The Imperial “Doctrine of Annihilation”
Regardless of justifications and legitimacy of targets, let’s not remove the dropping of the largest non-nuclear bomb in history from the context of the capacity and capability for violence that constitutes the existence of the so-called US.
This “Mother Of All Bombs,” from the only country in the world that has dropped nuclear weapons in combat, both in Japan on populated cities as brutal punctuation to the end of World War 2, is not only a show of force but represents an apocalyptic narrative that threatens all life, and not just those ISIS spawn of US Imperialism.
In December 2016, Trump tweeted that, “The United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes.” The MOAB detonation clearly demonstrates that the fascist-in-chief has no inhibitions of picking a bigger weapon.
Keep in mind that the potential for global state violence exists with whatever the ruling party, for example there were ten times more air strikes (primarily drones that took hundreds of civilian lives) during Obama’s presidency than under George W. Bush.
During the cold war, the US employed a military & national security strategy known as Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD). From wiki, “MAD is a doctrine of military strategy and national security policy in which a full-scale use of nuclear weapons by two or more opposing sides would cause the complete annihilation of both the attacker and the defender…”
This was literally a doctrine of “annihilation.”
The theological, pop-cultural, and political imagining of total global annihilation has occupied the space between dreams and nightmares for generations, but it wasn’t until Nuclear weapons were invented that full-scale apocalypse was a technological possibility.
Corporations producing these weapons and the extractive industries fueling them, which comprise a significant motivating factor known as the Military Industrial Complex, all cashed in on the fervor.
Radical anti-war and anti-nuke advocates have long waged resistance and attacked these weapons of mass destruction, political systems that generate them, and the corporations that profit from their proliferation.
In the 1980s, the Plowshares Movement took actions which included breaking into military facilities, smashing nuclear warhead nose cones, and pouring blood onto documents and files.
From 1986 through 1994, Western Shoshone and a group called Nevada Desert Experience waged direct action at the Nevada Test Site, the primary site for nuclear weapons testing in the so-called US, nearly 16,000 arrests were made. More than a thousand detonation tests were perpetrated on Newe Segobia (Western Shoshone lands), and dozens in the Marshall Islands. Radioactive pollution from those tests resulted in cancer and contamination directly in the communities and downwind from the sites. Indigenous Peoples from the Marshall Islands refused to reproduce due to extreme birth defects as a result of these atrocious acts of nuclear colonialism.
In 2006, the US threatened to test the non-nuclear “Divine Strake,” a “bunker buster” weapon in the same class though much larger than MOAB, at the test site in occupied Newe Segobia. Both Shoshone and anti-nuke groups intervened and ultimately stopped the test, asserting that it was a precursor to using nuclear weapons.
Historically, militant liberation groups like the Black Panther Party for Self Defense, American Indian Movement, Women of All Red Nations, Weather Underground, and others all recognized that diverse, and more direct forms, of action were necessary in the face of global state violence.
Today, as hundreds of species go extinct every day, as the pathways of US imperialism are paved with legacies of ecocide and genocide, somehow we’ve found ways to fetishize the apocalypse with prepper-fantasies and zombie survival scenarios. In many ways it appears easier to imagine annihilation than creating solutions, organizing, and doing something about it.
Radical anti-war and anti-nuke advocates historically didn’t give a fuck about “respectability politics” and property destruction as “violence” in the face of this threat. They literally took a sledge hammer to the source of state violence thereby, both symbolically and materially, neutralizing it.
Just as there are points of intervention in all aspects of what is known as the nuclear chain (mining, transport, milling, energy, weapons, & waste), there are points to intervene in all facets of the military industrial complex; from the corporations that produce the electronic components for these weapons, to the military recruitment centers, to the transport of military machines on roadways and rails, to the military bases throughout these stolen lands.
While Michael Franti sings, “we can bomb the world to pieces but we can’t bomb it into peace,” perhaps our re-working of the chorus could be, “You can’t bomb the world to pieces if we fuck-up your machines.”