NUCLEAR PROBLEM IS CREATED BY DISCOURSE, INCLUDING DEBATE DISCOURSE
NUCLEAR WEAPONS PROBLEM IS PRODUCED THROUGH DISCOURSE
JONATHAN SCHELL, 1998; THE GIFT OF TIME: THE CASE FOR ABOLISHING NUCLEAR WEAPONS, p. 37-39
General Charles Homer, a Man who combines a blunt, often humorous manner with a shrewd, active intellect, has spent a lifetime in the air force. In 1991, he was the allied air forces commander in the Gulf War and, from 1992 to 1994, commander of the U.S. Air Force Space Command. In July of 1994, he surprised official Washington when, seemingly off the cuff, he declared, "The nuclear weapon is obsolete; I want to get rid of them all." Some observers at the time speculated that his comments were only an impulsive outburst. It turned out, however, that they represented his deeply considered opinion. Today, in retirement from military service, he has become a dedicated advocate of the abolition of nuclear weapons. He is a member of the steering committee of the Stimson Center's Project on Eliminating Weapons of Mass Destruction. I began my interview with him by asking what first led him to reflect on the nuclear question. "When I was a young guy, a lieutenant in the air force stationed in England, I'd go out and sit alert with nuclear weapons- I didn't like it. It was the Cold War -- the idea was: defeat the Russian horde coming through Germany by putting nuclear weapons down. I understood the deterrent aspect of it. Certainly that seemed reasonable, given how the world was at the time. On the other hand, if I'd actually had to exe cute, it seemed most unreasonable. The targeting didn't make a hell of a lot of sense. So to the practical person, it seemed like a very unfortu nate situation to be in. I never wondered whether I'd execute or not, because, quite frankly I never believed they would be launched. But when the Berlin Wall I went up, I was down in a gunnery camp in Libya and the only way, could recall us was by using the code words for the outbreak of general war. Now that Situation never, in fact, posed any threat of the use of nuclear weapons. But we flew back across France, with our guns armed.
"And then when I was in Space Command, I would visit all the bailistic missiles guys. I could relate to them. They had the-same feelings I had. They were doing a magnificent job, professional 100 percent, but here they were, sitting in these silos with their fingers on the nuclear button, and t particularly comfortable about it,
"The other thing that occurred to me was the lack of military utility of nuclear weapons. In the Gulf War, we took inordinate measures to preclude unnecessary casualties. Nuclear weapons are such a gross instrument of power that they really have no utility. They work against you, in that they are best used to destroy cities, and kill women and children. Now, first, that's morally wrong; second, it doesn't make sense; and then, of course, there is the real threat of nuclear weapons in the hands of irresponsible or desperate powers.
"If you own them, you legitimize them just by your ownership. Now, I'm not so naive as to think we're not going to face a future in which people have, or are seeking, ownership of nuclear weapons. And it's highly likely that they will be used in the future by somebody. But that doesn't mean that we can ignore the problem."
"Did you wonder at the time of the Gulf War whether Saddam Hussein had nuclear weapons?" I asked.
"I think we were all concerned about chemical attacks against our ground forces as well as about Frog rockets and artillery. We were also concerned about biological weapons. But we were pretty well convinced that he didn't have nuclear weapons. Obviously, the surprise later was that he was a lot further along than anybody thought.
"My personal concern, though, was that Israel might use nuclear weapons. I could understand their desperation. When you're in charge of a country like Israel, you're expected to take significant action-an eye-for-an-eye type of thing. Say Saddam Hussein puts a chemical Scud into Tel Aviv. You could understand the motive for nuclear retaliation, but you would also hope that the Israelis would realize how harmful that would be to the best interests of their country and the whole world. First, they'd lose all legitimacy as a nation. I mean, they'd be a pariah, And Saddam Hussein would have emerged the hem."
"Do you think the world as a whole should adopt the elimination of nuclear weapons as a goal?" I asked.
