Inhumanned

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Better late than never…  I talked about Robert Greenwald‘s Unmanned before – the video documentary he produced to accompany the Stanford/NYU report Living under Drones – and I’ve now discovered you can still watch all 61 minutes here.

Beginning at 39:08 there is a harrowing account of the murder of Mamana Bibi in Waziristan on 24 October 2012.  There is a detailed investigation in Amnesty’s Will I be next? and its forensic detail is compelling, but watching and listening to the surviving members of her family adds a new dimension to the horror.

So too, though in a radically different way, does reading C. Christine Fair‘s partisan dismissal of both the Amnesty report and the testimony of the Rehman family here.  It was published under the title ‘Ethical and methodological issues in assessing drones’ civilian impacts in Pakistan’ – without a trace of irony – but for once the comments below the line give me hope…

FOOTNOTE:  I’ve been asked to elaborate that last paragraph.  Fair suggests – on the flimsiest of bases – that the strike was carried out by the Pakistan Air Force, and clumsily attempts to discredit both Reprieve and Amnesty’s research.  I’ve written before about the PAF’s repeated assaults on the FATA – here and here for example – but here is part of a report from the Guardian on the murder of Mamana Bibi that describes how Amnesty’s local researcher Mustafa Qadri went about his work:

Qadri reached out to trusted sources in North Waziristan. The family members and their neighbors were interviewed independently on multiple occasions, unaware that a human-rights group was behind the questions they were asked. Over the course of many weeks, Qadri found the family’s account to be consistent. He determined it was highly unlikely that any militants were present at the time of the strike and that the missiles were likely fired by a US drone.

“It was a number of things,” Qadri told the Guardian. “We got the missiles, the large fragments that the family has that we got analyzed by [an] expert who says this is very likely to be a Hellfire missile. We also had family members who saw drones physically. We also have the eyewitness of the family who said they heard the noise of missiles fired from the sky and then separate noises of missiles impacting on the ground. We have the evidence of a double sound, with each single strike.”

I doubt that he needs any lessons on ethics or methodology.

Bodies on the line

The more I think about corpography (see also ‘Corpographies under the DOWNLOADS tab) – especially as part of my project on casualty evacuation from war zones – the more I wonder about Grégoire Chamayou‘s otherwise artful claim that with the advent of armed drones the ‘body becomes the battlefield’.  He means something very particular by this, of course, as I’ve explained before (see also here).

But let me describe the journey I’ve been taking in the last week or so that has prompted this post. Later this month I’m speaking on ‘Wounds of war, 1914-2014‘, where I plan to sketch a series of comparisons between casualty evacuation on the Western Front (1914-18) and casualty evacuation from Afghanistan.  I’ve already put in a lot of work on the first of these, which will appear on these pages in the weeks and months ahead, but it was time to find out more about the second.

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En route I belatedly discovered the truly brilliant work of David Cotterrell who is, among many other things, an installation artist and Professor of Fine Art at Sheffield Hallam University.  He became interested in documenting the British military casualty evacuation chain from Afghanistan, and in 2007 secured access to the Joint Medical Forces’ operations at Camp Bastion in Helmand.  He underwent basic training, a course in even more basic battlefield first-aid, and then found himself on an RAF transport plane to Bastion.  The Role 3 Hospital was, as he notes, a staging-ground. ‘Field hospitals are islands between contrasting environments,’ he wrote in his diary, ‘between the danger and dirt of the Forward Operating Bases and the order and convention of civilian healthcare.’  You can read a long, illustrated extract from the diary (3 – 26 November 2007) here, follow the photo-essay as a slideshow here, and explore David’s many other projects on his own website here.

THEY-WERE-SOLDIERS_by-Ann-Jones_72The diary is immensely interesting and informative in its own right, not least about the exceptional personal and professional difficulties involved in documenting the evacuation process.  Here there’s a helpful comparison to be made with journalist Ann Jones‘s no less brilliant They were soldiers: how the wounded return from America’s wars (more on this in a later post), which starts at the US military’s own Level III Trauma Center, the Craig Joint Theater Hospital at Bagram, and moves via Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, the largest US hospital outside the United States, to the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington DC.

