Weapons of mass destruction: the atomic and nuclear bombs
War and society
An image of an atomic or nuclear bomb being dropped on a serene community filled with children playing and adults doing myriad tasks to meet their daily needs, innocent to the fact that the day would be their last, and explodes, spewing forth angry fire and heat, is the supreme manifestation both power and violence.
The speed it takes for the mushroom of heated gases to rise into the heavens matches the pace the heat and fire kill thousands of innocent civilians. Just before the survivors of the initial blast could comprehend what happened, deadly ashes with radiation descend upon them, exposing every one to a gradual but painful certain death.
The first atomic bombs were dropped at Nagasaki and Hiroshima because of an imbalance of power caused by the war between Japan and the United States. Japan as the aggressor, the United States of America resorted to violence by dropping the bombs to subdue the Empire of Japan and end the violence it caused. This is a case of fighting fire with fire, violence with violence, to take power from the other and control it within one's grasp.
The reading (surplus violence) enunciated the benefits derived from living under the banner of democracy and how violence is indirectly related to it. In a way, power's inclination leans to the negative side that one could surmise that violence and power are synonymous with each other. It is said that violence is anathema to democracy's spirit and substance being that "democracy enables everybody to act at a distance from its power centers by means of a functional civil society." And that democracy provides an organized protection from the fear or fact of injury or loss of life.
If we are to relate the image of the atomic bomb to the substance of the reading, the act of Japan in invading most part of Southeast Asia was a curtailment of the democratic way of life of the conquered nations. When democracy was curtailed, the concept of a functioning civil society that protects one "from the fear or fact of injury or loss of life" dearly believed by peace-loving citizens collapsed. It was violence against democracy. Violence was used by Japan to reach its goal of being the supreme ruler some nations of Asia.
The way violence was used was in the negative way. Yet, as the reading suggest, violence is also used within democracy itself; within the democratic way of life. Problems also arise in a civilized, democratic society, and in order to quell these problems, certain means are used, which sometimes are causes of violence, such as arrest, court trial and incarceration, or police or military intervention. It seems that violence is a double-edged sword. It can be used as a weapon by both the good side and the dark side.
In democracy, a government exist which manages the way the citizens and the state interacts with each other. More often than not, the State sometimes encroaches upon the right of individuals which becomes the foundation for injustices caused by elements of the state. In retaliation, the citizens resort to violence in the form of strikes, mass rallies or rebellion. This circumstance is an exemplification of the dual nature of violence. It is used by both sides of opposing parties. Without end to the differences, the disagreement grows into riots, the conflict keeps on growing until it explodes into a full scale civil war.
To delineate between the concepts of power and violence is a stiff undertaking because it seems that one is indispensable without the other. The wielding of violence is power itself, while power is an ineffectual tool to command many to follow certain rules for an organized society without using a little violence.
Hence, the image of an atomic bomb explosion is a manifestation of both power and violence; power at its most supreme, and violence at its most gruesome.