"I think countries should realize that ownership of nuclear weapons has costs far in excess of the benefits. Any country that thinks the benefits of possession are greater than the cost, you've got to suspect that country's reason for being in the family of nations."
"Could you explain what you mean by the benefits and costs?'
"The primary justification for having nuclear weapons is that you deter other States from using nuclear weapons against you. But in a situation in which there is an international agreement to eliminate nuclear weapons--and there is movement toward the goal, as we've seen recently with chemical weapons and biological weapons--I think it's reasonable to hope that countries would come to understand that the possession of nuclear weapons has costs far exceeding any benefits.
WE MUST CHALLENGE THE USE OF THESE DISCOURSES IN DEBATES
Gee, Hull, Lnkshear in 1996 (James Paul, Glynda, Colin-Sociologists, THE NEW WORK ORDER:Behind the language of new capitalism_JGMI/3 9, p. 13)
Indeed, we need to know how better to exploit overt information within pedagogics of immersion and practice. But we cannot lose sight of the need to change the values, perspectives, and practices of Discourses like law school and the law, and not just render them more overt. And this leads us to our second point-such change is often very difficult to accomplish from within a Discourse.
The practices of a Discourse-like the practices of law schoolcontain in their forms of public interaction the 'mentalities' that learners are meant to internalize. Immersion in such practices-learning inside the procedures, rather than overly about them-ensures that a learner takes on perspectives, adopts a worldview, accepts a set of core values, and masters an identity without a great deal of critical and reflective awareness about these matters, or indeed about the Discourse itself.
No Discourse-not LA street gangs or LA police, not nuclear physicists, and certainly not new-capitalist businesseswants to apprentice its newcomers to a process that makes them question its fundamental values and perspectives on the world. Such doubts and questions would not only undermine the Discourse, they would themselves undermine the sorts of fluent and fluid performances that mark one as a member of the Discourse in the first place.
Of course we, the authors of this book, believe that such critical
reflection, such doubts and questions in regard to all limited perspec
tives are good. And all Discourses are by definition limited perspectives-limited in that they ignore or denigrate other Discourses' perspectives. Our point is, only, that few if any Discourses adopt this view in regard to their own (often tacit) core values, however much they gladly adopt it in regard to other Discourses.
"SAFETY" DISCOURSE PERPETUATES NUCLEARISM MENTALITY
Unger, 1992 (Sheldon - Prof Penn State University. The rise and fall of nuclearism - Fear and Faith as determinants of the arms race. p. 66-67)
Both the idea of omnipotence and the effort to allay its associated fear are conspicuous in the atoms-for-peace campaigns, which attempted to place a sunny mask on the atom. The promise of an atomic paradise predated the war and was revived in the postwar period. initially, the benefits of the atom were tied to the idea of international control. Not only would this engender a new type of cooperation among nations, it might end war itself. but with the collapse of the effort for international control (to be discussed below), all that was left was the power. Linked to this power, however, were "wonders and portents too numerous to mention." Such marvels as atomic-powered cars and airplanes were promised. Electric energy would be too cheap to meter. There would be enough energy to melt snow as it fell. There was also a plan to melt the polar ice cap with atomic explosions, just one of "the gigantic tasks which man can undertake as an unlimited source of energy now becomes availabie. "Why the ice cap should be melted, given that it could alter the world's climate and submerge coastal -cities, seemed to be less the issue than the intoxicating sense of power reflected in the idea.
