Weapons of Mass Destruction Found in Iraq

I. Laugh In Brings You the News:

Jake Gittes: “Why do you need it? You’ve got enough money.”
Noah Cross: “The future, Mr. Gittes. The future.”


The US CODE, TITLE 50,CHAPTER 40 Sec. 2302 defines a Weapon of Mass Destruction as follows: “The term ‘weapon of mass destruction” means any weapon or device that is intended, or has the capability, to cause death or serious bodily injury to a significant number of people through the release, dissemination, or impact of (A) toxic or poisonous chemicals or their precursors, (B) a disease organism, or (C) radiation or radioactivity.”

Depleted uranium (DU) is a waste product of the uranium enrichment process that fuels both our nuclear weapons and civilian nuclear power programs. In fact, over 99% of the uranium enrichment process results in this waste product, which has a half life of 4.5 billion years. DU is both a toxic heavy metal and a radiological poison. The U.S. currently has over 10 million tons of DU. As we all know, the disposal of nuclear waste is one of the unintended consequences or blowback of the development of nuclear power. A solution to the problem of DU has, however, been found. DU is now used in virtually every weapon employed by the U.S. in Iraq (and in Afghanistan and in Kosovo). To cite the most conspicuous example: every penetrator rod in the shell shot from an Abrams tank contains 10 pounds of DU. DU is selected for weapons for three reasons: it’s cheap (was made available to arms manufacturers free of charge and is easy to develop); it’s heavy, 1.7 times the density of lead and thus most effective at killing because it penetrates anything it hits; it’s pyrophoric, igniting and burning on contact with air and breaking up on contact with its target into extremely small particles of radioactive dust dispersed into the atmosphere. The result: permanent contamination of air, water, and soil. [1]

DU was first used by the U.S. in Desert Storm. The amount used was between 315-350 tons. Five times as much was used during the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Over a third of the U.S. soldiers who served in the first Gulf War are now permanently disabled. VA reports indicate 27,571 U.S. soldiers already disabled from the current war and occupation.. The Department of Energy and the Department of Defense of course continue to deny that DU has any harmful effects. A U.N. sub-commission on Human Rights has ruled that DU, which fits the definition of a “dirty bomb,” is an illegal weapon. [2]

Huge chunks of radioactive debris full of DU now litter the cities and countryside of Iraq. Fine radioactive dust permeates the entire country. The problem of clean-up is insoluble. The entire ecosystem of Iraq is permanently contaminated. The Iraq people are the new hibakusha. Their fate, like that of the “survivors” of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, is a condition of death-in-life. The long term health effects of DU on the Iraqui people (and on our own troops) are incalculable. There is no mask or protective clothing that can be devised to prevent radioactive dust from entering the lungs or penetrating the skin. Moreover, DU targets the DNA and the Master Code (histone), altering the genetic future of exposed populations. Because it is the perfect weapon for delivering nanoparticles of poison, radiation, and nano-pollution directly into living cells, DU is the perfect weapon for extinguishing entire populations. The Iraqi’s are not alone. Vast regions of the Middle East, Central Asia, and the Balkans have been permanently contaminated with radioactive dust and debris [3]

These facts are worth bearing in mind the next time we are told what has now become a bipartisan article of faith: the Iraqi people are better off with Saddam Hussein gone. Or as Bill Maher put it on his show of Sept. 24th “Eventually they’re better off.”

A footnote to the above, the shape of things to come. Recently a takeover was engineered transferring the no bid University of California management contract (of 61 years duration) for the US nuclear weapons program at the nuclear weapons labs at Berkeley, Livermore, and Los Alamos to the University of Texas where the Carlyle Group ( an investment conglomerate that specializes in Defense Developments and whose members include George H.W. and George W. Bush, James Baker, the bin laden family and John Major) will assume control over it. A ramping up of the nuclear weapons program is now underway with funding at the highest level ever-even higher than during the Cold War. These developments are the first yield of the top secret meeting of 150 top U.S. officials and military contractors (chaired reportedly by Dick Cheney) held at the U.S. Strategic Command Center in Nebraska on Aug. 6th 2003 as an official commemoration of the 58th Anniversary of Hiroshima and to plan the weaponry of the nuclear future. [4]

We need a new term to describe our actions in Iraq. Genocide is inadequate. Thus: Ecocide [from Gr oikos, house; and ­cide, the destruction of] Ecology has two referents. It refers to the branch of biology that deals with the relations between living organisms and their environment; and the branch of sociology that deals with relations among human groups with reference to material resources and the consequent social and cultural patterns. The destruction of both is the goal of Ecocide. Ecocide is the deliberate production of a condition of permanent radiological, biological, and chemical contamination whereby death comes to inhabit an entire ecosystem. A condition of ecocide exists when life itself and all possibilities of its renewal are being systematically destroyed in an identifiable geographical area, which is also defined in terms of specifiable racial and religious characteristics. As is now known, the cumulative result of such actions may bring about this condition for the entire planet. The condition of homo sacer as described by Giorgio Agamben. [5] The European Council on Radiation Risk, for example, calculated the damage to human health of low level radiation thusfar released into the atmosphere from nuclear weapons testing to be 61,600,000 deaths by cancer alone. Moreover, in our wars since 1991 the U.S. has now released in terms of global atmospheric pollution the equivalent of 400,000 Nagasaki Bombs. [6]

II. Appointment in Samarra

“-the little lower layer. All visible objects, man, are but as pasteboard masks. But in each event-in the living act, the undoubted deed-there, some unknown but still reasoning thing puts forth the mouldings of its features from behind the unreasoning mask. If man will strike, strike through the mask.”
Ahab in Melville’s Moby Dick

Does the situation described above offer us an intimation of what Sigmund Freud had in mind when he spoke of a pure culture of thanatos, the death drive?

It’s always a good idea when seeking an explanation of the human motives behind actions to stick with the empirical. With stated intentions and official rationales. Otherwise we give ourselves over to psychobabble. Despite official denial by the Department of Defense that DU is harmful, a series of explanations have been put in place to account for the development and use of DU weapons. DU is cost effective, militarily efficient, and turns to productive use a waste product we’d otherwise have to dispose of at great cost. With motives and intentions thus circumscribed the decision to use DU in weaponry need not raise the spectre of anything dark in the psyche. It’s all a matter of pragmatic efficiency with a little capitalist profit motive thrown in for good measure. There’s only one thing wrong with this explanation. It leaves out the basis for the calculus. There’s every reason to use DU and no reason not to use it if, and only if, one rationale informs all decisions. How to maximize death, regardless of consequences or alternatives. Introduce any countervailing motives and the entire chain of decisions is blocked by questions of conscience. Conscious, stated intentions then reveal themselves as functions of something else that has been conveniently rendered unconscious. What looks like a purely pragmatic matter involving nothing disordered in the psyche now reveals the opposite: the fact that thanatos so inhabits the system and everyone in it that its hegemony and the absence of anything opposed to it “goes without saying.” It has become what Wittgenstein called a “form of life.” [7] So deeply rooted is the force of thanatos in us that it operates automatically, habitually, and of necessity. It has become a collective unconscious. And as such is no longer accessible to those whose intentions conceal and reveal it. The reason for sticking with the empirical is now clear. Alethia. There is something insane in the empirical. It is what the historian must uncover.