David’s visual record is even more compelling, as you would expect from a visual artist, not only in its documentary dimension but also in the installations that have been derived from it.  In Serial Loop, for example, we are confronted with a looped film showing the endless arrival of casualties at Bastion: ‘The sound of a continuously arriving and departing Chinook helicopter accompanies images of a bleak and wasted landscape; the banality of the film’s fixed perspective masks the dramas that unfold within the ambulances as they travel to triage.’

9-liner explores what David calls ‘the abstraction of experience within conflict’:

9-Liner explores the dislocation between the parallel experiences of casualties within theatre. It is a quiet study of a dramatic event: the attempt to bring an injured soldier to the tented entrance of the desert field hospital. The screens show apparently unrelated information. JCHAT – a silent scrolling codified message – runs on a central screen. Our interpretation of it is enabled through its relationship between one of two radically different but equally accurate views of the same event. To the left we see the Watchkeeper – a soldier manning phones and reading computer screens in a crowded office. On the right we view the MERT flight – the journey of the Medical Emergency Response Team in a Chinook helicopter.

SHU’s REF submission includes this summary of David’s work (one of the very few useful things to come out of that otherwise absurdist exercise):

The research made clear that soldiers recovering from life-changing injuries had limited means of reconstructing the narrative of their transformative experiences. From the time of wounding through to secondary operations in the UK, many soldiers remained sedated or unconscious for a period of up to five days. The radical physical transformation that had occurred during this period was not adequately reconciled through medical notes, and the embargo on photographic documentation of incident and subsequent medical procedures served further to obscure this period of lost memory.

A culture of secrecy meant that medical professionals were unable to access documentation of the expanded care pathway with which they, and their colleagues, were engaged. This fragmentation of experience and understanding within the process of evacuation, treatment and rehabilitation meant that the assessment of the contradictions and disorientation experienced by casualties and medical practitioners was denied to front-line staff.

Family members, colleagues and members of the public outside the immediate environment of the military were unable to visualise or understand the transformative effects of conflict on directly affected civilians and soldiers. Partly as a result, the scope for public debate to engage meaningfully with the longer term societal cost of contemporary conflict was limited.

The submission goes on to list an impressive series of debriefings, presentations to military and medical professionals, major exhibitions, and follow-through research in Birmingham.

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And it’s one of those follow-throughs that prompted me to think some more about corpographies.  I’d noted the connection between corpography and choreography in my original post, but David’s extraordinary collaboration with choreographer Rosie Kay and her dance company gives that a much sharper edge.  Again, there’s a comparison to be drawn – this time with Owen Sheers‘s impressively researched and executed body of work, not only the astonishing Pink Mist but also The Two Worlds of Charlie F (2012)which was a stage play based on the experiences of wounded soldiers who also made up the majority of the cast (see my discussion of these two projects here).

5 Soldiers started life as a stage presentation in 2010 (watch some extracts here):

A dance theatre work with 5 dancers, it looks at how the human body is essential to, and used in, warfare. 5 SOLDIERS explores the physical training that prepares you for war, as well as the possible effects on the body, and the injury caused by warfare.

Featuring Kay’s trademark intense physicality and athleticism, 5 SOLDIERS weaves a journey of physical transformation, helping us understand how soldiers are made and how war affects them.

5 SOLDIERS is a unique collaboration between award-winning choreographer Rosie Kay, visual artist David Cotterrell and theatre director Walter Meierjohann. It follows an intense period of research, where Rosie learnt battle training with The 4th Battalion The Rifles and David spent time in Helmand Province with the Joint Forces Medical Group.

Rosie explained her commitment to the project (and her training with The Rifles) like this:

“I wanted to look at how the physicality of a soldier’s job defines them –like a dancer, the soldier is drilled, trained, their responses becoming automatic, but can anything prepare you for the realities of war? It is young soldiers and their bodies that are the ultimate weapon in war – their strength and weaknesses may win or lose a battle, their ability to harm or injure others is key to victory. While war is surrounded with weaponry, uniforms, history and ceremony, the real business is human, dirty, messy, painful and happening right now.”

(She is, not coincidentally, an affiliate of the School of Anthropology at Oxford).

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And now there’s a film version that works as a multi-screen installation (screen shot above).

Instead of just creating a short film, the team wanted the web user to get a truly interactive way to watch dance, and actually feel that they can go inside the minds and the body of the work. The 80-minute work was cut to just 10 minutes long, and the company spent one week filming in a huge aircraft hangar at Coventry Airport…

Using a variety of cutting edge filming techniques, the collaborative team have created a 13 angle edit that takes you into the heart of the work, follows each of the dancers, and zooms out so that the performers appear to be like ants in a huge empty landscape.

