The original piece is worth a read.
Bullet-point summary (content exclusively by Jonathan Naughton, the Guardian):
- Once upon a time, aerial warfare consisted of guys climbing into aircraft and flying bombing missions over enemy territory. Now many, if not most, of the lethal missions mounted by the USAF are carried out by unmanned drones flying high over Afghanistan and Pakistan and piloted by uniformed guys sitting in computerised consoles in New Mexico.
- More interestingly, it turns out that the stress levels for these pilots are unexpectedly high. A Pentagon study has found, for example, that 29% of them suffer from “burnout”. A co-author of the study says that the air force tries to recruit people who are emotionally well-adjusted, “family people” with “good values”. But “when they have to kill someone, or where they are involved in missions and then they either kill them or watch them killed, it does cause them to rethink aspects of their life”.
- So maybe Heidegger was wrong [when he argues ‘that technology is, in essence, a way of organising the world so that one doesn’t have to experience it’].
- But there is one new form of warfare where Heidegger’s insight might turn out to be more relevant. It’s called cyberwarfare. The ability to destroy a country’s infrastructure – to bring down its electricity grid or disrupt water supplies by hacking into the computers that run these systems – offers a nation the prospect of waging war without incurring either physical or psychological risks for the aggressor’s citizens: casualty-free war, if you like…
- As many in the comments section have pointed out, Naughton admits he didn’t really ‘get’ this hardcore philosophic work (nor has he the training to analyse), so continuing, prior to a re-read or clarification report, WAS A MASSIVE ERROR.
- The subhead and end commentary suggests that drones produce ‘casualty-free’ wars. You don’t need to be a Mr. Chomsky or Mr. Foucault to realise that NO WAR IS CASUALTY-FREE. Even if one side is casualty free - HISTORY MATTERS. If infrastructure, stability, resources, systems, etc. are (remotely) destroyed, there will be fallout and likely redistributive violence (general reference: Charlie Wilson’s War, ie: Cold War and post-Cold War US ‘intervention’ in Afghanistan).
- The Western-centric idea of reducing casualty and psychological effects of war is just, well, lies. There is no war that will be free of adverse effects. The idea of reducing the adverse effects for the West completely negates the existence, the humanity, of the Rest (see Judith Bulter or Hannah Arendt on the concept of ‘the other’)
- HOW IS DISRUPTING THE ELECTRICITY GRID/WATER GRID CASUALTY-FREE?!
Guardian writers… stop having a laugh on Sundays. Academics are bored and don’t want to work.
well, when I am finished with
[the Guardian], you won’t be able to get a
contract for a prepaid mobile phone!
I will tear you down, brick by
'Torvald Utne', UN representative, Archer (2009).