MISSILE DEFENSE INTITIATIVES REIFY NUCLEARISM MENTALITY
Unger, 1992 (Sheldon - Prof Penn State University. The rise and fall of nuclearism - Fear and Faith as determinants of the arms race. p. 180)
The Strategic Defense initiative is the apotheosis of nuclearism. From the atom bomb, which promised to be the answer to the Great Collapse, through the moral panics, which authorized the buildups that culminated in exterminism, the United States has wedded in future to omnipotent. technologies. However, the idea of an impenetrable defense has been officially dismissed as a misguided fantasy. More important still is that "Star Wars," with all its evocative associations, has had virtually no hold on the public imagination. SDI did not allay the deep fears provoked by the Reagan panic and, like all earlier plans for civil defense or for AM. has engendered more indifference or fear than faith or reassurance. In this regard, what is remarkable about SDI is not the opposition that it has engendered. but the extent to which it has gone forward despite such opposition, the high probability that the system cannot work and will be more destabilizing than stabilizing, the improvements in Soviet-American relations, and the massive budget deficits in the United States.
CONCEPT OF NUCLEAR UMBRELLA IS ONLY A MASK FOR THE GENOCIDAL SYSTEM PERPETUATED BY NUCEARLISM
Lifton and Markusen, 1990 (Robert J. Prof of Psychology at University of New York and Eric
Assistant researcher at University of New York -- The Genocidal Mentality - Nazi Holocaust and Nuclear Threat. p. 191)
A nuclear war set off by computer error or miscommunication would be "an accident in name only" because the genocidal ideology, institutions, and dynamic have long been operative and can be all too easilv intensified to the ultimate point. The release of a single nuclear weapon -- even the creation of circumstances under which such a weapon is likely to be released -- could well be the equivalent of the Nazi crossing of the "moral Rubison" of mass murder. The key is the ideological-institutional propulsion toward mass murder, toward the "blind alley" of mutual nuclear confrontation. We, too, "prepare for" genocide -- by our long-held nuclearistic ideology and increasingly callous dismissal of human lives in order to maintain the protective "nuclear umbrella." The existence of a dynamic weapons system - a genocidal system -- is perpetuated in nuclearism by the simple facts of technology. What ever the safeguards taken against crossing, that threshold, an these are extremely important, there can be no certainty that the threshold will not be crossed so long as the weapons and the technobureaucratic structure surrounding them remain promi nent features of our landscape. To build and deploy the weapons in large numbers is to prepare for their use, to prepare to cross the nuclear threshold. Or to put the matter another way, our nuclear. weapons system creates a threshold waiting to be crossed.
TECHNOLOGICAL DISCOURSE REIFIES NUCLEARISM IDEOLOGY, MOVING US CLOSER TO GENOCIDAL DEATH
Lifton and Markusen, 1990 (Robert J. Prof of Psychology at University of New York and Eric -
Assistant researcher at University of New York -- The Genocidal Mentality - Nazi Holocaust and Nuclear Threat. P 191)
With nuclearism, technological distancing renders brutalization more insidious than in the case of the the overtly brutal Nazis. The projection of more and more millions of victims comes to have less and less actuality. The distancing and the numbers create a realm of unreality that is both absorbed into everydayness and at the same time maintained as a special arena of experience so radically different from the ordinary that what one does or says within it cannot be bound by ordinary moral considerations. Within that nuclear realm, weapons designers and strategists imagine in targeted detail the destruction of the Soviet Union, and these acts of' imagination, repeated daily. are themselves normalized. This realm is nuclearism's equivalent to the "separate planet" of Auschwitz. And there is another still more disturbing parallel to the Nazi sequence, especially in Hitler, of first imagining the destroying of the Jews in some fashion and only later acting on those images: without requiring Hitler's fierce hatreds and VICIOUS threats, nuclearists, too, Imagine extreme forms of destruction, theirs often associated with creative satisfactions concerning new weapons and pew uses for them.