You can see the interactive, multi-perspectival version here.  This relied on helmetcams, and there’s a fine, more general commentary on this in Kevin McSorley‘s ‘Helmetcams, militarized sensation and “somatic war”‘ here.  But here’s the short, ‘director’s cut’ version:

And look at the tag-line: ‘The body is the frontline’.  It’s not only drones that make it so.

Crossing the line

435px-Atlas_frontview_2013News from Lucy Suchman of an important essay she’s just completed with Jutta Weber on Human-Machine Autonomies, available from Academia.edu here.

This is how they begin:

This paper takes up the question of how we might think about the increasing automation of military systems not as an inevitable ‘advancement’ of which we are the interested observers, but as an effect of particular world-making practices in which we need urgently to intervene. We begin from the premise that the foundation of the legality of killing in situations of war is the possibility of discrimination between combatants and non-combatants. At a time when this defining form of situational awareness seems increasingly problematic, military investments in the automation of weapon systems are growing. The trajectory of these investments, moreover, is towards the development and deployment of lethal autonomous weapons; that is, weapon systems in which the identification of targets and initiation of fire is automated in ways that preclude deliberative human intervention. Challenges to these developments underscore the immorality and illegality of delegating responsibility for the use of force against human targets to machines, and the requirements of International Humanitarian Law that there be (human) accountability for acts of killing. In these debates, the articulation of differences between humans and machines is key.

Our aim in this paper is to strengthen arguments against the increasing automation of weapon systems, by expanding the frame or unit of analysis that informs these debates. We begin by tracing the genealogy of concepts of autonomy within the philosophical traditions that inform Artificial Intelligence (AI), with a focus on the history of early cybernetics and contemporary approaches to machine learning in behaviour-based robotics. We argue that while cybernetics and behaviour-based robotics challenge the premises of individual agency, cognition, communication and action that comprise the Enlightenment tradition, they also reiterate aspects of that tradition in the design of putatively intelligent, autonomous machines. This argument is made more concrete through a close reading of the United States Department of Defense Unmanned Systems Integrated Roadmap: FY2013-2038, particularly with respect to plans for future autonomous weapon systems. With that reading in mind, we turn to resources for refiguring agency and autonomy provided by recent scholarship in science and technology studies (STS) informed by feminist theory. This work suggests a shift in conceptions of agency and autonomy, from attributes inherent in entities, to effects of discourses and material practices that variously conjoin and/or delineate differences between humans and machines. This shift leads in turn to a reconceptualization of autonomy and responsibility as always enacted within, rather than as separable from, particular human- machine configurations. We close by considering the implications of these reconceptualizations for questions of responsibility in relation to automated/autonomous weapon systems. Taking as a model feminist projects of deconstructing categorical distinctions while also recognising those distinctions’ cultural-historical effects, we argue for simultaneous attention to the inseparability of human-machine agencies in contemporary war fighting, and to the necessity of delineating human agency and responsibility within political, legal and ethical/moral regimes of accountability.

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It’s a must-read, I think, especially in the light of a report from the New York Times of the Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (above) developed for the US military by Lockheed Martin:

On a bright fall day last year off the coast of Southern California, an Air Force B-1 bomber launched an experimental missile that may herald the future of warfare.

Initially, pilots aboard the plane directed the missile, but halfway to its destination, it severed communication with its operators. Alone, without human oversight, the missile decided which of three ships to attack, dropping to just above the sea surface and striking a 260-foot unmanned freighter…

The Pentagon argues that the new antiship missile is only semiautonomous and that humans are sufficiently represented in its targeting and killing decisions. But officials at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, which initially developed the missile, and Lockheed declined to comment on how the weapon decides on targets, saying the information is classified.

“It will be operating autonomously when it searches for the enemy fleet,” said Mark A. Gubrud, a physicist and a member of the International Committee for Robot Arms Control, and an early critic of so-called smart weapons. “This is pretty sophisticated stuff that I would call artificial intelligence outside human control.”

Paul Scharre, a weapons specialist now at the Center for a New American Security who led the working group that wrote the Pentagon directive, said, “It’s valid to ask if this crosses the line.”

