JiscMail Logo
Email discussion lists for the UK Education and Research communities

Help for CRIT-GEOG-FORUM Archives


CRIT-GEOG-FORUM Archives

CRIT-GEOG-FORUM Archives


CRIT-GEOG-FORUM@JISCMAIL.AC.UK


View:

Message:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

By Topic:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

By Author:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

Font:

Proportional Font

LISTSERV Archives

LISTSERV Archives

CRIT-GEOG-FORUM Home

CRIT-GEOG-FORUM Home

CRIT-GEOG-FORUM  March 1999

CRIT-GEOG-FORUM March 1999

Options

Subscribe or Unsubscribe

Subscribe or Unsubscribe

Log In

Log In

Get Password

Get Password

Subject:

Fast War/Slow Motion

From:

Denis Linehan <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Denis Linehan <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Tue, 30 Mar 1999 12:24:24 +0100

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (172 lines)

 
Is there blood in cyberspace....?

Forwarded from:
__________________________________________________________________
 CTHEORY          THEORY, TECHNOLOGY AND CULTURE        VOL 22, NO 1-2


 FAST WAR/SLOW MOTION
 ====================

 ~Arthur and Marilouise Kroker~

      "The hidden hand of the market will never work without a
      hidden fist - McDonald's cannot flourish without McDonnell
      Douglas, the builder of the F-15. And the hidden fist that keeps
      the world safe for Silicon Valley's technologies is called the
      United States Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps."

      "...Americans are in the odd position now of being held
      responsible for everything, while being reluctant to die for
      anything. That's why in the globalization era, counterinsurgency
      is out; baby-sitting is in. House-to-house fighting is out;
      cruise missiles are in. Green berets are out; U.N. blue helmets
      are in."
           -Thomas L. Friedman, "A Manifesto for the Fast World"
           _The New York Times Magazine_, March 28, 1999

 It's Friday night in Washington and Clinton has taken to the Internet
 for a direct cyber-pitch to the citizens of Belgrade. He bites his
 lower lip in that poll-tested, focus-grouped facial gesture and looks
 into the eye of the cyberball, courtesy of real video-streaming. With
 mock sincerity, he says it's too bad about the bombs, laser missiles,
 stealths and electronic pulses in the Serbian night, but America's
 got a mission and NATO is on its side. Nothing personal. Just get rid
 of Milosevic or force him back to the bargaining table and things
 will be all right. Maybe Clinton has read an advance copy of
 Friedman's "A Manifesto for the Fast World" because that's exactly
 what he's preaching: a little Buchanan-style war fever nationalism
 mixed up with high tech cyberwar gaming strategies as the winning
 formula as America takes up its "new burden" of enforcer to the
 world.

 Meanwhile, the major networks have plugged into the energies of the
 war machine with all the desperation of parched-out desert walkers
 wandering around the electronic void without aim after the fatal
 implosion of the impeachment story-line. Manic media anxiety
 field-reverses immediately into a bogus war spirit.

 CNN comes on the air every minute to announce that "It's only two
 hours to bombing time." CBS trumps the all-news networks by actually
 taking a cyber-ride in a B-2 bomber simulator, telling us with
 unabated enthusiasm that it's all so realistic that "you can actually
 feel the simulated rocking of the B-2 when it has fired off its
 (simulated) payload of sixteen independently targeted missiles," just
 eugenically delivered from Whiteman Air Force Base safe in Missouri
 to a Belgrade suburb. Local weather stations, catching the drift,
 start patching in weather forecasts for Belgrade and Pristina and
 Sarajevo, with American weather patterns, giving opinions grave and
 military-sober whether it's "good bombing weather or not." AMC does a
 quick program change, rushing Patton to the air, complete with George
 C. Scott railing against the forces of fascism and communism, and
 speaking bitterly of the future of techno-war as a "war without
 heroes." And even MTV gets into the killing game, matching Patton
 with images of KISS singing of a future without heroes as a "world
 without the sun."

 And still Stealths take off from Aviano and cruise missiles burst
 from the deep waters of the Adriatic in the morning's clear air and
 General Clark does a rant from NATO headquarters about "degrading and
 destroying" and arrests by the Serbian security police intensify and
 killings, by knife, rope and sometimes by guns, accelerate in
 Kosovo.

 But the DOW is almost at 10,000 and sun-bathers in Boca Raton,
 Florida tell reporters that "oh well, I guess we should know
 something about this" and just once in every great while the media
 blah-blah quiets down, and you can almost hear those other silent
 intimations of a war machine running on cyber, whispering in the
 camera's eye, that this is all about beta testing: systematic program
 testing of virtual warriors in their virtual flying machines in
 "real" battlefield conditions, of futurist scenarios of "degrading
 and destroying" command, control and communication structures, of
 testing the newly upgraded computer systems of the B-2s on a night
 flight to the Balkans.