EACH USE OF NUCLEAR DISCOURSE LINEARLY INCREASES RISK OF WAR
Lifton and Markusen,, 1990 (Robert J. Prof of Psychology at University of New York and Eric -
Assistant researcher at University of New York -- The Genocidal Mentality - Nazi Holocaust and Nuclear Threat. p. 158)
Momentum extends readily into the impulse to use the weapons, especially when close to the treshold. As Thomas Powers has pointed out, "once war has become inescapable, there is something to be gained by going first" as "with glacial inexorability the fear of war is ... pushed aside by the fear of being caught on the ground." Different as their situation was, the Nazis irresistable momentum toward genocide -- developing out of the interplay between organizational (and ideological) energies and new technology -- has some relevance for nuclear danger. Very important for Nazi genocidal momentum was the wartime situation which enormously intensified both feelings of threat and impulses toward the most violent forms of national rejuvenation. In the nuclear case also, should there arise any possibility of war, a point could be readily reached at which, as Powers tells us, the easiest message to get through is to go. One recalls Brodie's early reading of such a situation--Be quick on the draw and the trigger squeeze, and aim for the heart"-while recognizing that "you will probably die too!"
NUCLEAR DISCOURSE REIFIES JUSTIFICATION FOR USE OF WEAPONS
Lifton and Markusen, 1990 (Robert J. Prof of Psychology at University of New York and Eric -
Assistant researcher at University of New York -- The Genocidal Mentality - Nazi Holocaust and Nuclear Threat. p. 87-88)
That totalistic quality of anticommunism associated with nuclearism reached an official apogee in 1950 in a report to the National Security Council by a special committee of leading figures from the departments of State and Defense. The report. known as NSC-68, dwelled extensively on Soviet evil and justified any means on our part, "covert or overt, violent or non-violent," that might "serve the purposes of frustrating the Kremlin design." The report contrasted Soviet duplicity and willingness to "strike a. surprise blow"-with its nuclear weapons against us or our allies anywhere in the world-with something close to American pure virtue: with "the essential tolerance of our world outlook, our generous and constructive impulses, and the absence of covetousness in our international relations." While the language was "deliberately hyped" for the sake of gaining support for American weapons buildup, the overall statement was "amazingly incomplete and amateurish" in its exaggerated portrait of "the monolithic and evil nature of the Communist bloc." The overall report, however, was consistent in content and tone with highly ideologized American sentiment at the time.
NUCLEAR DISCOURSE CREATES NUMBING TO NUCLEAR DANGERS
Lifton and Markusen, 1990 (Robert J. Prof of Psychology at University of New York and Eric - Assistant researcher at University of New York -- The Genocidal Mentality- Nazi Holocaust and Nuclear Threat. p. 86)
Armageddonist imagery can also be held by those close to the weapons, and may include impulses to purge the world of its evil by means of nuclear holocaust. Certainly the actions of many nuclear strategists and defense intellectuals in seeking nuclear confrontation that comes close to the brink (as in carrying out what is sometimes called "nuclear chicken," and waiting for the adversary to be the first to step back) suggest a secular impulse toward world destruction. While that should not be seen as the dominant inclination, there is interview evidence that at least some strategists may not be free of the lure of Armageddon-a temptation given fictional expression by Arthur Kopit in his drama The End of the World: With Symposium to Follow. These "secular Armageddonists, like their religious counterparts, renounce their responsibility for the holocaust they anticipate and may press toward bringing about. Secular Armageddonists may view nuclear holocaust as an inevitable outcome of our time and technology which is pointless to resist. or as preferable to an assumed alternative of "giving in to the Russians." Secular and religious Armageddon images tend to merge in many minds, having in common their relationship to mystical expressions of nuclearism.
NUCLEAR NORMALITY CREATES AN ACCEPTED CULTURAL PARADIGM FOR WAR
Lifton and Markusen, 1990 (Robert I Prof of Psychology at University of New York and Eric -
Assistant researcher at University of New York -- The Genocidal Mentality --nNazi Holocaust and Nuclear Threat. 38)
Given the nature of the threat, some of that duality Is inevitable. But there are social and historical currents that specifically contribute to this business-as-usual stance. current-, that can be lumped together under the idea of "nuclear normality." What takes shape is a generally perceived obligation to view the weapons in certain ways because it is morally right, politically necessary, and personally mature to do so. The criteria for nuclear normality have generally been handed down by leaders and ostensible experts, though they are also influenced by the fear, mystery, and technological claims surrounding the weapons. Nuclear normality, then, becomes a cultural assumption, partly manipulated and at times so urgently put forward and embraced as to obscure the bizarre ideological and psychological assumptions contained in it.