Before we ask ourselves how this situation came to pass we need to ask another question. For it’s easy to claim we don’t know about such things because the media refuses to tell us about it. There’s another reason for our ignorance, however, and it’s the one we need to learn about. I refer to the possibility that we choose our ignorance because otherwise we’d lose the system of guarantees on which we depend for our identity and our understanding of history. As Barbara Bush put it in telling Diane Sawyer why she doesn’t watch the news: “Why should we hear about body bags, and deaths, and how many, what day it’s gonna happen, and how many this or what do you suppose. Or, I mean, it’s, it’s not relevant. So, why should I waste my beautiful mind on something like that?” [8] It would be easy to deride Mrs. Bush, to congratulate oneself on not sharing her attitude. What I hope to show , however, is that on an essential level, one that is determinant in the last instance, we are in full agreement with her and delude ourselves as long as we think otherwise.

III. The Fatality of Guarantees

“The purpose of thought is to eliminate the contingent.”


Three weeks ago my mother died. At the end of her funeral the priest left us with these words as a final reminder of what had been said repeatedly in a variety of ways for the past two days: “We who leave here in sorrow know that we will one day be reunited with her in joy.” My concern here is not with the truth or falsity of this preposterous belief, but with its psychological function as a guarantee that offers human beings a way to deprive death of its finality. And of the terror that prospect entails. The function of guarantees is to enable human beings to bear events and contingencies that would otherwise be too traumatic. There is much that we can face apparently only when we can deny it through the working of what we’ll soon see is an entire system of guarantees. Such perhaps is one accurate estimation of what it means to be a human being, to remain a child of one’s needs and desires disguising that fact in the form of ideas and concepts.

The primary purpose of religion, philosophy, and culture is to provide conceptual, psychological, and emotional guarantees so that traumatic events become part of a larger framework that assures the realization of our hopes and dreams. Most people simply find life unlivable without such supports. Through the ministry of the guarantees we overcome or banish thoughts and feelings that we are convinced would deprive life of meaning, plunging us into despair. Experience accordingly becomes the movement from and to the affirmation of the guarantees through their imposition on events. The main line of Western philosophy can most profitably be seen as a series of efforts to provide a ground for the guarantees. That effort achieves one of its culminations in Hegel who defined the purpose of philosophy as the elimination of the contingent. As father of the philosophy of history, he offered that new discipline a single goal: to show that the rational is real and the real rational; that history is the story of progress, liberty, the realization of a universal humanity. Or, to put it in vulgar terms, democracy and civilization are on the march and will soon sweep the entire Middle East.
In order to triumph over the contingencies of existence– doubt about oneself, one’s place in the world, and one’s final end — many guarantees are needed. Moreover, they must form a system of reinforcing beliefs such that if one guarantee is threatened other guarantees come in to fill the breach. Thereby the function of the system as a whole is assured, the triumph of the guarantees over the central contingencies of existence.

Within the system of guarantees one guarantee is superordinate. The belief that human nature is basically good. Animal rationale. We are endowed with an ahistorical essence that cannot be lost. Evil is an aberration. Consequently there is always reason for hope and the belief that no matter how bad things get we’ll always find a way to recover everything that the guarantees assure.

What follows is a brief and by no means exhaustive description of the basic system of guarantees. One need not believe all of it for the system to hold. Guarantees are superfluous. If they collapse at one point, their hold becomes even stronger at another. That is one reason why the death of God gave birth to so many secular religions. The way to read what follows accordingly is for each reader to locate the guarantees that have the greatest hold over them. They identify what controls one’s response to traumatic events. Or, to put it in other terms, they identify what one must overcome in oneself in order to know the ontological force of existence, contingency, and history. Perhaps one only begins to know, to think, and to respond appropriately to events once one has eradicated the entire system of guarantees.

Here then a list of some of the central planks in that edifice.

Religious: a loving creator with a redemptive purpose assures us of the triumph of goodness and the rewards of eternal life.

Philosophic: rationality gives meaning, direction, and pragmatic efficiency to the human mind and all the purposeful activities in which we engage.

Scientific: science is the fulfillment of reason and through its development we will harness nature to our needs. That guarantee gives birth to another: the technological imperative, which teaches us that all technological developments are good. In any case, the die is cast since all technological problems require for their solution the development of new technologies. [9]

Historical: History is the story of progress, of the development of those universal values through which eventually the real becomes rational and the rational real. Through that long march all contingencies are eventually overcome. A Political corollary: the democratic ideal as realized in the United States is an ultimate good; globally its benefits should be extended to all humanity.

Economic: capitalism, which is nothing but the economic realization of human nature, is the global principle that will bring the greatest good to all. Therefore, any actions required to advance it are both necessary and good.
The deepest guarantees, of course, address us on a far more personal level.

Psychological: We have an identity, a self, that is strong and once attained can never be lost. Trauma is but the occasion for its recovery. We are not haunted by anything dark or disordered in our psyche, nor do our actions derive from such forces. The intentions we give offer a full account of our actions, and thus the term and limit of our responsibility.

Emotional: The innermost need of human beings is to feel good about themselves. Whatever threatens that feeling must be exorcised. Health, normalcy, and productivity depend on avoiding negative feelings. Hope and optimism are not only healthy attitudes, they are requirements of our nature. Biologically wired. We cannot remain for long in trauma. Recovery, moreover, must restore our faith in the guarantees and our hopes for the future. The need for hope is the capstone of the entire system of guarantees. Yet it too apparently has a history. Today over 10 million of our children are on prescription drugs to prevent depression and anxiety. Informed of this fact by Bill Maher, the French actress Julie Delphy spoke the spontaneous wisdom of an archaic culture: “Don’t they know that depression is a good thing; that it’s something you have to go through in order to grow?” Not anymore.

