Infinity: The Views of a Dreamer
Culture of the Drone
Written by Aaron Peterson
Prior to the mass introduction of gas chambers of the likes of Auschwitz-Birkenau… German soldiers were ordered to engage in the extermination of the political enemies of the Nazi party in a up close and personal fashion. Usually in situations that directly involved soldiers engaging in executions of racial minorities such as European Jews and other ‘undesirables’ to German fascism through firing squad. The toll on German soldiers, despite their heartless reputation and following orders of mass murder was demoralizing. Directly killing, no matter how firmly it was implanted into the minds of the German Nazis that their enemies were “subhuman”, the grim nature of bloodshed stuck in their psyche. In light of this issue and most likely of being a personal witness, Heinrich Himmler, disgusted at the bloodiness of the executions decided that something had to be done in order to take the inhumanity away from the brutality. Thus, the mechanized form of death was invented in the fashion of the gas chambers which have become a cultural memory imprinted on mankind since the discovery of mass graves and the work of Auschwitz post-World War II. Gas chambers in the German sense served as the first actual calibrated death machine which was able to input a mass amount of life and as a constant output mass death. No more did German soldiers in the cases of the death camps have to personally look into the eyes or hear the screams of their victims face to face, all they needed to do was to close the victims of a Holocaust into a stuffed room where gas would fill. For the German soldiers this represented and ease of comfort, a new type of killing and slaughter. Almost as if animals at a slaughter house.
Drone attacks present a similar philosophy. It represents a cultural value of not wanting to face an opponent head first. It recognizes the same psychological stress that combat generates. Drone culture is almost game like. The ability to operate an unmanned vehicle from thousands of miles away and to launch missiles from it. Only to be looking at a screen operating it, presents an almost videogame like situation for operator. For the operator, there are no direct faces which are affected by the drone. The casualties that rack up, particularly those of civilians aren’t staring directly in their face. The bloodied and limbless corpses of children can’t be seen from the monitor. As such, the casualties of war become statistics. Just another operation, another day at work for the drone operator.
The drone operator doesn’t feel remorse in the sense that seeing the direct effects may cause a person to have empathy with. What you can’t see, you can’t empathize with. All that is left is the idea of the casualties. Without the view of the casualties, without the feel of the casualties piling up directly… It is just another day, nothing more and nothing less. The victims have no name to the drone operators. The drone operators are unable to hear the screams or begging for help from civilians caught in the crossfire. In direct effect, what is created by the modern drone is the same culture of the holocaust. One where exterminating individuals, isn’t an issue of personal sympathy. It’s a simply mechanized and automated. All humanity is effectively erased and the ability to engage in killing becomes uncannily easy and almost trivial.
Infinity: The Views of a Dreamer
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