With no draft, no need for congressional approval (the last formal declaration of war was in 1941), no tax or war bonds, and now the knowledge that the Americans at risk are mainly just American machines, the already falling bars to war may well hit the ground ... the public truly will become the equivalent of sports fans watching war, rather than citizens sharing in its importance ... Inevitably, the ability to download the latest snippets of robotic combat footage to home computers and iPhones turns war into a sort of entertainment. Soldiers call these clips “war porn.” Particularly interesting or gruesome combat footage, such as video of an insurgent being blown up by a UAV, is posted on blogs and forwarded to friends, family, and colleagues with subject lines like “Watch this!” much as an amusing clip of a nerdy kid dancing around in his basement might be e-mailed around. A typical clip that has been making the rounds shows people’s bodies being blown into the air by a Predator strike, set to the tune of Sugar Ray’s snappy pop song “I Just Want to Fly” ... To a public with so much less at risk, wars take on what analyst Christopher Coker called “the pleasure of a spectacle with the added thrill that it is real for someone, but not the spectator."
26 January 2009
New Technology And War
The Woodrow Wilson Centre Quarterly has a frankly terrifying article on technology and new warfare. It's a tale of PackBots, TALONs, the Special Weapons Observation Reconnaissance Detection System (SWORDS), and MARCBOTs (Multi-Function Agile Remote-Controlled Robots). The authors also make the point that robotics will further disconnect the military from society, that people are more likely to support the use of force as long as they view it as costless:
Posted by scott redding at 5:01 pm