10. Ecologies of War
Dispatch from the Aerial Empire
The central question of this entry on war—let us recall the genre most akin to military affairs and call this writing a “dispatch”—is not why we should put “ecology” under the heading of empire but the reverse: why use the word ecology as an organizational term by which to connect intra-governmental violence with so many other forms of “mass destruction”? Of course, the term empire is itself contested, and in the ecological sense, I would argue, it has also changed. While still a routine marker for unilateral global supremacy and for capital accumulation within an epoch of US-inspired neo-liberalism, empire also invites us to rethink geographical expansion from within dimensions that are rather more disorienting than the traditional limits of the nation-state would allow. This is true in a spatial sense as well as a temporal one.  In this expanded notion of empire, history is witnessing an unprecedented convergence of the once disparate systems of technological and environmental modalities of conflict listed by US Army Counter Insurgency doctrine (COIN) as comprising a twenty-first century co-“operational” reality of war. On this order, there are key words from the epigram above that move the traditionally geographic orientations of empire into what we might call its aerial domains. The term aerial here should signal not only the destructive potential of the atmosphere, catastrophic climate change, and by extension, the coming resource wars, but should also pertain to the spatio-informational armament, endless ensembles of antennae, satellitic vision, those super-sites of knowledge transmission, data analysis, and tele-connectivity that re-orient conventional military arts. According to the dynamics of aerial empire, one might say that the battlefield becomes etherized, and war is perpetuated, indeed made immanent to life itself. The key-words from the epigram: “population,” “technology,” “mass destruction,” are tried-and-true war items to be sure, but how to work “climate change” and “natural disasters”—as of 2008, legally defined as essential to US security policy—into a military schema that regards “nature” as a functional part of the atmospherically embedded war machine? How to account not just for sky assassins in the form of unmanned drones but also hurricanes, drought, species mutation, extreme weather, rising tides—forces of machinery and natural elements that work so closely together that they are impossible to divide, let alone objectively suss out from the banal violence of every day life?
There is of course a clear if also dotted line that connects twenty-first century US security policy with global ambition as far back as the Monroe Doctrine and up through the Cold War, comprising two centuries and more of overt and covert military presence in key regions of the world. The list of Cold-war era interventions alone—military-sponsored coups, incursions, assassinations, and police acts—are well rehearsed and readily rehearsable: Iran (1953); Guatemala (1954); Dominican Republic (1965); Indonesia (1965); Chile (1973); El Salvador (1980s); Grenada (1983); Panama (1989) (Retort 80–88). Before September 2001, there were already 285,000 troops in at least 130 countries (510,927 troops in 151 foreign countries are reported in 2009), and at the peak of the Cold War there were 1,014 foreign US military bases (761 reported in 2008).  As is well known, the US sells more than 50 per cent of all weapons on the world market, with the near-failed state of Mexico being our most recent reversal of first-world violence come tragically home.  All this said, the admittedly hazy term aerial empire is not meant to diminish concern over the standing record of war proper and its traditional arsenals, nor should we ignore the hypocritical brutishness of so much continued inter-state aggression in the name of democratic freedom. But let me qualify if not excuse such haziness: to the extent that this record of violence is presumed to exist as an effect of (and presumably, in order to fortify) a writerly privilege of objectified safety in the imaginary “green zone” of civil society, and to the extent that civil society is arguably transformed by the reality of permanent and proximate war, a different kind of analysis—we should say a different analytic—of war is right now starting to emerge. What can writing do and not do in relation to war today? To ask the question is to take seriously the US National Security Doctrine (NSS), which in the wake of September 11, 2001, renders the “saying” of anything regarding war as being said by the citizen who is always also the suspect of our amped-up security state. In this peculiar sense, war presents a double bind for the very conceptualization of war from a standpoint that presumes to be critical of it. If, as I want to suggest, war has seeped into civil society relations and critical thinking as such, then it is unsatisfactory or at least highly troublesome to reduce the ecologies of war to a seamless next step in the perpetuation of US imperial dominance, itself never on less stable ground. The same 2009 COIN field manual cited in the epigram above sums up this double-bind by referring to the predominant conception of foreign military occupation as a matter of “armed civil affairs” (Tactics C-7). And next to the National Security Strategy of the United States of America (NSS), one begins to surmise, apropos the US Patriot Act and the US Northern Command (20,000 domestically deployed rapid-reaction forces focused on the coming internal disturbances), that this phrase also refers to the arming of civility at home.  