Mon Aug 6, 2012, 08:25 PM
KoKo (84,711 posts)
The Science of Genocide (Questions We Need to Ponder)
Posted on Aug 6, 2012
By Chris Hedges
On this day in 1945 the United States demonstrated that it was as morally bankrupt as the Nazi machine it had recently vanquished and the Soviet regime with which it was allied. Over Hiroshima, and three days later over Nagasaki, it exploded an atomic device that was the most efficient weapon of genocide in human history. The blast killed tens of thousands of men, women and children. It was an act of mass annihilation that was strategically and militarily indefensible. The Japanese had been on the verge of surrender. Hiroshima and Nagasaki had no military significance. It was a war crime for which no one was ever tried. The explosions, which marked the culmination of three centuries of physics, signaled the ascendancy of the technician and scientist as our most potent agents of death.
“In World War II Auschwitz and Hiroshima showed that progress through technology has escalated man’s destructive impulses into more precise and incredibly more devastating form,” Bruno Bettelheim said. “The concentration camps with their gas chambers, the first atomic bomb … confronted us with the stark reality of overwhelming death, not so much one’s own—this each of us has to face sooner or later, and however uneasily, most of us manage not to be overpowered by our fear of it—but the unnecessary and untimely death of millions. … Progress not only failed to preserve life but it deprived millions of their lives more effectively than had ever been possible before. Whether we choose to recognize it or not, after the second World War Auschwitz and Hiroshima became monuments to the incredible devastation man and technology together bring about.”
The atomic blasts, ignited in large part to send a message to the Soviet Union, were a reminder that science is morally neutral. Science and technology serve the ambitions of humankind. And few in the sciences look beyond the narrow tasks handed to them by corporations or government. They employ their dark arts, often blind to the consequences, to cement into place systems of security and surveillance, as well as systems of environmental destruction, that will result in collective enslavement and mass extermination. As we veer toward environmental collapse we will have to pit ourselves against many of these experts, scientists and technicians whose loyalty is to institutions that profit from exploitation and death.
Scientists and technicians in the United States over the last five decades built 70,000 nuclear weapons at a cost of $5.5 trillion. (The Soviet Union had a nuclear arsenal of similar capability.) By 1963, according to the Columbia University professor Seymour Melman, the United States could overkill the 140 principal cities in the Soviet Union more than 78 times. Yet we went on manufacturing nuclear warheads. And those who publicly questioned the rationality of the massive nuclear buildup, such as J. Robert Oppenheimer, who at the government lab at Los Alamos, N.M., had overseen the building of the two bombs used on Japan, often were zealously persecuted on suspicion of being communists or communist sympathizers. It was a war plan that called for a calculated act of enormous, criminal genocide. We built more and more bombs with the sole purpose of killing hundreds of millions of people. And those who built them, with few exceptions, never gave a thought to their suicidal creations.
“What are we to make of a civilization which has always regarded ethics as an essential part of human life which has not been able to talk about the prospect of killing almost everyone except in prudential and game-theoretical terms?” Oppenheimer asked after World War II.
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The Science of Genocide (Questions We Need to Ponder) (Original post)
Response to KoKo (Original post)
Mon Aug 6, 2012, 09:31 PM
Odin2005 (53,147 posts)
1. Must be nice to be a Monday-Morning QB, Chris.
And fuck him for using that bastard Bruno "Frigid Mothers Cause Autism" Bettelheim as a source for anything.
Response to Odin2005 (Reply #1)
Tue Aug 7, 2012, 10:07 PM
KoKo (84,711 posts)
2. I think he makes good points, though, irregardless of somethings you or i
might have a quibble with, though. Don't you think?
Can we agree with anyone all of the time over every point? It's the body of the work that will speak for itself ....in the end. imho.