The key to understanding the power of the guarantees is to understand the fears that they exorcise. Thanks to religion death, suffering, and evil are deprived of their power. Through the attainment of reason all other forms of consciousness and their objects are put in their place. Poetic knowing is deprived both of its legitimacy and its terror. Science, as fulfillment of reason, assures us of domination over nature. What Heidegger termed technoscientific rationality becomes the measure of the real. [10] Belief in historical progress banishes the recurrent suspicion that history may be unmoored or may be moving to the darkest of ends. The condition is thereby set that makes it impossible for us to experience traumatic events such as 9-11 except as occasions to take whatever actions are needed to reaffirm our goodness and restore our guarantees. It is in the personal order, however, that the guarantees do their deepest work. Psychologically, belief in the self or self-identity exorcises the most frightening contingency: that there is a void at the center of the American psyche with panic anxiety and its corollary, compulsive consumption, the proof of a desperate non-identity. That spectre brings us before the greatest fear: that our psyche, not our conscious, deliberative intentions, is the author of our actions, an author who will readily do anything in order to feel safe, secure, and righteous. All of our emotional needs then stand forth under the rule of a single necessity: the need to feel good about oneself at whatever cost and to sustain hope by banishing anything that would trouble us. Resolution, catharsis (i.e., the discharge of painful tensions or awareness), and renewal emerge as the needs that bind us with an iron necessity to the guarantees and all that they make it impossible for us to know. It is easy to deprecate Bush and, apparently, to hold onto the idea that he’s a temporary aberration. But the problem goes deeper. To revive a battle cry from the 60’s, insofar as one is wedded to any one of the guarantees one is part of the problem and not of the solution. For the grandest function of the system of guarantees, as a whole and in each one of its parts, is to blind us to history. [11]

And so to take up again the question stated previously, how did the situation now being created in Iraq come about? The next three sections constitute an attempt to answer that question by tracing a repressed history.

IV. The Nuclear Unconscious

“he begins to expand, an uncontainable lighthero and horror, engineer and Ariadne consumed, molten inside the light of himself, the mad exploding of himself.”

Thomas Pynchon, Gravity’s Rainbow

To recapitulate a historical fact that took over 50 years to rescue from myth: the United States did not bomb Hiroshima and Nagasaki “to end the war and save countless lives.” It did so for four reasons (and in the knowledge that a defeated Japan was pursuing terms of surrender through several diplomatic channels): (1)to avenge Pearl Harbor, (2) to justify the amount of money spent developing the Bomb, (3) to create a laboratory whereby our scientific, medical, and military personnel could study its effects, and (4) to impress the Russians ­and the world-with this opening salvo of the Cold War. In short, Hiroshima was the first act of global terrorism. That story couldn’t be told, however, and still encounters strenuous resistance from most Americans, because it exposes too many of the guarantees we want to have about our Nation and its actions in history. [12]

Those actions also gave birth to another myth and another history. The story of the development of “the peaceful atom.” No sooner were the tidings of the Nuclear Age broadcast to a terrified world than we heard promises of a nuclear Utopia. Through those promises a collective fantasy was created about the assurances that the peaceful atom gave us about the future. Entire cities would have all their energy needs met for the cost of a nickel. Etc. Now fifty years later we find that we can’t get rid of the stockpiles of nuclear waste we’ve created. We find that nuclear technology is the least cost effective and most environmentally destructive source of energy ever developed. What it provides -less that 20% of our electrical energy ­comes at a cost of trillions of dollars and at the expense of the safe and clean technologies (wind, solar) that we must soon develop if there is to be a future. What we now know is that nuclear power was a mistake from the start and should have been aborted in its inception. Also that the cost in lives to those living near or downwind of our reactors now well exceeds the combined loss of life in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.[13] But to know these things we’d also have to come to know that the peaceful atom was always a fantasy, created after the fact for motives that have nothing to do with official proclamations.

Robert Oppenheimer made two prescient observations. “The use of the Bomb was implicit in its invention.” “We [the scientists] did the devil’s work.” His error was the belief that by calling on the guarantees it would be possible to reverse the process we thereby set loose. Thus the humanistic reflections that preoccupied his final years, one of the clearest examples of the effort to reassert essentialistic ahistorical guarantees as a way of cleansing his own and our collective hands of history. What Oppenheimer thereby hoped to exorcise was the spectre that there are certain actions that are irreversible and that give history a totally new direction, permitting no return to the way things once were. Perhaps there are events in history that mark fundamental turning points in which the human psyche with no essential, ahistorical nature to protect it makes a quantum leap into a new way of being. In doing so it embraces a logic that will propel it to move in new, unseen, and unwanted directions.

Oppenheimer offers us a picture of the Los Alamos scientists that exposes the official ideology of science. He and his colleagues know what their discoveries will lead to but dissemble that knowledge. Hiding it from their consciousness they thereby, as Freud teaches, empower it. The rush to the Bomb that seized them fulfilled a desire that has little to do with value free objective inquiry. Devil’s work is of a different order and draws on something else in the psyche. Here briefly is one way to constitute its meaning. In inventing the Bomb the scientists of Alamogordo realized the two sublime motives that have informed the history of science: the effort to know the secrets of nature and to harness them to our will so that its power will become an extension of our power to overcome any and all limitations, moral as well as physical. [14] (The belated effort of Leo Szilard and others to draw up a petition banning the use of the Bomb and Oppenheimer’s reminder that doing so overstepped their role as scientists is merely the comedy of a reaction formation, the effort to restore the a priori cleanliness of hands that are already dirty, the nostalgic attempt to arrest a historical process that has already broken free of them, and of Oppenheimer too as Edward Teller would soon reveal.)

Once the Bomb was used the consequences of devil’s work announced themselves. Nuclear fear became condition general in the United States, producing for the first time a collective national psyche. What we did to the other we could expect in return. Projection and denial assumed command over both consciousness and policy. Globally. The only way to make ourselves safe from ourselves was through the production of more nuclear weapons. Like Macbeth we had to repeat our deed, increasing its scope each time, as if somehow this would undo the original error. Teller’s Hydrogen bomb promises omnipotence to a quest for power fueled by the engines of guilt and fear. The whole world became a prisoner to the logic of Mutual Assured Destruction. Bush’s recent actions in Iraq merely ratify once again the basic truth: the only way to prevent U.S. aggression is to develop one’s own nuclear arsenal. M.A.D. offers the only certitude, security, and “peace of mind” that is now possible. A psychotic peace. Devil’s work thereby evolves the condition inaugurated by the thanatos that the Bomb released in the psyche. Death has cut itself loose from anything that could restrain it. What began as a fantasy of unlimited power ends in the assurance of total annihilation.

