Friday, July 11, 2008

Bombing as Infotainment

There is an interesting article and debate going on at Bristol Indymedia about the Fairford Air Tattoo. It is attacked first on climate grounds;

The worlds biggest fossil fuel burning Jamborie is about to start this weekend, with plances flying in from all around the world to make the business of bombing more family friendly than the business of climate change.

Then on militarism;

It is hard to see this as anything other than War Porn - the fetishistic rituals of war and killing. We can see the shiny places and uniforms, but hidden is the real cost of this industry - people. Ten of thousands of men, women and children have been killed by these machines in Iraq and Afganistan and thanks to Depleted Uranium and Cluster Bombs, the air-genocide will continue to kill long after the bombing has stopped.

Indeed to both! Then I read this in the news;

A US air strike killed 47 civilians, including 39 women and children, as they were travelling to a wedding in Afghanistan, an official inquiry found today. The bride was among the dead. Another nine people were wounded in Sunday's attack, the head of the Afghan government investigation, Burhanullah Shinwari, said. Fighter aircraft attacked a group of militants near the village of Kacu in the eastern Nuristan province, but one missile went off course and hit the wedding party, said the provincial police chief spokesman, Ghafor Khan. The US military initially denied any civilians had been killed.

It is hard not to see a connection between the idolisation of these aircraft that elevates them (via entertainment such as this) to the status of 'Wunderwaffen', that bomb people from thousands of feet, and the results of the bombing, which no matter how much it might be argued, try to avoid civilian casualties, are going to because you cannot fight an insurgency with air-power;

Here's the simplest truth of air power, then or now. No matter how technologically "smart" our bombs or missiles, they will always be ordered into action by us dumb humans; and if, in addition, they are released into villages filled with civilians going about their lives, or heavily populated urban neighbourhoods where insurgents mix with city dwellers (who may or may not support them), these weapons will, by the nature of things, by policy decision, kill noncombatants. If an AC-130 or an Apache helicopter strafes an urban block or a village street where people below are running, some carrying weapons and believed to be "suspected insurgents," it will kill civilians. The disadvantage of "distant war" is that you normally have no way of knowing why someone is running, or why they are carrying a weapon, or usually who they really are.

On the subject of Iraq, as I sadly often am, one of the architects of the policy, the Neo-Labour Party, continues to meltdown and yet some people still think the leaders who took us along the path of some of the most vitriolic right-wing and genocidal government actions in the last decade, some still think it can be saved;

Brown is wrong to want a low-key election. The Labour candidate can only win on an aggressive, socialist programme. Margaret Curran, the MSP for the area, should lead the campaign. She is an east-ender, has socialist roots and is good on her feet.

Get with it! C'mon, if Neo-Labour were willing to kill a million people in Iraq, what makes you think there is anything left to be moral and socialist about? Get real. Neo-labour is a right-wing husk and we should let Brown carry on burying it.

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