Saturday, October 09, 2004

pynchon, thanatos & depleted uranium

From Of Pynchon, Thanatos and Depleted Uranium: Weapons of Mass Destruction Found in Iraq by Walter A. Davis:
....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.

....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.