While we’ve resisted this knowledge there is another knowledge fatally tied to it that we’ve resisted with even greater fervor. Namely, the true story of “the peaceful atom.” As a continuation of the same thanatopic process under the guise of a prolonged search for a felix culpa. For expiation and redemption. To expel any lingering (unconscious) guilt over having dropped the Bomb. How else but by finding in the atom a new guarantee. Which would enable us to claim that everything we did from the start stemmed from good motives and served finally to bring about a greater good. Technoscientific rationality as secular theodicy. The peaceful atom as Messianic historiography. Our faith in this new faith, like our rush to the Bomb, could not be questioned. And the two primary dogmas of this faith gave birth to a historical process that could not be halted since any negative results could only lead to a further investment in the process: (1) Technoscientific rationality, the new logos which will finally reveal the truth of everything, always produces good results in the end. All we have to do is develop the appropriate technology. (2) Moreover, we must do so. Technological development is the only thing that can save us.

All technical problems require new technological developments for their solution. Like the rush to the Bomb there is no way to halt or question the technological imperative no matter how troubling the results nor how great the ensuing technological problems they pose; i.e., how to contain or clean up the vast amount of nuclear waste and the radiation that now poisons the atmosphere. Having committed ourselves to “the peaceful atom” in order to deny and repress guilt we found ourselves wed to the development of civilian nuclear power because it fulfilled both a psychological necessity and what had become a technological imperative. Like the logic of nuclear weaponry leading of necessity to M.A.D., the peaceful atom was wedded to a logic that could not prevent the development of the situation we now face. We’ve been promised the benefits of the peaceful atom for over 50 years. Since 1945 Dr. Strangelove has operated simultaneously on two fronts. The results are now in. The production of what we now see as massive piles of shit we have no place to dump or bury. (And try sometime devising a warning sign that can be immediately deciphered 4.5 billion years from now.) Such is the nature of “devil’s work.” Every step you take to try to get out of it only leads you deeper into it.

Hegel found in “the cunning of reason” a way to redeem any and every historical situation: all evils are but apparent; even the darkest events serve the course of progress. 1945 inaugurates a different logic, calling for an antithetical understanding. That history lets loose consequences that cannot be controlled, consequences both for a psyche that finds itself fatally wedded to its actions with no way to return to the way it was, the guarantees it had, before those actions; and in the destructive results produced by the subsequent actions ( both military and peaceful nuclear technologies) taken to make that agent safe from its own destructiveness and the terrors its actions have unleashed or to expiate those actions by somehow turning the entire process to a good end. There was no way to forsee or prevent the situation that pursuit of the peaceful atom would create because belief in it derived from the same grandiosity that fueled the Bomb. Its task was in fact even more grandiose. Utopian and Messianic. Otherwise the unthinkable: history would have to be conceived in a radically different way. But that idea is even more terrifying than the magnitude of the nuclear pollution that now confronts us because it reveals that nothing protects us from history and the irreversible changes that certain events bring about. There are, in short, no guarantees. Nothing in the conceptual, psychological, or emotional orders that we can call on to deliver us. We face instead a different task: we must deracinate the entire system of guarantees because it is what stands between us, a correct understanding of our situation and, of perhaps greater importance, how we must learn to feel in the face of it. Einstein said the bomb changed everything except the way we think. That task still beckons.

The development traced above offers us a way to understand the Nuclear Unconscious in its movement from 1945 to the present. As a history defined by what I call the Macbeth principle. To live with the guilt of a deed one repeats that deed until one is no longer troubled by it; or what amounts to the same thing, until nothing other than it exists. A world ruled by Thanatos.

Within the psyche that development produces the necessary inner transformation. Through increasingly more rebarbative actions one progressively eviscerates the voice of conscience. Eventually it becomes so thin that it’s transformed into its opposite: the fanatical voice of fundamentalism proclaiming its rectitude. We are ready for a tour of Bush’s Amerika.

V. The Fantasmatic Becomes the Real

“The rational is real and the real rational.”


Here is one way to describe Amerikan foreign policy since 9-11. Fully formed fantasies of democracy sweeping the Middle East dance like sugar-plums in the neo-con imaginary awaiting the opportunity for their projection. 9-11, however, upped the ante. As return of the repressed, a terrifying case of the chickens coming home to roost, it raised the spectre of Hiroshima. A new exorcism was needed. Projection and denial were once again called on to provide the only possible psychological response. By appropriating ground-zero (the term used to identify the epicenter of the Bomb’s detonation point in Hiroshima) as a symbol of what had happened to us we became fantasmatically the innocent victims of an unmotivated and unprecedented terror. Bush’s “they hate us because they’re jealous of our freedom.” Our duty is clear: we must rid the world of evil. The trauma of 9-11 has thus become the only thing that it could be: the occasion for unleashing destructive rage toward any object deemed the target of our wrath.

Preemptive unilateralism is psychologically necessary to the fantasmatic demand. Grandiose action as the only means of restoration. Reality be damned. Thus, the unleashing of a Weapon of Mass Destruction (WMD), Depleted Uranium (DU) on a country, people, race, and religion that deserves that fate for being the non-cause of 9-11. The need to proclaim the fantasy over against any correction by reality has become peremptory. We know that the Iraqi people (and then the entire Middle East) will embrace us for setting them free; and surface evidence to the contrary we see new signs of progress toward that goal each day. And such is the need to delude ourselves that we can’t wait to crow. Bush on the Abraham Lincoln, the first President ever to appear publicly in military uniform, imitating Bill Pullman in Independence Day, proclaiming mission accomplished.

Only our hold on Iraq deteriorates more every day. None of the things the fantasy assured happen. Two things necessarily happen, however, providing a new confirmation of Engel’s Law. (1) The shelling of Iraq with DU increases, contaminating the entire infrastructure with chemical and radiation poisoning. Ecocide becomes official policy. (2) The fantasms become more fervent in their affirmation the more they prove false to reality. Bush proclaims “Democracy is on the march.” Quantity has, as Engels argued, become quality bringing about a fundamental psychological change. Before Iraq neo-con fantasy was a dream that longed for projection in the belief that it could be realized in reality. It is now a delusion sustained only by denying reality. The fantasmatic has become a psychosis. There is accordingly no way it can be referred to or corrected by reality. Only one solution is now possible: reality must be eradicated. The conditions of psychotic certitude have been met. One willingly destroys the infra and eco structure of an entire country in order to sustain the fantasy that one will be embraced as a liberator for doing so. Because psychotic certitude has been attained, otherness cannot exist. Any challenge to Belief activates what has now become an underlying paranoia. Failure of reality to conform to fantasy can only be the product of conspiracy. Patriot Acts become necessary as a way to hypnotize oneself by systematically seeking out and eliminating any and all signs of dissent from the fantasy. It must become omniscient and omnipotent. Consequently, everything must become hyperreal in a blind rush to the global realization of the entire fantasmatic system because with the onset of psychosis the mad know, in the evanescence of a consciousness they cannot sustain, the actual function that the entire body of fantasms have played from the beginning.

They are the ways one flees the void within, the catastrophic condition into which one would plunge should they ever collapse. Such is the inner state of those who throw themselves into the Lord , into absolute belief systems, in order to deliver themselves from themselves. The final solution has been reached in the inner condition of the paranoid psychotic: the necessity of continued, increased explosions in order to avoid a psychological implosion.

We are now in a position to describe the Amerikan psyche-a void defined by a panic anxiety that can only be relieved by conversion to an absolute faith: Jesus for Bush and Ashcroft, Leo Strauss for neo-con ideologues; Kapital for Dick Cheney. Because the faith offers total salvation its reach must be global.

That’s what Technoscientific Rationality is: the obliteration of any logic other than its development and thereby a progressive estrangement from any other way of relating to Being. That’s what capitalism is: the abolition of any moral restraint preventing the imposition on people of whatever conditions will maximize profits. After all, people are nothing but consumers consuming. And it’s what Christian fundamentalism Amerikan style is: the need to establish an allegory in which one is Good and thus empowered in an apocalyptic effort to rid the world of Evil. By turning Iraq into a vast thanatopolis all three imperatives achieve simultaneous fulfillment.
Karl Marx, at a far more innocent time in history, saw the task of philosophy as one of extracting the rational kernel from the mystical shell of Hegelianism. That kernel was the proletariat and the materialist understanding of History the new guarantee. Living at a later stage of things, shorn of all guarantees, we face a far different task: to extract the psychotic kernel from the fantasmatic shell.

And thereby to see its objective correlative. For the fantasmatic process traced above has a mundane corollary. Converting DU into WMDs that we could deploy all over Iraq fulfilled another fantasy dear to the dream logic that informs capitalism. DU is pure waste. Shit, if you will. And like surplus production and the falling rate of profit it keeps piling up with no way to get rid of it. It’s one thing when we only killed the poor bastards who had the bad luck to live downward of our reactors or the black inner city children to whom we shipped radioactively contaminated milk.[15] But now things are out of hand. We’ve got over 10 million tons of this useless crap. Eventually it’ll seep into everything turning even our paradisiacal estates into nuclear cesspools. Unless we can find a way to really shit it out of our system. Any solution, however, must derive from the logic that informs the system–and fulfill the unconscious needs that fuel it. And then Voila! in answer to our prayers one day we see a way to turn our shit to gold. Nothing is ever lost. The deepest article of capitalist faith is fulfilled. There were no bad unintended consequences from our lengthy romance with the atom. We’ve found our own cunning of reason. Even our shit can be redeemed once we’ve developed the appropriate technology. With its discovery we seized a way to turn our waste to profit while fulfilling an even deeper need: to take a dump on everything that impedes the progress of global capitalism. Iraq is perfect. After all, the oil is the only thing there that has value. The rest of that landscape is nothing but a toilet; by relieving ourselves on it we get the true macho pleasure that comes from a good shit: the feeling that we’re releasing all of our toxic matter on the Other-in this case those people of color committed to a religion that Samuel Huntington and others remind us stands unalterably opposed to the forward looking logic of modernism. The clash of civilizations and the making of world order requires no less than the shit storm that now rages all over Iraq.

The maximization of death under the reign of thanatos finds in Iraq one of its ghostliest embodiments. War in the 20th century witnessed the progressive erosion of all distinctions between combatants and non-combatants, military and civilian targets. Inflicting the greatest possible physical and psychological damage to “the enemy” became the object of military strategy. [16] Hiroshima was the first realization of that logic as a pure and unrestrained expression of thanatos as global terror. Iraq now serves to advance that logic in a new, and qualitatively different, way. Thanks to DU death is again released from all restrictions and extended over time in a way promises to bring about its omnipresence through its silent, unseen, inner working on all that lives. Death is everywhere now: in the air they breath, the food they eat, the water they drink, the shards radiating up at them from the DU debris that litters their cities, the sperm they transmit in the act of love, the cancers and birth defects, the violence to the DNA, in all the leukemias of body and of soul that will turn Iraq into one vast Thanatopolis, the city of the future, an oidos where all that lives will come to bear Death as its sole meaning, the visible and invisible sign that is present everywhere.

VI A Billet for Dubya

“Living inside the System is like riding across the country in a bus driven by a maniac bent on suicide.”

Thomas Pynchon, Gravity’s Rainbow

Here, then, is a picture of our true historical situation, what we’d know if we looked at our world without the guarantees. (That antithesis to the picture drawn in section III that forever destroys all possibilities of synthesis.) The categorical imperative of the historian is to know the horror of a situation by getting at the madness behind it. One name for that madness is Nuclearism. A proper definition of it is now possible: nuclearism is the assertion of the right to unlimited power over nature through the overcoming of anything in the psyche that would question or resist that assertion. To put it concretely, there is no peaceful atom and there never was. Nuclearism has only one logic, implicit in it from the beginning. Ecocide. Another name for the madness is Capitalism. It too is wedded to a deadly imperative: the extinction of everything in the human being that opposes the logic of acquisition and consumption. The ideal condition it seeks is one where there is nothing but consumers consuming. Everything else must be purged from the psyche. When a belief becomes dominant in American psychological circles one can be sure of one thing: that belief refers to something that no longer exists. Such is the case today with self, subject, identity, and the ego.

The same goes for the countless guarantees that are invented to support that belief: as in the current emphasis on attachment theory to provide the guarantee of healthy, normal development, the perfect theory of mothering for the age of child beauty pageants.[17] In its rush to be the mental health wing of the guarantees, contemporary American psychoanalysis has become a primary barrier to the truth. That there is no self in Amerika today, only a void producing panic anxiety in the rush to compulsive consumption in an attempt to fill what progressively becomes empty of everything save one necessity. Malignant envy, the psychological disorder described by Melanie Klein, has become the only motive that remains: the desire not to attain but to destroy anything and everything that excites one’s envy. Iago triumphant. Only thanatos matters. The envy that nuclearism projects unto nature, capitalism projects onto all human relations. The whole world must come to gorge itself under the golden arches. No moral restraint, no residual humanity can intrude on the necessity to reduce everything and everyone to the conditions that benefit capitalism. It’s no accident that Dick Cheney’s dam Lynne’s time as Head of the NEH was a watershed of reactionary ideology.

