Robert C. Koehler
June 13, 2011
There are 20,000 nuclear weapons on the planet, a quarter of them ready for launch at a moment's suicidal impulse, aimed at countries that stopped being enemies two decades ago. It's six minutes to midnight. "Disarmament" has as much cachet in America's corridors of power as "socialism."
And the U.S. House, bless its evil heart, has just sliced the Achilles tendon of peace. It recently passed the National Defense Authorization Act of 2011, which has many seriously worrisome provisions, two of which stand in stark, grinning contrast to one another.
One part of the bill, which now heads to the
Another part of the bill hampers implementation of the New START nuclear arms control treaty between
It bars funding for warhead reduction until the Departments of Defense and Energy certify their commitment to spend
In other words, the bill would grant the current and all future presidents the authority to wage war unilaterally, that is, "war on terror," an unwinnable and therefore endless war against a concept or tactic; but it would prohibit the president from pursuing peace unilaterally, by reducing the country's obscene stockpile of thousands of undeployed, unimaginably destructive nuclear weapons below START levels.
U.S. nuclear weapons planning is based on the concept of "fewer but newer -- nuclear weapons forever,"
And the Republican-controlled House is hell-bent on crafting the perfect predator state, one that can wage war without the least need to entertain doubt or acknowledge conscience.
"Citizens who brawl on the streets are punished," writes
This is our dilemma, those of us -- most of humanity, I'm quite certain -- on the other side of the nuclear divide, wanting a future for our children far saner than present reality. The sustaining myth of the nation-state is conquest and domination, and the more power a nation attains, the more, I fear, it grounds itself in this myth.
Thus while historical forces have pushed
Nuclear weapons forever!
What is it going to take to cause a shift, a letting go at the national level of the myth that might makes right? As individuals, most people begin letting go of it before adolescence.
Yet at a national level, the worst of our impulses rise and converge. They become consensus. We are now governed by the consensus that
But that end is clear enough to those outside the consensus. All we need is the right enemy.
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