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Re: <nettime> Armor, Amour
t byfield on 15 Mar 2001 17:38:35 -0000


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Re: <nettime> Armor, Amour


crandall {AT} blast.org (Wed 03/14/01 at 12:29 PM -0500):

[one paragraph omitted]

> The rising figure of a defense shield - a prophylactic for the entire
> country - marks a shift in the architecture of combat. 

this is nice-sounding theory, but it's not really accurate.

as is well known, the national anti-ballistic missile (ABM) defense system
bush is pushing for is a zombie process that is now a few dec- ades old:
surely the names 'strategic defense initiative' and 'star wars' are
familiar to you from the early 80s. specifically:

     President Reagan's speech of March 23, 1983, renewed a 
     national debate that had been intense since the late 
     1960s but much subdued since 1972 [i.e., when the ABM
     treaty resulting from the SALT I talks was signed].
     Wouldn't the United States be more secure attempting 
     to defend its national territory against ballistic mis-
     siles while the Soviet Union did the same? Or would it
     be more secure attempting to keep such defenses largely
     banned by agreement with the Soviet Union?

that's the opening of the 'Executive Summary' of the US Office of
Technology Assessment's September 1985 _Strategic Defenses: Bal- listic
Missile Technologies, Anti-Satellite Weapons, Countermeas- ures, and Arms
Control_. i quote it and cite the title in detail to give a vague
indication of just how many interrelated issues and perspective were
involved in what you describe monolithically as 'the architecture of
combat.'

>                                                        As the national
> discourse changes its orientation from that of targeting to that of being
> targeted, 

but in the paragraph i omitted above, you cited _Dr. Strangelove_ (now is
nearly *forty* years old), whose entire logic assumes that this reductive
target/be-targeted framework was long since obsole- scent. how does the
'perspective' of the movie's Doomsday Device fit into your theory?


>           new visual formats arise alongside the antiseptic videogame
> images of the recent past:  formats in which our status as viewers is
> reversed and our positions imperiled.  Another effect of the
> perspectivization that is warfare.  With America's obsession for safety
> reaching epidemic levels - fueled by the market's need to provoke interest
> in new technologies and the military's need to justify increased defense
> spending - a near-religious fervor for "protection" could well arise, as
> missiles appear to be potentially falling down on us from the skies.


US military budgets have been going up for the last 65 years.

you could, of course, cite something like the very excellent video game
Asteroids as a cynical/compulsive proto-manifestation of what would soon
(well, 15+ years later) become a national asteroid ob- session--prompted,
in part, by a series of half-witted attempts by various USG officials (for
example, dan quayle) to justify SDI as an anti-asteroid protection. the
'method' of such an argument seems much like the approach underpinning
this essay, but it would turn the theory you've presented upside-down.

[~two paragraphs omitted]

cheers,
t




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