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March 20, 2012

Annals of Weaponization

The notion of weaponization is fairly straightforward. It involves the use of either old ideas or new technology as weapons that allow users to influence decisions by either killing their opponents or rendering them defenseless. In modern parlance, the concept of asymmetric warfare has emerged as a generic description of such tactics. The speed with which weaponization takes place can be appreciated by the evolution of powered flight from its first demonstration at Kitty Hawk in 1903, to the use of solitary B-29s to deliver the atomic bombs that convinced Hirohito to overrule his advisers and end the Pacific War in 1945.

Although seldom mentioned in accounts of that war, the national characteristic that made a conventional invasion and conquest of the Japanese so daunting was their embrace of suicide as a weapon, a belief deeply rooted in their history and mythology. Also seldom mentioned in conventional accounts was the abrupt turn around in their behavior after Hirohito's historic speech; finally, their high level of cooperation with the Occupation under General MacArthur between September 1945 and his sacking by Truman for insubordination. The high level of cooperation continued after MacArthur's termination and helped rehabilitate the nation from the terrible wounds of WW2.

Unfortunately, the concept of suicide as a weapon has recently been expanded to involve religious martyrdom for Moslems of many different national origins. While its use is now an almost daily event in South Asia, its most dramatic and effective expression was the coordinated 9/11/01 attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, which not only inflicted severe psychological damage on Western nations, but also spooked (tempted?) an inexperienced Presidential Administration into waging a ruinous war that was more unfocused, wasteful, and destructive than need be; results that were explicitly warned against before the search for bin Laden at Tora bora was abandoned.

By chance, my entry into the practice of "cannabis medicine" (a designation I abjure) began at almost the same time as 9/11. Although already convinced by working for 5 years in Drug Policy "Reform" that America's drug war was a huge policy mistake, it has taken a decade of clinical experience with cannabis users to appreciate its enormity and far reaching consequences. Those concepts have led me to theorize about why our entire species now seems so intent on its own destruction and so blind to its imminent possibility.

I have accordingly decided to limit my practice to "renewing" old patients as I attempt to inform readers about the unpalatable reality I see as awaiting our species. My fervent hope is that humans will find some way to avoid that looming disaster, but escape seems both unlikely and would be intrinsically painful in any event.

Doctor Tom

Posted by tjeffo at March 20, 2012 05:16 PM