Saturday, May 10, 2014

Atomic Energy and the Masculine Will to Power


An interesting headline:

Osaki, T. (2014, May 9). Women’s group launches bid to deny sex to men who are pro-war. Japan Times, Available,http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2014/05/09/national/womens-group-launches-bid-deny-sex-men-pro-war/#.U25tNPldWSo

[paraphrase]A Japanese women’s group has launched a campaign for peace that makes sex contingent on resistance to Japan’s growing militarization. Women who participate the campaign must make sure that their sexual partners are: “not supportive of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push to enable Japan to exercise the right to collective self-defense,” and not “engaged in any business that peddles Japan’s war weapons overseas.”

I applaud this campaign and believe that the push for war is primarily, although not exclusively, a dysfunction of the male ego. Mothers are rarely eager to sacrifice their sons and daughters unless deeply propagandized towards that end.

Here is an excerpt from a chapter I’ve written for an online edited collection that should be available within a few months. This chapter is an introduction to the historical push for atomic energy and the institutionalization of the nuclear village globally.

Atomic Beginnings: From Hiroshima to Fukushima May 10, 2014

                The alchemists’ dream of elemental transmutation was achieved in the twentieth century through the deliberate and sustained deconstruction of atoms. Long slave to matter, man was made supreme, bending matter to his will, through the process of engineering atomic fission. Man had achieved the power of gods, or so it seemed. The Atomic Age was an age of hubris and, simultaneously, great existential unease as society registered the indisputable fact that the tool of ascendancy was simultaneously a tool of annihilation.
Fission and fusion and the unmapped interiorities of imploding/exploding matter were manufactured under Staff Field Stadium in Chicago December 2, 1942. The earth – fertile, and fierce - was soon humbled by the instrumentalization of atomic destruction with the Trinity explosion in New Mexico on July 16, 1946. Men worshipped their tools of creation and destruction. They strove to build ever more and more powerful instruments of annihilation. Earth scorching and code-breaking radiation released in atomic chain reactions accelerated aging and destroyed fecundity among those downwind of the blasts triggered to affirm man’s omniscience. But, evidence of destructive power was a terrible aphrodisiac that simultaneously prevented satiation. Man was enslaved by a terrible desire for (the power of) annihilation.
World War II was a spectacle of this enslavement. Men in many countries strategized to demonstrate omniscience through the atomic vaporization of their enemies. The Americans won the race by dropping two atomic bombs on Japanese cities. On August 6 1946, the “Little Boy” atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. The “Fat Man” bomb, dropped over Nagasaki on August 9, followed. The Americans fully understood the potential consequences for civilians and had actually investigated the weapons’ potential of atomic fallout.
The fascination with destruction is illustrated four years later by a 1950 article published in The Science News-Letter describing the atomic bomb as a “Mass Murder Design.” The article explained that the complete fission of only 2.2 pounds of uranium in an atomic bomb is equivalent to 20,000 tons of TNT. Gamma rays and neutrons from the bomb are described as a “wave of invisible energy” producing radiation sickness by “striking the single human cell in the bone marrow, the blood and the living tissues.” Neutrons are described as “lethal up to a half a mile” while anyone within 3000 feet of the burst has only a 50% chance of surviving the radiation exposure,” even if shielded by 12 inches of concrete (Matthews, 1950, pp. 122-123).
The world quickly understood the dangers of atomic explosions. Many nations were appalled by US President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s readiness to use atomic weapons against civilian populations. But these very same nations were quickly developing their own atomic reactors and weapons programs because they too wanted the power of gods. The Atomic Age was inflected with a destructive mania, evidenced by the quantity and scale of bombs deployed in the atmosphere and earth. The destructive mania was calculating because it sought to insulate itself from mounting unease among the world’s inhabitants regarding atomic contamination. Numerous historians have documented a deliberate strategy to propagandize on atomic matters. In particular, the propagandists sought to reassure civilians that atomic scientists’ precise control over, and understanding of, radioactive fallout eliminated any risks to life or property. Popular atomic icons and technical, jargon-laden dose-effect models soothed the existential anxiety brought upon by the spectacle of atomic annihilation (see Mackedon, 2010). Yet, unease prevailed.
In retrospect it seems remarkable that atomic energy could be launched in a context of atomic anxiety. However, atomic energy was specifically marketed to be the salve for public anxiety about atomic weapons. Stefan Possony, Defense Department consultant to the Psychological Strategy Board, had advised Eisenhower that "the atomic bomb will be accepted far more readily if at the same time atomic energy is being used for constructive ends" (Osgood, p. 156). Osgood documents the strategic push for atomic energy and the pivotal selection of Japan to illustrate atomic transmutation: Japan was transformed from atomic victim to atomic victor as the atomic reign of death was transformed symbolically into the atomic provider of life energy. Atomic Energy Commissioner Thomas Murray’s comment illustrates the logic of replacement: "Now, while the memory of Hiroshima and Nagasaki remain so vivid, construction of such a power plant in a country like Japan would be a dramatic and Christian gesture which could lift all of us far above the recollection of the carnage of those cities" (cited in Tanaka & Kuznick, 2011).
The transformation was facilitated by Eisenhower’s “Atoms for Peace” speech, delivered to the 470th Plenary Meeting of the United Nations General Assembly on December 8, 1953 rhetorically transformed the horrors of atomic weapons into the productive, peaceful promise of atomic energy:
The United States would seek more than the mere reduction or elimination of atomic materials for military purposes. It is not enough to take this weapon out of the hands of the soldiers. It must be put into the hands of those who will know how to strip its military casing and adapt it to the arts of peace.
The United States knows that if the fearful trend of atomic military build-up can be reversed, this greatest of destructive forces can be developed into a great boon, for the benefit of all mankind. The United States knows that peaceful power from atomic energy is no dream of the future. The capability, already proved, is here today. Who can doubt that, if the entire body of the world's scientists and engineers had adequate amounts of fissionable material with which to test and develop their ideas, this capability would rapidly be transformed into universal, efficient and economic usage?
Eisenhower outlined the U.S.’s leadership role in this transformation: “The United States would be more than willing - it would be proud to take up with others ‘principally involved’ the development of plans whereby such peaceful use of atomic energy would be expedited.” He tasked the United Nations with the creation of an international atomic energy agency responsible for monitoring and governing a stockpile of uranium and fissionable materials that could be employed for the “peaceful” development of atomic energy. Atomic energy was being heralded as provider of perpetual peace by eliminating energy resource scarcity (US NRC, 2012).