And the Israeli military and armaments industry, for whom crossing any line is second nature, are developing what they call a ‘suicide drone’ (really).  At Israel Unmanned Systems 2014, a trade fair held in Tel Aviv just three weeks after Israel’s latest assault on Gaza, Dan Cohen reported:

Lieutenant Colonel Itzhar Jona, who heads Israel Aerospace Industries, spoke about “loitering munitions” — what he called a “politically correct” name for Suicide Drones. They are a hybrid of drone and missile technology that have “autonomous and partially autonomous” elements, and are “launched like a missile, fly like an UAV [unmanned aerial vehicle],” and once they identify a target, revert to “attack like a missile.” Jona called the Suicide Drone a “UAV that thinks and decides for itself,” then added, “If you [the operator] aren’t totally clear on the logic, it can even surprise you.”

Jona praised the advantage of the Suicide Drone because the operator “doesn’t have to bring it home or deal with all sorts of dilemmas.” The Suicide Drone will quickly find a target using its internal logic, which Jona explained in this way: “It carries a warhead that eventually needs to explode. There needs to be a target at the end that will want to explode. Or it won’t want to and we will help it explode.”

So thoughtful to protect ‘the operator’ from any stress (even if s/he might be a little ‘surprised’).  Here is Mondoweiss‘s subtitled clip from the meeting, which opens with a short discussion of the major role played by UAVs in the air and ground attacks on Gaza, and then Jona describes how ‘we always live on the border’:

Novel wars

Since I added ‘The Natures of War’ to the DOWNLOADS section several people have asked me about my use of novels, especially in relation to Vietnam, while others have asked me to recommend writings – both novels and memoirs – that treat contemporary conflicts, especially Afghanistan.

Writing letters to home

The first part is easy.  To say things too quickly, I think the usual distinction between ‘fiction’ and ‘non-fiction’ is much more problematic than it seems (don’t we all know this? and in any case where exactly do you place a ‘memoir’ in such a strangely bifurcated landscape?).  I also believe that there are some insights – truths, if you prefer – that are best conveyed in ostensibly fictional form.  For that reason I suspect it’s significant that it’s my appeal to (for example) Karl Marlantes‘s magnificent Matterhorn in the Vietnam section that seems to trouble some readers much more than my use of poetry in the section on the Western Desert in the Second World War.  Yet both emerged through their authors’ reflections on their experiences of modern war in those places.  That doesn’t mean that one can ignore literary conventions or linguistic devices – no text is a transparent reflection of the world, after all – but this surely also holds for nominally factual accounts too (and that goes for military blogs, which have created their own conventions).  In other ‘fictional’ cases I can think of – like Tom McCarthy‘s C, which I drew upon in ‘Gabriel’s Map’ to characterise the battlefields of the Western Front  – the narrative is clearly embedded in intensive and immensely thoughtful research.  In fact, I’d push this further: hence my interest in documentary drama as part of – not simply a product of – the research process.

The second question is more difficult, but there are some recent guides which might help.  A good place to start is George Packer‘s ‘Home Fires: how soldiers write their wars‘ which appeared in the New Yorker last spring.  Packer tries to pin down what is distinctive about writing that seeks to capture the wars fought in the shadows of 9/11:

‘The first wave of literature by American combatants in these long, inconclusive wars has begun to appear—poems, memoirs, short stories, novels. Their concerns are the same as in all war writing: bravery and fear, the thin line between survival and brutality, the maddening unknowability of the enemy, tenderness, brotherhood, alienation from a former self, the ghosts of the past, the misfit of home.

But Iraq was also different from other American wars… Without a draft, without the slightest sacrifice asked of a disengaged public, Iraq put more mental distance between soldiers and civilians than any war of its duration that I can think of. The war in Iraq, like the one in Vietnam, wasn’t popular; but the troops, at least nominally, were—wildly so. (Just watch the crowd at a sports event if someone in uniform is asked to stand and be acknowledged.) Both sides of the relationship, if they were being honest, felt its essential falseness.’

Given this disconnect, he concludes, ‘it’s not surprising that the new war literature is intensely interested in the return home.’  But when it deals with the soldiers’ experience of war, he continues,

‘It deals in particulars, which is where the heightened alertness of combatants has to remain, and it’s more likely to notice things. To most foreign observers, the landscape of Iraq is relentlessly empty and ugly, like a physical extension of the country’s trauma. But in the poetry and the prose of soldiers and marines the desert comes to life with birdsong and other noises, the moonlit sand breeds dreams and hallucinations.’