On the one hand, contemporary COIN doctrine openly connects with more than two centuries of US military confrontation with insurgency, from the Whiskey Rebellion (1791–94) in the eastern states, to the eradication of Native Americans in the Western Plains (1785–1890s), and from there, to the Boxer rebellion in China (1898–1901), Poncho Villa in New Mexico (1916), Agusto Sandino in Nicaragua (1927–1933), and so on. On the other hand, COIN also insists that irregular warfare—the twenty-first century resurrection of the non-state combatant, and in response, the self-internalization of war cum security within the US body politic—has become a normative social condition that jettisons the link between justice and peace. The notion of civil society as a peaceable (and let’s not forget, highly privileged) zone of communicative reason has become a shibboleth-effect in a context of extra-judicial assassination and unconventional war. In the past, US covert assassination ops focused on state officials and civilians of interest in countries with whom we may (Vietnam) or may not (Latin America) have been overtly at war, but were carried out by CIA-trained local paramilitary groups and police forces. In 2010, there are 13,000 Special Operations commandos deployed worldwide, an unprecedented number that is apposite to a US strategy of targeted killing well beyond the confines of the traditional battle field. And as noted by the New York Times in December of 2009: “For the first time in history, a civilian intelligence agency is using robots to carry out a military mission, selecting people for killing in a country where the United States is not officially at war” (Branfman). The country referenced here is Pakistan, but the Global War on Terror authorizes such tactics wherever they are deemed necessary: beyond the Middle East, in the former Russian Republics, Yemen, Somalia, Saudi Arabia, Kenya, and so on. Mechanized assassination further permeates the infusion of violence within the world’s peaceable zones of relative safety, a general effect of twenty-first century warfare that is evidenced by the secret practices of overhead, and underwear, bombers alike.  In a paradoxical sense, the call for global civil society comes at a historical moment when sociability itself has become a newly invigorated paramilitary Operational Area (AO). Here intra-state violence supercedes, while appearing to compliment, the more primitive mode of making war in a geographically coherent national mode.  Put in bumper sticker speak: really, “freedom isn’t free.”
Thus a continued (rather, a continuous) “Revolution in Military Affairs” (RMA), to cite Defense Secretary Robert Gates, ushers in a “new reality…for America, and for humanity [insofar as] the lines separating war [and] peace…have become more blurred” (5; emphasis mine). At stake in this blurring between war and peace, which Gates rightly extends to the existence of anything we might go on calling the human, is an innovative set of techno-environmental insecurities that are arguably effacing—at different levels and with different speeds—the coherency of the state and of the state’s anthropomorphic referents in any of humanity’s ethical guises (read here: left-liberal notions of the human being and right-wing possessive individualism, alike). Twenty-first century war doctrine regards population control, race and ethnic division, the manipulation of computerized knowledge systems, deliberate and non-deliberate manifestations of environmental modification (ENMOD), epidemic disease, and resource scarcity as commonly intertwined within a complex set of super-surfaces that mutate almost too fast to be described (Tactics A-4). What is new, a 2009 US Army Strategic Studies Institute paper insists, “is that climate change poses security threats unmatched among environmental phenomena” (Parsons 2). And what is radically new is that climate change represents a relatively untapped means for engaging in war, “a unique and promising opportunity for the United States…to advance its security interests” (Parsons 7). The explicit reference in this citation is to competing US-China interests in Sub-Saharan Africa, the rush to grab oil, natural gas, and other commodities; but think, implicitly, of hurricane Katrina as the preemptive first strike in a planetary civil war that no one has officially declared. In this “new” ecology of war (the scare quotes are meant to mark extremities of chronology, breaks, as well as compressions and expansions in the experience of time), the epistemo-military arts are developing techniques that incorporate a symbiosis of agencies—biological, atmospheric, geological, and mechanical—that from any other perspective than war would be revealed as the suicidal miscellany of a planet abandoned to siege.
