Sunday, July 29, 2012
The fusion of fact and fantasy in post-modern warfare is no longer limited to a small theatre in Aurora, it is global.
By Hamid Dabashi
What is a drone - these unmanned, remote controlled killing machines - to which hundreds of innocent civilians in Pakistan and Afghanistan and other places have fallen victim? The technology that makes that digitisation of "the enemy" possible is of the same family genealogy that makes videogame violence, war game panels, and ultimately digital cameras and CGI cinema possible. The nature of contemporary post-modern warfare is the fact that remote control bombing has no moral or physical encounter with the victims it targets. As Al Jazeera reports regarding the drone warfare:
The strategy is giving rise to anxieties that conflict is becoming just a big computer game, in which "desk pilots" in air conditioned bunkers far from the battlefield can kill a few enemy fighters and then go home to their families, remote from the human consequences of their actions or the anguish of associated civilian casualties.
These killing machines have so categorically externalised violence from the conscious metaphysics of the Empire that they are coterminous with dehumanising their enemy, so much so that the term "terrorism" and "terrorist" are now categorically reserved for the Muslims they target - and thus news organisations persistently insist that the murderous act in Aurora had no connection to terrorism. "Authorities have established no terrorism link" - as the BBC so typically puts it, categorically glossing over the terror that people must have experienced in that movie theatre.
The fusion of fact and fantasy in post-modern warfare, the moral depletion of acts of violence from what they mean and what their human costs are in people's bone and blood are no longer limited to that small theatre in Aurora. It is our global condition - from Gotham and Colorado to Afghanistan and Pakistan......"