It’s that struggle to turn the experience of land into its evocation that interests me.  But Packer makes surprisingly little of it, and his gaze is focused almost unwaveringly on Iraq rather than Afghanistan (not surprising, given his own war reporting).

Writing in the New York TimesMichiko Kakutani identifies a series of writings on the human costs of what Dexter Filkins called ‘the forever war’:

‘War cracks people’s lives apart, unmasks the most extreme emotions, fuels the deepest existential questions. Even as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan morph into shapeless struggles with no clear ends in sight, they have given birth to an extraordinary outpouring of writing that tries to make sense of it all: journalism that has unraveled the back story of how and why America went to war, and also a profusion of stories, novels, memoirs and poems that testify to the day-to-day realities and to the wars’ ever-unspooling human costs.

‘All war literature, across the centuries, bears witness to certain eternal truths: the death and chaos encountered, minute by minute; the bonds of love and loyalty among soldiers; the bad dreams and worse anxieties that afflict many of those lucky enough to return home. And today’s emerging literature … both reverberates with those timeless experiences and is imprinted with the particularities of the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq: changes in technology, the increased presence of female soldiers and, most importantly, the all-volunteer military, which has opened a chasm between soldiers (“the other 1 percent”) and civilians.’

Here too there is an attempt to see how today’s writing differs from the established canon of war literature.  En route, Kakutani makes some good suggestions for reading, but she says very little about the differences – those dense ‘particulars’ again – between Iraq and Afghanistan.

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She leaves that to Brian Castner‘s outstanding essay for the LA Review of Books, ‘Afghanistan: a stage without a play.’

Castner did two tours in Iraq, and his own account of that experience (and, just as important, what followed) in The Long Walk is a tour de force in every sense of the phrase.  But he is also remarkably perceptive in his readings of Afghanistan (‘the Undescribed War’, he calls it) and – of particular interest to me, given my interest in ‘the natures of war’ or what my good friend Gastón Gordillo would prefer me to call ‘terrain‘ – its land and landscapes.  Castner also draws several illuminating comparisons with Vietnam (not least through a double parallel with the US’s ‘Indian Wars’ of the nineteenth century).

Kevin Maurer covered both wars, and always found

“Afghanistan far more riveting than Iraq because it’s a whole different world. Baghdad is a Middle Eastern city, but it is a modern city. In Afghanistan that barely exists. I’ve always been able to turn my brain into Afghanistan mode and out, while Iraq blurs.”

The influence of the terrain, especially its beauty, is clear: while a few descriptions of colorful Iraqi skies creep into the literature, it was mostly an ugly urban war fought along the New York State Thruway, rest stop to rest stop. “Afghanistan always had that Vietnam vibe to it,” Maurer said, “because you can go get lost in Afghanistan, you can be on some hill on some outpost. In Iraq you were never that far out.”

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And for that very reason the terrain was always more than beautiful.  You can see that in a film like Restrepo – and even more clearly in Koregal (above) – but according to Castner you can also see it in John Renehan’s forthcoming novel, The Valley.  And here too Vietnam continues to haunt the imaginative landscape:

RENEHAN The ValleyThe landscape acts as an omnipresent consciousness, an apparition always in the corner of [Lieutenant] Black’s eye, and Renehan attaches to it layers of reverence and dread and unknowable quasi-mysticism; the valley is capable of anything. This infection spreads slowly for the reader, and Renehan says his writing process followed a similar path. “I more or less thought I was setting out to write a mystery story that happened to be set in a war. But as I started writing it I realized it was growing into something different in my mind, and it changed on paper too.” A detective story becomes a heroin- and concussion-fueled dreamscape that crosses genres. “Going After Cacciato gave me comfort in writing the parts of The Valley that become almost surreal,” Renehan said. “It reassured me that this sort of thing is okay, because it’s a war novel, right?”

What I need to think more about – the process I started in ‘Gabriel’s Map’ and continued in ‘The Natures of War’ – is how, despite Castner’s title, the stage is always part of the play.  And novels and poems will continue to help me do so.

POSTSCRIPT  Just after I finished drafting this post, I stumbled across ‘s Peter Molin‘s excellent blog: Time Now: the Iraq and Afghan wars in art, film and literature which also discusses the three reviews I list here.  Peter is a US Army officer who served in Afghanistan in 2008-9, and his posts are rich in ideas, insights and resources: well worth bookmarking.

