FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

How Does It End?

“As North Korea dug tunnels at its nuclear test site last fall, watched by American spy satellites, the Obama administration was preparing a test of its own in the Nevada desert. A fighter jet took off with a mock version of the nation’s first precision-guided atom bomb. Adapted from an older weapon, it was designed with problems like North Korea in mind: Its computer brain and four maneuverable fins let it zero in on deeply buried targets like testing tunnels and weapon sites. And its yield, the bomb’s explosive force, can be dialed up or down depending on the target, to minimize collateral damage.”

—The New York Times, January 10, 2016

Is there no bottom to the depth of our hypocrisy, we masters of war and merchants of death? We whited wraiths who grind the faces of the poor, who tax them to pay for world-destroying weapons to “pacify” millions across the waters who are more desperate than our own poor? Who would “make the desert glow,” forgetting that it is our own small planet we would irradiate?

By what logic do we assume we are one jot or tittle different from or better than the North Koreans? What makes our own arrogant and pompous leaders one whit less adolescent than theirs? We are subject like the North Koreans to the same self-perpetuating paranoia, the same lack of moral imagination, the same suppression of truth-telling, the same wildly unnecessary secrets and lies, the same demagogic rationalizations of the status quo, the same folly of an endless arms race, the same nuclear dictatorship that leaves citizens without a voice when world-ending decisions are made. It’s my planet too!

Pontius Pilate, confronted by one mute, disheveled, apparently revolutionary Jew, knowing not what he had before him, washed his hands of him. We have the death of the whole planet clearly before us; how much more reprehensible is our own smug hand washing!

How long will the nations and the generals and those who call themselves statesmen stall and stall again, grossly abrogating their obligations to live up to signed treaties committing them to the abolition of these weapons? How long will they passively acquiesce to the march of doom quickened by the mindless greed of the arms makers? Who will throw these moneychangers out of the temple of our one irreplaceable planet and restore it to life-reverence?

We partake in a cult of death as nihilistic as ISIS, disguised like a thin layer of rose petals on a pile of horse manure, by our obtuse pretensions to exceptionalism—we assume our thousands of nuclear weapons are a force for good while those few of North Korea’s or possible future one of Iran’s are a force for evil.

Who will speak for the right of mothers and children not to be irradiated and poisoned even by the atomic tests—any nation’s atomic tests—let alone annihilated by a war into which we could slip so much more easily than we can possibly imagine? Can we not grow up? We are active and complicit deniers of the real. Even the missile crisis of October 1962, behind us by a half-century, failed utterly to wake us up. How much closer do we want to come to ending everything that we love?

How long will we call ourselves Christians, setting aside an hour a week to worship Christ or a day a year to remember Martin Luther King Jr., our own living embodiment of the teachings of Jesus, at the same time that we deploy submarines that can wreak destruction on a scale unimaginable by ISIS terrorists. We never come within a country mile of considering what the Christian message of creative nonviolence might do to help us, all of us on the planet, to survive in the context of realistic international diplomacy—help the West reconcile with the “Muslim world” and not continue to reduce it to fearful stereotypes.

The fundamental illusion that confronts us, whether trying to act upon the challenge of domestic gun violence or radical Islamic terrorism, or the prevention of nuclear war, or global climate change, is the illusion of “us-and-them.” By paying only lip-service to figures like Gandhi and Jesus and Martin Luther King, we deny ourselves the practical usefulness of wanting our “enemy’s” security as much as we want our own, wanting it because we see our life-and-death interdependency with our “enemy”—this is irrefutable on the level of climate change and nuclear war. We have met the enemy, and he is us. If it is true on that level, the logic works at any level of conflict: we need police and a military trained to de-escalate and resolve conflict, not perpetuate it by the constant use of overwhelming force.