The History of the U.S. since 1945 is the antithesis of secular theodicy, an eradication of the entire system of guarantees on which it depends. Events dance to a far different logic, which is present on the surface once we learn to see the psychological roots from which the decisions made there derive. That logic is one of Thanatos in the progression needed for it to become an absolute principle freed of all restrictions and certain of its command over any sources of potential resistance. Which is why the principles expressed overseas must perforce inform actions in the Homeland. The result is an Amerika that can be defined by three interconnected developments: (1) an Apocalyptic christo-fascism wedded (as in Mel Gibson’s masterpiece) to sado-masochism as the only pleasure capable of convincing people that they are alive and able to feel deeply; (2) corporate capitalism in control of all political and economic decisions and alternatives so that the system is assured of its own reproduction and extension; (3) a police state through the series of Patriot Acts required to assuring the ruling order that even in the privacy of the home a condition of generalized surveillance will exist and with it the eventual extinction of any trace of otherness or resistance. To use Hegelian language, Thanatos as “Absolute Spirit In and For Itself” has attained the form it requires.

In Amerika today the condition Dostoyevsky described in the Legend of the Grand Inquisitor slouches toward its final realization. Miracle, Mystery, and Authority find in Bush, Cheney, and Ashcroft the three functionaries needed to create a lasting, impermeable collective psyche. One that offers all subjects deliverance from freedom and anxiety, especially the anxiety that can never be uttered or allowed to enter consciousness-that we exist without any guarantees. Bush or miracle: the allegorization of politics and international relations in order to assure us that we are Good and everything other than us Evil. (The neo-cons offer secular versions of the same faith: western culture opposes Islamic fundamentalism, etc.) Cheney or mystery: capitalism is the ultimate truth of economic reality; whatever we have to do to secure its empire is therefore good and ultimately of benefit to the entire world. Put money in thy purse: the hidden hand is the cunning of reason assuring us of a future of benefit to all. Aschcroft or authority. Surveillance working in all subjects will complete what the Grand Inquisitor called “the happiness of man” in a condition of total obedience. Thereby Abu Ghraib becomes the inner world that defines the mass subjects relation to itself (On the surface, of course, the psychotic need to deny reality continues to take on new forms, each progressively further removed from the possibility of correction. Thus, in the latest effort to affirm that we were right all along even if we were wrong about any WMD being in Iraq, we get the following sequence: we couldn’t know then what we know now; “Saddam aspired to making nuclear weapons(Bush/Cheney);” “Once out from under the sanctions, he would have developed them (Powell); “Saddam Hussein is himself a Weapon of Mass Destruction” (Guliani). We now know why were going to Mars: that’s where Saddam hid the WMDs.)

Sections IV-VI describe a collective psyche. Such a use of psychoanalysis is a far cry from the justly discredited “psychohistory,” which I’ll indulge briefly here for purposes of an important theoretical contrast. Thus: Bush had a hard-on for Saddam from the day he took office because deposing him would enable Dubya both to avenge and to replace his father. Recall, in this connection, his statement that if we’d had the courage and determination we’d have finished the work we (i.e., his father) began in 1991. Fortinbras replaces Hamlet in Dubya’s imaginary. No wonder he couldn’t wait to dress himself in borrowed garb, (a miltary uniform such as his father wore as a pilot in WWII) pulled in as tight across the crotch as he could bear, and stride across the decks of the Abraham Lincoln. He finally had a dick and had to trumpet it to the world. And having found it he can’t stop shaking it. All of this is of course true, irrelevant– and pernicious whenever it functions as an ideological blinder to deflect our attention from the real psychological forces that shape history. Bush is but a part of that psyche. At times its farcicalia and village idiot, at others its fundamentalist believer (and new “great communicator”) who conveys the tidings to the masses in a way sure to create in them fascination with their own fascization. Bush is convenient as a way to fixate our attention or our rage so that we won’t see the puppetmaster Cheney pulling the strings. Nor, of more importance, the part that Bush and what he represents plays in the constitution of the collective psyche I’ve described. It is that psyche that forms the object of psychoanalytic cultural and political theory.

My attempt here has been to offer us a new way to think about the possibility that there is a collective Amerikan psyche ruled by a nuclear Unconscious that has a history that can be described in rigorous psychoanalytic terms. The operation of that psyche is not so much a question of the conscious intentions of particular individuals as of the role that different individuals and institutions play in securing the hegemony of the whole. That whole finds the man or woman it needs at each place it needs them (from Groves and Oppenheimer to Colonel Tibbets, from Cheney and Rice to Private England) because the decision to accept the call when chosen derives from an entire system of choices that each individual has made long before the call comes. The end result in each and all is the hegemony of a way of being in which it is not Reason but Thanatos that directs History. The result is the age we live in. An Age of Terrorism. State Terrorism. Everything else is a reaction.


VII. The Principle of Hope

” ‘Personal density’ is directly proportional to temporal bandwith ‘Temporal bandwith’ is the width of your present, your Now.”

Thomas Pynchon, Gravity’s Rainbow

To know this situation for what it is challenges what is finally the deepest and most fundamental of the guarantees. The principle of Hope. To appropriate Eliot: “After such knowledge, what forgiveness.” For it is hard to look on the situation described in this essay without raising the spectre of despair. In view both of the unlikelihood that there is anything that can be done to change the situation and in terms of the amount of pain one must accept in order to sustain this knowledge. What is the purpose of knowing such things if they only produce meaningless suffering? Or, to put it another way, isn’t despair the end result of a life shorn of the guarantees? Aren’t we finally like the drunks in O’Neill’s The Iceman Cometh, who know that in order to sustain the illusions that are required to go on living they must decide that Hickey was mad and that all he revealed to them about their lives a product of that madness?

It is time to admit what the need for Hope really amounts to. Denial of responsibility for certain situations under the assumption that knowing them correctly would lead to despair. The concept of despair, in short, is no more than a rhetorical ploy to prematurely terminate one’s awareness of a situation so that one can cling, in the face of it, to hope and all the other emotional and psychological needs that follow in its train. Despair remains an empty concept. We don’t know what it is. And we never will as long as we use the need for Hope to prevent the discovery of our capacity to endure. We will only know what we are capable of when we get rid of hope. Whether despair is what we will find on the other side of it is something we can’t know. For all hope really signifies is a testament to our weakness and our fears. Perhaps we are called to something beyond it. What Shakespeare called tragic readiness. For in opening ourselves to the possibility of despair we also open ourselves to the possibility of self-overcoming as well as to a discovery of a praxis that lies on the other side of the many paralyses created by the guarantees. We can’t know “what is to be done?” as long as we keep trying to transcend our situation with values and guarantees that we insist must remain a-historical and in service to an essentialistic and a-historical theory of human nature. (For the ethical implications of this idea see below, section IX.)

VIII. The Evil of Banality

” The man has a branch office in our brain called the ego and its mission is bad shit. We know exactly what they’re doing and do nothing about it.”

