Monday, June 20, 2011

remote control killing - america's newest sport?


Video - RT goes in on the growing culture of the steel sky.

SJL | Defense contractor giants like Boeing, Lockeed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and others, as well as smaller rivals compete for growing demand for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). They include remote control operated killer drones, also called unmanned combat aerial vehicles (UCAVs).

It's America's newest sport. From distant command centers, far from target sights, sounds, and smells, operators dismissively ignore human carnage showing up as computer screen blips little different from video game images. The difference, of course, is people die, mostly noncombatants. More on that below.

On March 10, 2010, Der Spiegel writer Marc Pitzke headlined, "How Drone Pilots Wage War," saying:

They "sit in air-conditioned rooms far away from (America's wars). They guide their weapons with joysticks and monitors. The remote warriors work with a high degree of precision - at a fraction of the cost of a fighter jet," but just as deadly.

Operators use computer keyboards and five monitors. One says "I've got eight missiles and two bombs on two Predators. Weapons ready."

The main monitor shows a target's aerial view "from a considerable height....Three, two, one. Impact," after pushing a red button. "Excellent job," the man says after a destructive explosion. The entire mission lasted two minutes "against a faceless enemy" attacked by remote control half a world away.

"The whole thing looks like a computer game," virtual war "that doesn't require combatants to get their hands dirty" or perhaps souls compromised for mindlessly slaughtering civilians lawlessly - what America's media never explain or why Washington wages war.

Each drone system includes four aircraft, a ground station, a satellite link, and launch site maintenance crew, keeping UAVs ready to use round-the-clock on a moment's notice. Like America's wars, moreover, drone technology is a growth business, Insitu's Steven Sliwa saying the industry is well positioned like the aeronautical one during WW II - up-up-and-away for big profits.

5 comments:

nanakwame said...

Cognitive dissonances at its best

arnach said...

...doesn't require combatants to get their hands dirty" Two questions:
 
1.  How many Commanders in Chief have gotten their hands dirty on the field of war?
2.  In which armed conflict(s) have there been zero noncombatants harmed?
 
There is a reason why the answer to both questions is "None," and it is called War.  While this posting may bring up one valid reason why the march to war should always be "only as a last resort," the fact that the killing machines are remotely operated is irrelevant.

This same "moral indignity" arose when the first guns appeared on the battlefield.  "This is outrageous.  A true warrior looks his enemy in the eye as he runs him through with the sword. Only a scoundrel would kill a gentleman warrior in such an uncouth and distant manner as these new-fangled machines allow."  There wouldn't even be a United States of America had not the rebels "cheated" by firing on the redcoats from behind walls and trees, rather than lining up in ranks like "real warriors were supposed to" at the time, so give me a break with your morally indignant blustering about "remote control killing."

In any war there will always be discussions about targeting.  However, in my opinion, the only reason to do this after the fact is to improve the training of our troops and their command structures for "next time."  Training which any sane person would hope be done in vain.  In battle, there are few situations that allow the luxury of time for calm and clear thought.  That's why training is so important.  It is almost always wrong to second guess the battle decision of anyone at or near the point of the spear; you don't know the entire situation (particularly its uncertainty), and you weren't there.

As far as the "video game aspect," is concerned, read up on those who set out to enjoy the entertainment aspect of war the morning of the (later renamed First) Battle of Bull Run (Manassas, for those of you of a more southerly orientation).  Quick one-day lesson for them...

War in neither moral nor clean.  Only necessary at times.  Perhaps not every time it's used, but that is an entirely different discussion.

Tom said...

Arnach 
Good points but the question of whether war is used or not, really isn't an entirely different discussion from the prospect of superpower human casualties.  The 'Vietnam Syndrome' and the 'Powell Doctrine' are big issues here.

CNu said...

This same "moral indignity" arose when the first guns appeared on the
battlefield.  "This is outrageous.  A true warrior looks his enemy in
the eye as he runs him through with the sword. Only a scoundrel would
kill a gentleman warrior in such an uncouth and distant manner as these
new-fangled machines allow."  There wouldn't even be a United States of
America had not the rebels "cheated" by firing on the redcoats from
behind walls and trees, rather than lining up in ranks like "real
warriors were supposed to" at the time, so give me a break with your
morally indignant blustering about "remote control killing."


This question was raised earlier this month; http://subrealism.blogspot.com/2011/06/giving-up-gun-japans-reversion-to-sword.html

1.  How many Commanders in Chief have gotten their hands dirty on the
field of war?
2.  In which armed conflict(s) have there been zero
noncombatants harmed?


Utterly irrelevant question begging and rhetorical diversion.

None of the present involvements constitute anything even remotely approaching justified or rational war.  So, discretionary predatory militarism carried out by remote controlled killing robots IS a whole other order of unspeakable ugliness, which ugliness and immorality is coming home to roost in more ways than you could possibly shake a stick at right about now.

Or don't you understand what all is entailed by the expression "unspeakable"? http://www.amazon.com/JFK-Unspeakable-Why-Died-Matters/dp/1570757550

Uglyblackjohn said...

Many of today's children used to killing enemies in video games will probably have no problem killing hundreds or thousands of real people if done remotely.
It will just be another game to them where the distant dead are just as unreal as the characters in video games.
A PS3 controller has sixteen buttons with each doing something different. (Kids would probably be more effective at killing with an X-Box 360 or a PS3 cotroller than would a bunch of guys using computer keyboards.)
No syndromes or disorders after a fun season at 'play' - just tired fingers and thumbs..