This present dispatch thus limits itself to transmitting a set of strategic connections between biotic as well as non-biotic factors of military conflict. These connections are becoming central to a new war doctrine, while they are only beginning, by fits and starts, to forge analogues of philosophical critique that may or may not be able to stand up against it. To continue this forging, we will have to range widely from global tele-surveillance, drone-warfare, and the weaponizing of culture, to other, tactically significant life-and-death scenarios, such as climate change, viral transmission, the US Amy’s investment in chaos theory, and the culling of the human species cloaked as humane adaptation (the count of climate refugees is estimated to be 50 million in 2010, 200 million or more by 2050) (Glenn and Gordon 2). These items have not until now been found under the heading of war. But they may be given a certain uneasy futuristic logic given war’s new organizational capacities. And if the phrase aerial empire fails to call forth a political formula guaranteed to preserve the cause of human equality, or if this dispatch begs the charge of being mere catastrophe porn, it is because the reality of conflict within which any humane conviction might be proffered is riddled with the same evanescent mini-movements, the same insurgent groupuscles, not simply of this or that “population” but also insurgencies of knowledge and (or, as) matter, a movement of movements that criss-cross traditional phyla, and by doing so, exceed the epoch of what Jürgen Habermas wishes to preserve as the “human being per se.”  Consider, it has been 44 years since President Lyndon Johnson’s advisory council linked greenhouse gas to “marked climate change.” And as of 2009, about $3 billion per year are spent on symposia, conferences, films, TV shows, publications, and the like, on environmental issues. In 2010, there are 80 million references to climate change on the Internet alone (Editorial 24). What to make of such visibility, such ubiquity, and therefore, apparent normalization of planetary risk? Should we assume that the almost sadistic publicity of our precarious life is sufficient alone to generate change; or does the apparent apostasy of scientific truth confirm the existence of a change already in our midst? If as I want to suggest this change has at least already mutated public sphere activity (perhaps not least, in the form we are practicing it now), then we will have to work with a dispatch that retains both a critically modest and germinal status.
Las Vegas in Afghanistan
Clearly, the banalization of war as so much work-a-day clock punching is evident in this epigram from the Times. All of middle-class life appears to be here, wife and family at home, the daily drive, reminders to shop (lest the terrorists win), the name Smith, even the division between leisure work implied by the act of reading The Sunday Times. But this scene is met with a violent frisson of nasty equations that determine the guaranteed loss—casino-like—of bourgeois existence and of our global war gamble alike. Gaining is losing in this epigram: consumption is risk without winning, just as war is nowhere and everywhere at home. What is being depicted in this casually chilling account of the military work-shift is the latest in leading edge war-tech applications, the manning of the MQ-9 Reaper drone, which pipes real-time video images as well as other data at light-speed to the cock-pit key-boards where Officer Smith launches Hellfire missiles on unsuspecting targets worlds away. Let us consider this Reaper-moment as emblematic of at least one—the mechanical or robotic—facet of the aerial empire. This is not only the unmanning of the war machine but is also the unmanning of man.
The historical genesis of Unmanned Aerospace Vehicles (UAVs) can be located in the Nazi V-1 and V-2 rocket programs. This technology, spun out in the 1950s with the CIA’s development of the drone prototype, was first deployed in 1959 in order to serve the secretive Rockefeller interests (Chase Manhattan and Standard Oil) in Latin America.  The Reaper’s forerunner, the MQ-1 Predator, was used in Yemen in 1992, and deployed in Bosnia in 1994, where it has returned since. In the twenty-first century, aerospace power, such as the Strike Star program, as well as the Predator, the tiny hand launched Raven, and the larger Shadow, gives the military 24-hour continuous air occupation in Afghan and Pakistani skies—and over unknown countries with whom we are not (overtly) at war—365 days a year, at the stealthy height of 21,000 feet, with a range of 3,700 miles from launch base, and with the immediacy of striking the keyboard and dropping the key-strike.  There are currently more than 7,000 UAVs deployed by the US military (not to mention those used by Iran, and Hezbollah—a political movement, not a state). On average 2009 saw about one drone strike a week. These techno-terminators are capable of generating 16,000 hours of video a month, far more than can be digested by the human eye, and are therefore being equipped with new batteries of machine intelligence. Drone vision can see through walls, and create biometric data-pictures that translate daily patterns of life, such as street movement and travel routes, into omni-visible target-rich environments. Defense Secretary Gates wants more UAVs, and has already said that the next generation of fighter planes will be the last manned fighter aircraft (Robertson). An estimated 40 or more countries are currently developing drones in 2010.
