Drones dog-fighting off the coast of Africa? That’s what the Pentagon envisions and that how I begin my latest article about a weapons system that’s failing to perform as promised, but is becoming ever more disastrously embedded in our world: “A Drone-Eat-Drone World.”
*This piece is also the concluding chapter of the new book that I have just published: Terminator Planet: The First History of Drone Warfare, 2001-2050. More on that soon!
Declaring War While Clutching Toy Guns.
On the NYT, a look at a genre-buster: a video of underground fighters, who call themselves snipers and special forces, copping poses with toy weapons.
A cautionary reminder about taking at face value the statements of combatants, no matter what side you put yourself on in any given fight.
With thanks to Jonathan Ferguson of the Royal Armouries in Leeds, a longtime friend of this blog, who unmasked the hoax.
The war in Syria is by the available and credible accounts a horror in which the government’s lopsided crackdown has been brutal, as depicted here. As we often saw in Libya, where elements within the anti-Qaddafi forces (and their sympathizers) engaged in false statements at a profligate scale, those who fight and those who suffer are poorly served by propaganda and lies.
ABOUT THE PHOTOGRAPH
The Taidi TD-2007, a non-firing, battery-operated replica of an MP-5, made in China for export and sale to children above the age of 5. Carried by self-declared fighters from the Free Syrian Army in a propaganda video posted earlier this year, shown and discussed here, announcing the formation of a special forces and sniper brigade.
[Via NDAA Lawsuit]
I find myself blushing after reading a review of my latest book, Terminator Planet, by Asia Times’ rollicking, roving reporter Pepe Escobar. He begins:
It’s fitting that Terminator Planet: The First History of Drone Warfare, 2001-2050 has been put together by Tom Engelhardt - editor, MC of the TomDispatch website and “a national treasure”, in the correct appraisal of University of Michigan professor Juan Cole - and TomDispatch’s associate editor Nick Turse, author of the seminal 2008 study The Complex: How the Military Invades Our Everyday Lives.
This is essentially Tom and Nick’s revised and updated body of work detailing the uber-dystopian Dronescape over the past few years - spanning everything from secret Drone Empire bases to offshore droning; a Philip Dick-style exercise on a more than plausible drone-on-drone war off East Africa in 2050; and a postscript inimitably titled, “America as a Shining Drone Upon a Hill”. It does beat fiction because it’s all fact-based.
And his conclusion, in typical Escobar-ian fashion, simply beats all:
Tom and Nick’s digital file is absolutely essential reading for contextualizing the lineaments of an already de facto surveillance state, where everyone is a suspect by definition, and the only “winner” is the military-industrial complex. Welcome to Motown as Dronetown: “Nowhere to run to, baby, nowhere to hide…” Obama and the Dronellas, anyone?
Do Ho Suh - Paratropper-V. Lines, polyester thread, cast stainless steel, cast concrete, plastic beads, 279.4x499.6x715cm (2005)