 And so, you sit there in a no-name coffee shop on a no-name day in a
 no-name street, trying to find some satisfactory moral meridian but
 finding only ambivalence instead. The cyber-war machine has
 system-installed itself for the day, but when the virtual testing is
 over, you just know it'll all be shut down immediately.  Not another
 word about "moral imperatives" or "degrading or destroying" and not
 even any more local weather reports from Belgrade and Pristina. And
 even KISS will go back to their one true moment of bewilderment at
 being a 4th order simulacra when in the same MTV docu-feature they
 look out at their audience and suddenly see families - Mommy and
 Daddy and babies most of all - dressed up in face paint and
 slithering tongues and beautiful drag, and sigh to themselves where
 did it all go wrong. Now, some members of KISS went numb for survival
 with drugs and alcohol and always lots of jaded, hard-assed sex, but
 those that didn't still are out on the road living the life of the
 new regime of signs without referents. And maybe the fate of KISS is
 an AWACS warning of the destiny of the cyber-war machine in the
 spectacle of Operation Allied Force - war as a cybernetic testing
 procedure always running on (moral) empty. A sign without a referent,
 a world with only virtual heroes. A double triumph of cyber-skies
 (without casualties) and ethnic slaughter (with flesh) as the
 ambivalent sign of Allied (moral) Weakness.

 Because the one real-time truth of the cyber-war machine is that it
 is allergic to casualties on the ground. Never flesh, never blood,
 never human, cyber-war is fast war. Always in motion, always
 approaching the speed of light, always war at a telematic distance,
 virtual war is one perspectival remove from experiencing the actual
 consequences of violence. The end of war, and the beginning of the
 arming of the vector. The end of (face-to-face) conflict, and the
 beginning of the virtualization of violence. At least, that's the
 illusion of Operation Allied Force.

 And why? Because Operation Allied Force is really about making the
 skies safe for NATO, and the ground a killing field for Milosevic.
 The more complex the diplomatic games of using NATO planes to nudge
 Milosevic back to the negotiating table, the greater the actual
 slaughter on the ground. The more sophisticated the cyber-apps of
 all those high tech, high velocity NATO planes, the more accelerated
 the genocide on the ground. Thus, in effect, Operation Allied
 Weakness with NATO trapped in a new field of (virtual) blackbirds. If
 NATO remains faithful to the air war, the more irrelevant it becomes
 to the actual fate of human beings in Kosovo. But if NATO were to
 take Milosevic's bait, responding to the genocide of ethnic Albanians
 in Kosovo with a ground war, what happened to those nineteen American
 marines in the streets of Mogadishu will be amped up Balkan style.
 Smelling the Serbian trap, one Texas senator stated on Sunday morning
 news that maybe the time has come for a ground war, but not with
 American troops.

 Allied Force is in the air. Allied Weakness is on the ground.

 Unfortunately for NATO, one intractable lesson from the diary of life
 is that in war as in politics the only thing that really matters in
 the end is what happens on the ground. The images and sounds of those
 Kosovo refugees, then, as simultaneously a human sign of NATO's
 failed (virtual) strategy, and an invitation to a return to a form of
 primitive (ground) war that NATO for all its technicity had thought
 itself liberated from forever.

 Meanwhile, folks are munching chips and sunning on the beaches,
 students are rioting in Michigan because of the loss of a basketball
 game to Duke, and the Orioles are playing baseball in Havana. AMC is
 recycling some old Western flics, Jon Waters is talking Divine on
 MTV, and still the killing and the knifing and the shooting and the
 burning and the refugeeing goes on in Kosovo.

 You can almost hear NATO planners wishing that Kosovo Albanians would
 mutate into stealth flesh and fly away from the scene, leaving NATO
 free to play its aerial games of B-2 tech.

 Fast War/Slow Motion.

 _____________________________________________________________________

 * CTHEORY is an international journal of theory, technology
 *   and culture. Articles, interviews, and key book reviews
 *   in contemporary discourse are published weekly as well as
 *   theorisations of major "event-scenes" in the mediascape.
 *
 * Editors: Arthur and Marilouise Kroker




%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%

Top of Message | Previous Page | Permalink

JISCMail Tools


RSS Feeds and Sharing


Advanced Options


Archives

April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004
September 2004
August 2004
June 2004
May 2004
April 2004
March 2004
February 2004
January 2004
December 2003
November 2003
October 2003
September 2003
August 2003
July 2003
June 2003
May 2003
April 2003
March 2003
February 2003
January 2003
December 2002
November 2002
October 2002
September 2002
August 2002
July 2002
June 2002
May 2002
April 2002
March 2002
February 2002
January 2002
December 2001
November 2001
October 2001
September 2001
August 2001
July 2001
June 2001
May 2001
April 2001
March 2001
February 2001
January 2001
December 2000
November 2000
October 2000
September 2000
August 2000
July 2000
June 2000
May 2000
April 2000
March 2000
February 2000
January 2000
December 1999
November 1999
October 1999
September 1999
August 1999
July 1999
June 1999
May 1999
April 1999
March 1999
February 1999
January 1999
December 1998
November 1998
October 1998
September 1998
August 1998
July 1998
June 1998
May 1998
April 1998
March 1998
February 1998
January 1998
December 1997
November 1997
October 1997
September 1997
August 1997
July 1997
June 1997
May 1997
April 1997
March 1997
February 1997
January 1997
December 1996
November 1996
October 1996
September 1996
August 1996
July 1996
June 1996
May 1996
April 1996
March 1996


WWW.JISCMAIL.AC.UK

Secured by F-Secure Anti-Virus CataList Email List Search Powered by the LISTSERV Email List Manager