Thomas Pynchon, Gravity’s Rainbow

As we struggle to develop a concept of evil equal to our situation, Hannah Arendt remains an invaluable source. Not so much for what she said, but for what she failed to say due to the self-imposed limit she placed on her thought. I refer to her life-long avoidance, suspicion, and eschewal of psychoanalytic concepts. Yet in Eichmann Arendt identified a new kind of criminal. One who commits a crime under circumstances where they can’t know or feel they’re doing wrong. For Arendt that fact does not mitigate Eichmann’s guilt. I want now to suggest that it magnifies it. Eichmann served the Reich apparently for no motive other than to advance his career. But the ease with which he went along with everything he was asked to do does not reveal the absence of choice or intention but the true mode of it’s presence. Eichmann’s service to the final solution was a function of the choices of a lifetime, the choices that eventuated in making him the kind of man he was. It is there that his responsibility lies. Eichmann is responsible, in short, for his psyche. And there is only one relationship he can have to that psyche-guilt. Eichmann is responsible for making himself the kind of man who could become Eichmann.

The great and still unconstituted contribution of psychoanalysis to our moral history is the expanded understanding it offers us of our ethical responsibility. It’s always pretty to restrict responsibility to conscious intentions. This is the primary way we escape self-knowledge in all our important dealings. We only let ourselves know what we want to know about our motives. In one of his late reflections Freud asserted that we are responsible for our dreams. I take that statement to mean that we are responsible for what our dreams reveal about the desires and disorders that define us and that must therefore become our self-knowledge. Which is another way of saying that we are responsible for our psyche. Our ethical duty is to gain knowledge of it as the author of our actions. The fatal choice one may make one day is not a result of bad luck or simply going with the flow. It’s a function of the choices one made long before the fatal one became irresistible. In this as in so much else Eichmann and Tibbets are one, brothers of the architects of Abu Ghraib and their progeny. Adorno said that Hitler gave the world a new moral imperative: so act that Auschwitz will never again be possible. Freud also gave it a new moral imperative: to become responsible for one’s unconscious and all the suppressed motives and desires that inform one’s “intentions,” for it is from one’s psyche that one thinks and acts in all one’s dealings in the world. Both imperatives are extreme and necessarily connected. That extremity is perhaps the true measure of our historical situation.

IX. Final Jeopardy

“Nothing can trouble the dominance of the true image.”
Rainer Maria Rilke, Sonnets to Orpheus

“Is there anything more evil than shooting children in a school yard or flying planes into buildings?” One hears this rhetorical question often today. Getting it firmly implanted in our minds seems to be one of the current ideological functions of the media. A correct response requires careful reflection on the single circumstance that underlies the knee-jerk response. The power of the image. The promise inherent in Technoscientificrationality is deliverance from that reality. Killing for it, like everything else, occurs at a distance. In the inaugural moment: Tibbets in his Enola Gay unable to imagine what he has just done as a human act. “It was all impersonal.” [18] And today: in the silent, secret, midnight ways that radiation poisoning works from within, like a deed without a doer, separated in space and time from its absent cause. Perhaps killing at a distance is the far greater evil precisely because it abrogates the image and the human connection between slayer and slain. If I kill another man with my bare hands my deed is immediate to my embodied consciousness. To kill that way you have to feel hate, fear, anguish, remorse, etc. whereas to kill from a distance or invisibly is to render the whole thing impersonal. With the desired result: the ability, for example, of the man who dropped the Bomb on Hiroshima, incinerating 200 to 300,000 people in a second, condemning another 2 to 300,000 to the condition of hibakusha, the walking dead, to boast proudly for over 59 years now that he has never felt a moment of regret or remorse. Tibbets’ lack of moral imagination is one with his representative status as precursor. For now it is a thing of trifling and contemptible ease to form policies and take actions that litter a landscape with DU while denying that the stuff has any long term medical or environmental effects. [19] The evil of killing at a distance is that is makes death unreal. Protected from the image, all who participate in the deed are delivered over to a pure and impersonal calculus. (An aside: if we really want to support our troops we must achieve for them a new Bill of Rights. No one should ever be told to use weapons without being given a full knowledge of the long term human and environmental consequence of those weapons. To do otherwise is to deprive our soldiers of the choice that makes them human.)

The powers that be learned one lesson from Vietnam. No more images. The mistake was to let us see the carnage, every night, up close, over TV. The news entered our consciousness at the register where genuine change is possible. Where horror is felt. Free of the tyranny of the concept, the hypnotic power of the guarantees. Desert Storm was the corrective: the ninetendo war, a war broadcast to look just like another one of the video games we’d been programmed to love. Prohibition of the image is now a fundamental article of faith of our religion. No images are allowed to come back to us from Iraq II. (Michael Moore’s real crime was to give us a brief glimpse at what the mainstream media proscribe.) The abolition of the image is one of the primary conditions of Ecocide. Everything must be rendered abstract, invisible, unreal. No image can be allowed to trouble our sleep, to lacerate our soul. For then we might begin to know that there is indeed an evil far worse than shooting children in schoolyards or flying airplanes into buildings.

To move us toward that knowledge let me end with the forbidden, which I must here try to convey solely through the more abstract medium of words since I’ve not yet gained permission to reproduce a photograph I saw a week ago. It’s the picture of an Iraqi baby, a victim of DU, who was born with no nose, mouth, eyes, anus or genitals and with flipper limbs, a common result of radiation exposure in utero. That child’s body, full of red open ulcers, is twisted in knots, its ulcerated face contorted in a look of unspeakable suffering. An authentic image of the sacredness of human life. Of the preciousness of every breath. To look at that child is to realize one’s duty to mourn it, to give voice to its right to invade our consciousness and expose the evil of those who prate on about the right to life while refusing to let us see what they’ve reduced life to. Luke, 17:1-2. The image of that child must become the force in our minds that enables us to deracinate all guarantees that would protect us from the reality of that child’s situation. Or, to put it another way, every time one chooses catharsis, resolution, and renewal that child is born again, condemned to an unspeakable suffering.

