Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Impersonal Nature Of Modern Warfare

"Wonder weapons... my God, I don't see the wonder in them. Killing without heroics, nothing is glorified... nothing is reaffirmed? No heroes, no cowards, no troops, no generals? Only those who are left alive... and those who are left dead. I'm glad I won't live to see it." George C. Scott from the Movie Patton

Yes, a made up quote from a Hollywood movie, yet quite fitting I think when it comes to the American war policy of using drone attacks in Afghanistan and Pakistan. I remember being in the Army during the Vietnam War and receiving a fellow soldier's letter from Saigon that talked about how impersonal war had become in the modern world.

Carpet bombing in the Vietnam War was common place and the collateral damage it inflicted  caused thousands of innocent civilian deaths, all in the name of more efficiently killing the enemy. War is truly evil, most people agree, but modern warfare has turned war into the likes of a government sanctioned video killing game. Americans driven by misinformation, fear and preoccupation with our personal lives appear willing to turn a blind eye to the killing of humans randomly and impersonally by our government, often divorced from the the true reality of what it really means.
"While the United States might be at war in Afghanistan, many of the people we are trying to fight seem to be taking refuge in Pakistan. While the government won't acknowledge it, there is a massive operation using unmanned aircraft to hunt and kill militants in Pakistan. The New America Foundation has been tracking these operations since 2004, and their numbers show that as the war in Afghanistan winds down, our attacks in Pakistan are increasing." 
Click here for larger interactive graphic via: Good Infographics

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