I am attaching links to 2 completely different ways of listening to the American domestic discussion on the use of UAVs (drones) in precision strikes (targeted killings). This is because they are a contrast which expresses the embattled conscience within the American psyche that is not highlighted in progressive commentary both within the States and from international critics. Also, as far as those of us opposed to the use of drones are concerned, there is a vaccum of thought and thinking on effective ways ([perhaps creative, perhaps not) to defeat deeply imbued problems of evil, or debasement within the human character, which we are witnessing in the form of a rise in ideological/religious extremism across all cultures. Artists look for something else, usually we are not aware of what we are trying to see/hear, but we know it when we see it.
So in the absence of such a stream of knowledge, I have placed these two links on drones (a comedic satire and a security analyst working within the defence establishment) beside each other. The jarring effect it has on me is something I want to share. At a more abstract level of thinking, it ocurred to me that these were also unlikely ways to penetrate the seemingly rational or supposedly unemotional counter-insurgency (or COIN) narratives that underpin all analysis of drone warfare and military policies from within the military and political establishment. Doing this creates a counter-weight to the sometimes shattered emotional perspectives of those opposed or suffering the effects of these decisions. It also highlights growing divisions between military and civillian society which is becoming a battlefield of its own; and also the complex information wars which are waged in our socially networked world.
Previous posts in my diary have already expressed my views on drones, as have my paintings, and though I am working on new themes, this subject haunts me. Please read both the excellent analysis by Adam Elkus and then watch the Onion's satire using a faux expert panel discussion about drones. Mixing laughter, history and technical knowledge may appear both in bad taste and a distraction from the real tragedy of our choices; but it also highlights the emotional collatoral damage that drone warfare is having on our collective consciousness. And for this reason, you see me continuing to use surrealism in my work to express these clashing realities.
Small Wars Journal Article | January 30, 2012 - 8:14pm
Editor's Note: Adam Elkus' offering is an important look at the role of drones and the moral debate that surrounds them. He highlights concerns that drone warfare, or war by pushbutton, is a cowardly and indirect way to fight, but notes a long history of similar charges reaching back at least to the crossbow. Westerners are fond of calling insurgents cowardly for using improvised explosive devices against our troops, but is this truly any more cowardly than dropping precision guided munitions with impunity and deadly precision from a manned fighter thousands of feet above the battlefield? And is that any more or less cowardly than using a drone to do the same? While Elkus explores a slightly different question set, the implications are illuminating.
OK, if you found that amusing, then please take a moment to learn more from a genuine analysis of Obama's drone wars here: