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Re: <nettime> Armor, Amour
Jordan Crandall on 17 Mar 2001 04:13:47 -0000


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Re: <nettime> Armor, Amour


Ted:
Of course I know the idea of a missile shield is decades old.  I think
the Bush-Cheney-Rumsfield version is something different.  To think it's
the same thing is like speaking of armor as if it were the same kind of
shielding that exists through the years unchanged.  It's an effect, a
product of many things.  We constitute our dangers differently than in
Cold War years, we have new vulnerabilities opened, we have this
antiseptic goal of risk-free victory, we are making new tradeoffs
between protection, mobility, and firepower in the battles for the
reshaping of the military, we have new visual conventions and senses of
place, we are beholden to new sets of economic interests, we have
volatile climate of protectionist sentiment and all kinds of separatist
movements, nationalistic or otherwise, along with new
identity-formations in globalized world.  There is also the fact that we
are not talking about a giant dome over the US but a network of
missiles.  Where are they to be placed, how are they to be controlled,
which allies do they protect?  Who is inside or outside the 'bubble' and
how will that decision be used as a political tool?  The missile shield
is actually less a shield and more a weapon.  
There is also the thinking of what exactly is the 'territory' that the
missile shield rises up to protect.  It's not just land.  There is
territorial contestation, backed by kinds of invasive/protective
machinery, determined by the technological capacities of a time. I'm
skimming through all of this now but there is a lot of work to be done
in thinking what factors interlock to give rise to the shield-effect as
a contouring force.  You can say a lot about a culture by how it
constitutes its shields.  My concern is what the current version of the
defense shield is saying about the US.  It marks a place of war, a
war-site in the process of being shaped, and a boundary-making process,
a proto-materialization.  A defense shield will materialize an "us." 
I'm not going for an analysis, but trying to tap into an imaginary,
playfully and irresponsibly.  It's in that spirit that I thought of my
airline companion gleefully riding a bomb a la Dr Strangelove.  I didn't
intend to reference anything about that film, because you are right,
what it says is just obsolete.  I just want to follow that woman right
now, looking for clues in the ways she stages her wars.  
Jordan

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