End of installment



5 comments:

  1. "alchemists' dream... Yes! am about half-way through Nuclear Fear: A History of Images by Spencer R. Weart and you've tapped the perceptual motherlode in this our epistemic global tragedy, sourcing the most productive insights once again... ty

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  2. Well done. I especially like the "Christian gesture". What we see is that attempting to solve one external problem with an external solution created an even greater one. Whereas the nations have wisely avoided the use of the large nuclear bombs, they have apparently used smaller ones as well as DU. But even worse nuclear power is stealthy and over time may simply destroy the habitability of the planet.

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  3. I agree that the male ego is highly problematic, having one myself. That said, the empirical, geopolitical reasons for war extend in other directions. For example, "Christian Zionists" were all in favor of war with Iraq, but who really orchestrated the war behind the scenes? A careful empirical examination can reveal no other conclusion than the one, highly banned and taboo, below.

    Zion-power and War: From Iraq to Iran
    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article18674.htm

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  4. There has been a considerable orchestration of jew blaming in the alternative, "awakening" media. When one understands that most alternative, awakening media sites are promulgated by the same hidden hands that were behind Hitler and behind Lenin one cannot be surprised. They engineered the state of Israhell I can only imagine so that they can destroy these people, having failed to finish the job last time and in order to fulfil the prophesies they put in the "bible" they created all those years ago.
    In fact, it becomes easy to spot cointelpro when you look for anti-jew sentiment. They dominate the alternative media, as you would have expected. Our masters did not create this internet for real truth to get out, but for them to manage the awakening consciousness of humanity.

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