THE MILITARY INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX PROMOTES SMALL ENEMIES TO BOLSTER ITS HOLD ON USA SOCIETY
Jimmy Reid April 9, 2001, The Scotsman SECTION: Pg. 10 HEADLINE: WHERE IS THE PEACE BONUS AFTER THE COLD WAR? //VT2002acsln
Of course, President Eisenhower warned us about the dangers of the military/industrial complex in the US. Grandiose military technologies are bountifully profitable for some. Washington no longer has a big bogeyman to frighten the punters, so wee bogeymen must suffice. To pep up business you need at times to put your wares on display. A few clever bombs here, some more there. Now and again blooter the Balkans to show who is boss. But no ground forces. No American boys must die - that upsets the folk back home. So only foreigners get killed.
THE POWER OF THE WORD IS FAR MORE POTENT TODAY THAN THE POWER OF MILITARY FORCE
HOWARD BREMBECK, Fourth Freedom Foundation, 2000; IN SEARCH OF THE FOURTH FREEDOM // VT2002 acs p. 27-28
Physical force and power are not the same. They do not equate. Physical force, which includes military force, is only one of many kinds of power. in fact, in the hierarchy of power, physical force is far less persuasive than two other forms of power, the power of the word and the power of economics.
Of these three forms of power, I believe the power of the word is the most potent. If it is employed in the service of good, it nourishes the human spirit, fosters faith, unleashes the imagination and stimulates the vision that is the starting point for all human achievement. If it is employed in the service of evil, it poisons the human spirit, destroys faith, stifles the imagination and dims the vision of what we are and what we can become. The power of the word can lift men and women to higher levels of fulfillment or it can condemn them to hatred, frustration and failure.
The power of the word is most effective in influencing behavior because it acknowledges the supremacy of the spiritual side of human nature. on the other hand, economic power can only deal with the secular side of human affairs. Even so, it is far more persuasive than physical force. Economic power can achieve goals well beyond the reach of all the armies of the world.
DISCOURSE CREATES SOCIAL POSITIONS AND PERSPECTIVES
Gee, Hull, Lnkshear in 1996 (James Paul, Glynda, Colin-Sociolotists, THE NEW WORK ORDER:Behind the language of new capitalism, JGM//39, P. 10)
Law school is a set of related social practices. We say that such related social practices constitute a Discourse (with a capital 'D' to distinguish it from 'discourse', which means 'a stretch of spoken or written language' or 'language in use'). So, there is a 'law school Discourse', which is of course connected to the larger Discourse of the law.
A Discourse is composed of ways of talking, listening, reading, writing, acting, interacting, believing, valuing, and using tools and objects, in particular settings and at specific times, so as to display or to recognize a particular social identity. Law school teachers and students enact specific social identities or 'social positions' in the Discourse of law school. The Discourse creates social positions (or perspectives) from which people are 'invited' ('summoned') to speak, listen, act, read and write, think, feel, believe and value in certain characteristic, historically recognizable ways, in combination with their own individual style and creativity (Bourdieu 1979/1984, 1991; Foucault 1980).
There are innumerable Discourses in modern societies: different sorts of street gangs, elementary schools and classrooms, academic disciplines and their sub-specialities, police, birdwatchers, ethnic groups, genders, executives, feminists, social classes and sub-classes, and so on and so forth. Each is composed of some set of related social practices and social identities (or 'positions'). Each Discourse contracts complex relations of complicity, tension, and opposition with other Discourses.