“Our national security can only be assured on a very broad and comprehensive front.”
-Navy Secretary James Forrestal, 1945.
Before elaborating on the connection between Edward Snowden and the two atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which destroyed well over 100,000 buildings and eventually killed almost 500,000(1), by themselves the extremely lethal bombs were pillars of the United States’ modern National/Foreign Security State. In truth, the two atomic bombs (code named Manhattan Project), which at its height employed 150,000 people and cost $24 billion in today’s currency, was the major foundation of America’s monolithic national security system that would stretch around the globe.
World War Two had revolutionized the U.S.’s static fortress mentality. A new theory regarding national security quickly evolved into strategizing and preparing for wars and global military interventions. The idea of “national security,” a phrase James Madison used in “The Federalist,” was revived with an added punch. Securing the nation against foreign danger meant a veritable transformation in international relationships. A highly centralized command with a much-expanded intelligence service, and a national realism to speedily mobilize for war and intervene in any nation, became the norm.(2)
The new National/Foreign Security State (NFSS) doctrine described how the U.S. would relate to other nations. It was first tested by dropping the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. This ominous event signaled how the U.S. would forever respond to perceived threats around the world. Joseph E. Johnson, Chief of the Division of International Security Affairs in the State Department, admitted: “We are in a different league now. How large the subject of security has grown, larger than a combined Army and Navy. The military problems ahead of us are all related to foreign policy and to each other.”(3)
Not only would this NFSS combat adverse turn of events anywhere around the world, but it would fight against unwanted events within the U.S., in its own homeland, even if it meant suppressing, sacrificing or killing its own citizenry. At the same time, these new desirable domestic and foreign policy goals, which were translated into a matter of absolute national “survival,” perceived the range of threats as limitless. Like today, the initial NFSS was characterized by an expansiveness tendency to not only push the “subjective” boundaries of security outward to more and more areas (4), but inward.
The attacks against the U.S.’s naval fleet at Pearl Harbor revealed that technologies had shrunk the world. Despite two vast oceans serving as borders, the U.S. was vulnerable. To counter this, the U.S. and newly formed NFSS not only minimized the dimension of the world even more by developing and using the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but it radically transformed the character of warfare. For the first time in the history of humankind, the U.S. was able to contemplate the wholesale liquidation of an entire nation, and by extension the extinction of every living species on the planet.(5)
On the heels of the most important technological innovation in the history of or the world, the U.S. worked on shrinking other geographical areas: psychological, emotional and physiological ones like imagination, privacy, idealism, faith in humanity, even life itself. The use and destructive effects of the atomic bomb revealed there were no other imaginative options when dealing with the U.S.’s NFSS. Inventive satellites and spy planes, and their more modern security cameras, supercomputer chips and computer-like/cell phone tracking systems and data mining bases, have all but eliminated privacy.
Edward Snowden who worked for the National Security Agency (NSA), and then leaked information regarding how the it was spying on, eavesdropping, and collecting and storing unlimited amounts of data on citizens to manipulate behaviors and elections, and too possibly be used at a later date, serves as another ominous warning about the U.S.’s NFSS. Like the dropping of the atomic bombs, the NFSS will use any measure, go to any extreme, sacrifice anyone, and destroy anything and anyone in justifying and maintaining its global dominance, even if perceptions might be wrong or at best extremely subjective.
And as with the use of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, tragic consequential trade-offs have occurred. By establishing and maintaining a vast and ever expansive domestic and global surveillance system, one that borders on social and mind and behavioral, the NFSS’s absolute securities have caused more insecurities, a permanent “state of fear.” Its vast geographic meddling and intrusion into the aspirations of nations, popular and democratic movements, and the private lives of individuals has ruined national idealism while diminishing faith in humanity, even each other.
Even though Edward Snowden was born decades after the production and use of the atomic bombs, he is an icon of the NFSS’s participants and perpetrators, and a symbol of what happens to whistle-blowers, dissenters or someone who tries too criticize and challenge the system. Both the Manhattan Project and NFSS were billed as a matter of permanent urgency, political and military expedience, of life or death. Because of this, many saw it as their unquestionable and patriotic duty to either support, fund or work within this Commanding Idea, this permanent state of “perception” and “being.”
The initial ideologically, epigenetically, and psycho-social consequences of the NFSS still continues today. Whistleblowers are purged, dissenters and defectors imprisoned and tortured. Sometimes, they are even quietly eliminated. As for the explosions from the atomic bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the men and women who were exposed are still effected too. Physically, those exposed to radiation and their children, including future generations, suffer from genetic mutations and damages. Psychologically, the atomic bombs were dubbed “the long war,” since death was immediate and generational.
The atomic bombs (which the world has already spent $25 trillion on) required a vast military and mass surveillance system established by the NFSS. From the A-Bomb to the MS-Bomb, guess who the enemies are? And new enemies are always being found, while innovative weapons are always being used.
(1) Chaline, Eric. History’s Worst Inventions And The People Who Made Them. London, United Kingdom: Quid Publishing, 2008., p. 204.
(2)Yergin, Daniel. Shattered Peace: The Origins Of The Cold War And The National Security State. Boston, Massachusetts: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1977., p. 194.
(3) Ibid., p. 195.
(4) Ibid., p. 196.
(5) Chaline, Eric. History’s Worst Inventions And The People Who Made Them., p. 204.