201D for our own
felt shortcomings. Wars have been the
most vicious and destructive manifestation
of our projections. Wanting to extend
their own power over other parts
of the world, political leaders convince
their citizenry that a competitor state
has plans to u201Ctake over the world,u201D
and must be militarily opposed. The
state must then unleash the u201Cdark sideu201D
forces of its followers with a sufficient
ferocity to enlist their participation
in its butcherous schemes.

Fear,
driven by lies and the fabrication of
foreign threats (e.g., the blowing up
of the battleship Maine, the
sinking of the Lusitania, or
the attack on Pearl Harbor), becomes
the trigger that allows most of us to
lose our individual sense of reason,
decency, and responsibility, in a herd-oriented
mindset. Like members of a lynch-mob,
we are then inclined to strike out at
any designated scapegoat whose punishment,
we delude ourselves, will relieve the
anxiety brought on by this fear not
so much of others, as of ourselves.

The
war against Iraq could not have been
undertaken without the arousal of fears
— generated by a consistent pattern
of governmental and media lies — that
Iraq had u201Cweapons of mass destructionu201D
which they intended for immediate use
upon America. Coming on the heels of
9/11, the boobeoisie fell for this big
lie with the same eagerness as earlier
generations had in earlier wars.

How
does any of this relate to the American
government's current campaign against
Iran acquiring nuclear weapons? In the
case of either Iraq or Iran, why would
u201Cweapons of mass destructionu201D arouse
the fears of Americans? Is it just the
destructive capacity of such tools?
If this is the explanation, why aren't
such fears directed against Great Britain,
Israel, France, India, or the United
States loosing such destructive power
upon the world? The United States has
not only used such weapons in the past,
but has expressed its willingness to
use them in the present. Why is this
fact not strong enough to overcome the
blatant lies that keep American troops
in Iraq, with an American public uncertain
as to whether to end the conflagration?

Might
psychological projection offer some
explanation for this response to alleged
Iranian plans to get into the nuclear
weapons racket? Other than the faithful
viewers of Faux News, perhaps,
few will doubt that the invention of
nuclear weaponry was a dreadful mistake
in human judgment. It was brought on,
of course, by a faith in the dualistic
nature of political systems: the u201Cgood
guysu201D against the u201Cbad guys.u201D Nuclear
scientists — operating as the u201CManhattan
Projectu201D – failed to see the implications
not only of creating weapons capable
of destroying all of life on this planet,
but of turning them over to political
systems whose u201Chealth,u201D as Randolph
Bourne advised, is to be found in the
conduct of wars.

Even
as the debate over Iranian nuclear research
escalates, the American government —
with already the second largest stockpile
of nuclear weapons — is overseeing a
contest between the Lawrence Livermore
National Laboratory, and the Los Alamos
National Laboratory, to create a new-and-improved
nuclear bomb. Such a weapon will then
be available for use by a government
that has already indicated its willingness
to once again employ it against other
nations.

Is
it unreasonable to suppose that the
basis for the u201Cdark sideu201D fears — and,
perhaps the guilt — emanating from the
monstrously destructive research of
the Manhattan Project, and being continued
today by the same American state, are
being projected onto the likes of Iraq
and Iran? Might the baseless fear that
u201Ctheyu201D have u201Cweapons of mass destructionu201D
operate as a psychological cover for
the fact that the United States has
been both the creator and exporter of
such horrendous weaponry? Are Americans
to take comfort in slaughtering the
innocent civilians of other countries
as a way of relieving themselves of
the sense of guilt that their nation
— with which they identify — was the
one to have created and employed the
Frankenstein monster against which they
now rail?

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