Will we all be secure if more and more nations have nuclear weapons or if none do? Any general worth his stars in any military on earth ought to be calling for the negotiated abolition of these weapons down to zero. Redirecting the vast sums sucked up by nuclear weapons to a global Marshall Plan addressing real human needs would enhance the survival of our own nation and all nations.

More articles by:

Winslow Myers is author of “Living Beyond War: A Citizen’s Guide.” He serves on the Advisory Board of the War Preventive Initiative.

Weekend Edition
February 15, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Matthew Hoh
Time for Peace in Afghanistan and an End to the Lies
Chris Floyd
Pence and the Benjamins: An Eternity of Anti-Semitism
Rob Urie
The Green New Deal, Capitalism and the State
Jim Kavanagh
The Siege of Venezuela and the Travails of Empire
Paul Street
Someone Needs to Teach These As$#oles a Lesson
Andrew Levine
World Historical Donald: Unwitting and Unwilling Author of The Green New Deal
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Third Rail-Roaded
Eric Draitser
Impacts of Exploding US Oil Production on Climate and Foreign Policy
Ron Jacobs
Maduro, Guaidó and American Exceptionalism
John Laforge
Nuclear Power Can’t Survive, Much Less Slow Climate Disruption
Joyce Nelson
Venezuela & The Mighty Wurlitzer
Jonathan Cook
In Hebron, Israel Removes the Last Restraint on Its Settlers’ Reign of Terror
Ramzy Baroud
Enough Western Meddling and Interventions: Let the Venezuelan People Decide
Robert Fantina
Congress, Israel and the Politics of “Righteous Indignation”
Dave Lindorff
Using Students, Teachers, Journalists and other Professionals as Spies Puts Everyone in Jeopardy
Kathy Kelly
What it Really Takes to Secure Peace in Afghanistan
Brian Cloughley
In Libya, “We Came, We Saw, He Died.” Now, Maduro?
Nicky Reid
The Councils Before Maduro!
Gary Leupp
“It’s All About the Benjamins, Baby”
Jon Rynn
What a Green New Deal Should Look Like: Filling in the Details
David Swanson
Will the U.S. Senate Let the People of Yemen Live?
Dana E. Abizaid
On Candace Owens’s Praise of Hitler
Raouf Halaby
‘Tiz Kosher for Elected Jewish U.S. Officials to Malign
Rev. William Alberts
Trump’s Deceitful God-Talk at the Annual National Prayer Breakfast
W. T. Whitney
Caribbean Crosswinds: Revolutionary Turmoil and Social Change 
ADRIAN KUZMINSKI
Avoiding Authoritarian Socialism
Howard Lisnoff
Anti-Semitism, Racism, and Anti-immigrant Hate
Ralph Nader
The Realized Temptations of NPR and PBS
Cindy Garcia
Trump Pledged to Protect Families, Then He Deported My Husband
Thomas Knapp
Judicial Secrecy: Where Justice Goes to Die
Louis Proyect
The Revolutionary Films of Raymundo Gleyzer
Sarah Anderson
If You Hate Campaign Season, Blame Money in Politics
Victor Grossman
Contrary Creatures
Tamara Pearson
Children Battling Unhealthy Body Images Need a Different Narrative About Beauty
Peter Knutson
The Salmon Wars in the Pacific Northwest: Banning the Rough Customer
Binoy Kampmark
Means of Control: Russia’s Attempt to Hive Off the Internet
Robert Koehler
The Music That’s in All of Us
Norah Vawter
The Kids Might Save Us
Tracey L. Rogers
Freedom for All Begins With Freedom for the Most Marginalized
Paul Armentano
Marijuana Can Help Fight Opioid Abuse
Tom Clifford
Britain’s Return to the South China Sea
Graham Peebles
Young People Lead the Charge to Change the World
Matthew Stevenson
A Pacific Odyssey: Around General MacArthur’s Manila Stage Set
B. R. Gowani
Starbucks Guy Comes Out to Preserve Billionaire Species
David Yearsley
Bogart Weather
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail