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Saturday, March 26, 2011

Give A Fuck

Why am I so obsessed with nuclear holocaust? It's inescapably fascinating to me. Even comforting, to have some idea that maybe someday, common sense will be worth more than the hammer-and-tongs parroting of fashionable life behaviours... for anyone still alive in their earthly equivalent of hell.

Military doctrine in nuclear countries holds that it is not only impossible to protect civilians from a nuclear attack in significant numbers, it is irresponsible. For what good is a nuclear deterrent unless both populations (the targets in a nuclear war, make no mistake) are helpless in the face of the atrocious destruction? This sounds insane, I know. It is.

Immediacy remains our most precious state, and the eternity of the moment can make the thought, of doing the work to eliminate nuclear weapons (and indeed, all of war), seem onerous for more or less the same result down the road. But it makes a difference to our culture, to the shared structure we have built, and do love:

Culture will be the permanent victim in a nuclear holocaust. People will always be people, ('as long as there is pleasure,' I used to say) but the specific objects, records and technology that embody our culture will be gone or broken; and with them, all of what we have constructed that has made us more than animals-with-a-lot-of-potential.

War used to be a kind of limited, formal kind of game played on battlefields, between the professional armies of lords. Then weapons began to be used against civilian populations (which initially had been unthinkable, and was greeted with horror and outrage); after all, the populations were providing the soldiers and materiel critical to continue the conflict.

Modern technology made the battle line moveable; and every weapon more lethal; war was waged beyond the confines of a battlefield, and sowed much more indiscriminate destruction on homes and infrastructure. Finally we arrived in the nuclear age, when entire cultures could be scorched into nothing.

It seems unlikely there will be a nuclear war tomorrow. But the modern concept of 'security', a word invented by equal parts, professional soldiers (concerned-protectors-doing-their-best-with-an-existing-situation), and total assholes (warmongering-weaponselling-weasels), holds that we don't need to worry about aggression, so much as we need to worry about capability.

You can't blow up an inbound nuclear MIRV with a rifle or a battle tank. So all you can do (besides make peace, DUUUUUH) is to build your own WMDs to provide for the possibility of an unacceptable revenge. 'Mutual deterrence' is what it's called.

What I want is a world with no nuclear weapons, and only enough military to police the world against despots and crazy people and help dig people out of blizzards and such...

Then we as a culture could look outwards and begin to work towards our full potential....

*wan smile*...

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