That is why its image must embolden us to question the most hallowed of the guarantees, the one I’ve refrained from discussing until now. In the face of such evil what is to be done? To fight it is one ever justified in resorting to violence? No, we are told, because “if we do so we become just like them.” This ethical principle supposedly holds above and beyond any situation we might face. Ever. Because it assures the guarantee that no matter what happens we will never get our hands dirty. History can’t intrude on the categorical imperative. Whatever action one takes one must assure oneself of one’s ethical purity. Even if that means there is nothing that one can do and after it has been demonstrated that there are no non-violent ways to change the situation. Perhaps we can no longer allow ourselves the luxury of such an ethic. Bush did the moral imagination one favor. His preemptive unilateralism made official what has been clear for so long but denied due to its implications. There is no body to which we can turn for Justice: not the U.N., the World Court, or any other framework of International Law. The U.S. will flaunt its contempt for such bodies whenever it suits its purpose. And thus another mode of peaceful, non-violent praxis is deprived of its guarantee.
But then what is to be done? I can’t offer an answer. Because I don’t have one? Because to do so would be to drive the last nail into the coffin of Hope? Because any answer would only serve to deliver us from the trauma we have perhaps only begun to experience? Because doing so would minimize the psychological terrorism of the essay? Or, for a final hypothetical reason, which I included when delivering an earlier oral version of this essay to a Conference on Depleted Uranium: because to do so would legally open everyone who hears it to the charge of taking part in a conspiracy? Such warnings need not be attached to what we read. Surely we can preserve that guarantee. But of course we can’t. Thanks to the Patriot Act the same warning must now accompany the written word.

WALTER A. DAVIS is professor emeritus of English at Ohio State University. He is the author of Deracination: Historiocity, Hiroshima and the Tragic Imperative. He can be reached at: davis.65@osu.edu.



(1) I’ve relied on numerous sources for the factual bases of this essay. An extremely useful website is Depleted Uranium Watch. See also: www.umrc.net/contact.asp and www.informationclearinghouse.into/article5941.htm. On the nature of depleted uranium see: www.umrc.net/whatIsDU.asp.

(2) In connection with this paragraph, see: http://www.sfbayview.com/081804/Depleteduranium081804.shtml;

(3) In connection with this paragraph, see: http://www.traprockpeace.org/rokke du 3 ques.html; and traprockpeace.org/chrisbusby08may04.html. Desert Storm was not, however, the first use of DU. DU was used by Israel under U.S. Army supervision in 1973. For purposes of this essay I’ve bracketed the way events in Iraq relate to the Palestinian problem.

(4) On this takeover, see the report by Leuren Moret for The Danish Peace Academy: www.fredsakademiet.dk/library/stealth.htm. For examples of the nuclear weapons planned for development, see: www.Haarp.alaska.edu/haarp; www.dtic.mil/jointvision/jupub2.htm; and www.popsci.com (Defense 2020). Recently 153 million dollars of DU weapons including bunker busters ( or to use official language and thus gain insight into the libidinal bases of the new technologies, Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrators) was sold to Israel. The purpose of all these developments is to blur the distinction between conventional and nuclear war. Iraq is the systematic eradication of that distinction, and as such the first shape of things to come.

(5) Giorgio Agamben, Homer Sacer: Sovereign Power and Bare Life (Stanford UP, 1998).

(6) See: www.fredsadademiet.dk/library/stealth.htm.

(7) See Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations. For example, #129: “The aspects of things that are most important for us are hidden because of their simplicity and familiarity. (One is unable to notice something-because it is always before one’s eyes.) The real foundations of his inquiry do not strike a person at all.-And this means: we fail to be struck by what, once seen, is most striking and most powerful.” One purpose of this essay is to show that our responsibility is precisely to see and become aware of such things and to trace the full implications of their historical operation. History deprives us of the luxury of leaving the social, ideological, and communal bases of our thoughts and feelings in the dark, however convenient or natural it is to do so.

(8) I ran across this delight quote in Mark Crispin Miller’s Cruel and Unusual: Bush/Cheney’s New World Order (Norton, 2004), p.298.

(9) Jacques Ellul’s great book The Technological Society remains the definitive study of this dilemma.

(10) Martin Heidegger’s The Question Concerning Technology offers a magisterial meditation on the ontological implications of technology.

(11) The description and critique of the guarantees offered here is a simplified statement of the argument I develop at length in Deracination: Historicity, Hiroshima, and the Tragic Imperative (SUNY P, 2001).

(12) On this see especially the confession of the architect of the myth, McGeorge Bundy, Danger and Survival: Choices About the Bomb in the First Fifty Years (Knopf,1992) and Robert J. Lifton and Greg Mitchell, Hiroshima in America: A Half Century of Denial (Putnam, 1995).

(13) See, for example, Harvey Wasserman, Killing Our Own: The Disaster of America’s Experience with Atomic Radiation (Delacorte,1982).

(14) Chapters 3 and 4 of Deracination develop an extended psychoanalytic discussion of the idea summarized here.

(15) See: http://www.fredsakademiet.dk/library/stealth.htm.

(16) As Richard Rhodes shows in The Making of the Atomic Bomb (Simon and Schuster, 1986) this was the primary rationale behind General Grove’s argument that Kyoto be chosen as the city to receive the first Atomic Bomb.

(17) Some of the central texts behind these “developments” in psychoanalysis: Heinz Kohut ,The Restoration of the Self; Jessica Benjamin, The Bonds of Love; Peter Fonagy, Attachment Theory and Psychoanalysis; and Stephen Mitchell, Hope and Dread in Psychoanalysis.

(18) See The Paul Tibbets Story by Paul Tibbets with Claire Stebbins and Harry Franken (Stein and Day, 1978), p.227.

(19) The Department of Energy continues to insist that there is no evidence to support the claim that DU is harmful; and of course they’ve lined up the usual scientists to support the proposition, despite all the evidence that now exists in our returning soldiers, that we simply do not know what DU does. Last time I checked the tobacco industry was still denying a scientific link between smoking and lung cancer. Though false the claim by the Department of Energy is also pernicious, since not knowing what the effects of a weapon will be is a prima facie reason not to use it. That is, what stands forth once one cuts through the defenses and obfuscations is that the 1 of the 4 rationales for Hiroshima not mentioned previously in this essay remains a primary motive. We are still creating laboratories so that our scientific, medical, and military personnel can study the effects of our weapons. If we kill our own in the process, that too has been for a long time a matter of indifference. As Henry Kissinger put it, apropos of Vietnam: “Military men are just dumb stupid animals to be used as pawns in foreign policy. ( See Monika Jensen-Stevenson, Kiss the Boys Goodbye (E.P. Dutton, 1990) Finding out the full range of its destructive powers is now the primary reason for using a weapon. That is why to use any weapon that has not been fully tested in terms of all its possible consequences should be classified as a War Crime. (Of course the powers that be can always claim-and this explanation has already been floated that the source of all the cancers etc. of the Iraqi people stem from Saddam’s use of chemical and biological weapons. A result, that is, of the weapons we gave him, a transfer presided over by none other than Donald Rumsfeld.) [On this see: www.newscientist.com Pynchon vivant. Which leads to a concluding fantasy of how the clean up of Iraq should begin. Each of them-Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Rice, Perle, Rove and all the others ­should be given a sack and sent to fill it with chunks of the radioactive debris that now fills Iraq. They should then be required to take that sack home and use it as their pillow. Pleasant dreams.



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