Monday, October 24, 2011

Reducing war to an antiseptic video game

Syed Wali Shah age 7 was killed  in  CIA Drone Attack in Pakistan on Aug. 21, 2009. Photo courtesy of 

The Christian Science Monitor’s Anna Mulrine reports on “unmanned drone attacks and shape-shifting robots” in America’s growing arsenal for reducing war to an “antiseptic video game.” Mulrine's article is chilling:

In the shadow of a heavily fortified enemy building, US commanders call in a chemical robot, or what looks like a blob. They give it a simple instruction: Penetrate a crack in the building and find out what's inside. Like an ice sculpture or the liquid metal assassin in "Terminator 2," the device changes shape, slips through the opening, then reassumes its original form to look around. It uses sensors woven into its fabric to sample the area for biological agents. If needed, it can seep into the cracks of a bomb to defuse it.

Soldiers hoping to eavesdrop on an enemy release a series of tiny, unmanned aircraft the size and shape of houseflies to hover in a room unnoticed, relaying invaluable video footage.

A fleet of drones roams a mountain pass, spraying a fine mist along a known terrorist transit route – the US military's version of "CSI: Al Qaeda." Days later, when troops capture suspects hundreds of miles away, they test them for traces of the "taggant" to discover whether they have traversed the trail and may, in fact, be prosecuted as insurgents.

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