It directly emerged from “The Body in Pain,” which has a first chapter on torture and a second on war. I was trying to address the question why when people prohibit torture they make it an absolute prohibition, but when they make a prohibition on war, they always make exceptions.
I realized that nuclear weapons much more approximate the condition of torture than of war. Torture involves zero consent on the part of the injured, whereas conventional war allows many levels of consent. With nuclear weapons, there’s zero consent.
There is an excellent, wide-ranging conversation between Scarry…
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