Kill Chain

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Yet more on targeted killing/assassination: new from Verso and Henry Holt in March, Andrew Cockburn‘s Kill Chain: the rise of the high-tech assassins.

Kill Chain uncovers the real and extraordinary story of drone warfare, its origins in long-buried secret programs, the breakthroughs that made drone operations possible, the ways in which the technology works, and, despite official claims, does not work. Through the well-guarded world of national security, the book reveals the powerful interests—military, CIA, and corporate—that have led the drive to kill individuals by remote control. Most importantly of all, the book describes what has really happened when the theories underpinning the strategy—and the multi billion-dollar contracts they spawn—have been put to the test.

Andrew is the author of the brilliant Rumsfeld: an American disaster, and he’s also been writing around the issue of military and paramilitary violence for some time.  There’s an early review of Kill Chain from Kirkus here, and Andrew discusses writing the book in a short audio clip here.

If you can’t wait until March, there’s a taster in ‘Drones, baby, drones‘, which appeared in the London Review of Books (8 March 2012); if you aren’t a subscriber you can obtain 24-hour access free of charge.

Time and again, the military has claimed that advances in technology have finally made warfare predictable and precise. That was the promise of Igloo White in Vietnam [see my ‘Lines of descent’: DOWNLOADS tab], the video-game spectacle of the Gulf War, the war for Kosovo and the counter-guerrilla wars of the past ten years. Time and again, the military’s claims have been disproved. Will drones change everything? Robert Gates, secretary of defence from 2006 to 2011, expressed the official view in his address to the CIA Officers Memorial Foundation annual dinner last March. Confessing that he hadn’t initially done enough to quash resistance to innovation from ‘flyboys in silk scarves’, Gates said: ‘From now on, it’s drones, baby, drones.’

In the audio clip Andrew insists that the full-motion video feeds from Predators and Reapers are far less clear than most commentators make out, and in subsequent contributions Andrew has perceptively linked the fantasies of the God-trick with militarized vision more generally: see, for example, his ‘Tunnel vision‘ (about the comparative merits of the A10 and the B1 bomber) which appeared in Harper’s in February 2014 and ‘Flying Blind‘, which appeared on Harper’s blog in September.

I’m not convinced that the A-10 is able to ‘observe the battleground with such precision, and safely to target enemy forces a stone’s throw away from friendly troops’ as Andrew maintains, but his more general point is a sharp one.  Too often we forget that other aircraft rely on optical sensors and video screens too, not only Predators and Reapers, and that these political technologies differ from platform to platform, as the following slides from ‘Angry eyes’ indicate (where the captain of an AC-130 gunship in fact defers to the crew of a Predator):

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And, as Andrew also makes clear, these technologies produce their own interpellations:

Video will often supply a false clarity to preconceived notions. One A-10 pilot described to me an afternoon he spent circling high over southern A ghanistan in May 2010, watching four people—tiny figures on his cockpit screen—clustering at the side of a road before they retreated across a field to- ward a house. Everything about their movements suggested a Taliban I.E.D.- laying team. Then the door to the house opened and a mother emerged to hustle her children in to supper.

“On the screen,” he explained, “the only way to tell a child from an adult is when they are standing next to each other. Otherwise everyone looks the same.”

“We call the screens face magnets,” remarked another veteran, Lieutenant Colonel Billy Smith, a former A-10 squadron commander who flew tours over Bosnia, Iraq, and Afghanistan. “They tend to suck your face into the cockpit, so you don’t pay attention to what’s going on outside.”

All of this intersects with my continuing work on militarized vision, and in the next several weeks I’ll be uploading a series of new essays that deal with drone strikes in Pakistan [based on my ‘Dirty dancing‘ presentations], the Sangin Valley in Afghanistan (a ‘friendly fire’ incident), and an air strike in Uruzgan in Afghanistan that was orchestrated by a drone [based on my ‘Angry Eyes’ presentations]. So watch this space…

Incidentally, ‘kill chain’ is both the extended, networked apparatus that leads from air targeting to execution – for all platforms, remote and conventional – and the injunction that is typed into US military chat rooms (mIRC) to close down ‘chatter’ that might distract pilots once they are cleared to engage (see my discussion here).