At one level, the military drono-sphere is a stealthier and more lethal adaptation of US assassination campaigns that go as far back as the Kennedy administration’s endorsement of the coup that lead to the South Vietnamese autocrat Ngo Dinh Diem’s demise in 1963. Only in the current instance, with estimates as high as 50 civilians killed for each terrorist leader, remote control warfare trades in higher immediate non-combatant loses.  At another level, the dawn of the eternal sortie is not the usual art of war. Even with civilian causalities as high as they are—but how can one distinguish the civilian from the insurgent?—the 600 plus Hellfire missiles dropped by Predators in one year’s time are being touted for hitting over 90 per cent of their targets. UAVs are credited with killing more than half of al Qaeda’s top 20 leaders. But, paradoxically, by surrendering killing to the finer-tuned war machine, by minimizing the human input necessary to launch the new weapons of war, the drono-sphere at least publicly promises a more humane and also farther-reaching way of killing human beings. In line with the RMA’s more general over-haul of contemporary war doctrine, new tactical priority and new financing is being given to UAV and supporting programs.  Military experts remark that we are only at the cusp of drone potential, and suggest that the UAV is poised to have the biggest impact in 5,000 years on how war is waged (Robertson, n. 18). Traditional fighting tools, not least of which is the regular, human solider, are being replaced by—or better, are being reabsorbed into—unconventional military hard- and soft-ware that are creating a uniquely twenty-first century war imaginary. This imaginary runs the gamut from Officer Smith’s trigger cum keyboard, to insect-size swarms of nano-drones, robotic snake surveillance, pain-inducing microwave sky-beams, robotic canines, bio-mass consuming automated ground-war machines (the Energetically Autonomous Tactical Robot, or EATR program), and insect-inspired digital optics.  But let us stay within the aero-technical realm, to the extent that staying there is possible, and hone in on the knowledge systems that accompany drone war and are endemic to the RMA, the revolution not only in military—but recalling Secretary Gates—also in human affairs.
Defense Department documents outline certain key temporal adjustments in the future of—or better, the future as—war. New satellite technology now focuses on high-density cities and other sites, targeting them full-time as potential locations of “urbaniz[ed] insurgence” (Graham 1). Through the use of UAV video surveillance, either deeply embedded within city architecture or loitering in the atmosphere over potentially insurgent areas, highly sophisticated computer software profiles and comparatively reads normal movement patterns against anomalies of human flow in the micro-geographies of the planet’s civilian populations. Pattern recognition capabilities such as this can be used either as a platform for the hellfire missile, or to set aloft “fan-propelled swarms [to] disperse nano-payloads” of various levels of destruction or interference, even before the insurgent act of violence can occur (Graham 3). These new capabilities enable warfare to operate in a way that “compress[es] the kill chain,” or by a “first look, first feed, first kill” operation, as the Raytheon Corporation puts it. Kill chain compression accelerates the time it takes to find and kill a target to a point of sight-velocity in which opposition disappears the very moment it is configured. “Before [you] can drop your weapon and run,” the R&D publicity reads, “[you’re] probably already dead” (4). Preemptive war technology is the tactical application of an overall national strategy. It effaces the enemy at the same moment the enemy is designated as such. More peculiar still, the enemy exists in an autogenic way; that is, as an opponent who is effectively generated within the same social space as friendly military occupation. This slippery zone of friend/foe distinction works according to relationships of violence that—if they can be pictured—are always already armed.  The target itself is not seen and then destroyed: seeing is its destruction according to current war R&D. According to the DARPA technologies, the less distinguishable it is from civilian life, the less visible and the less objectifiable, the more effective war becomes. Real-time satellite, CCTV, and drone transmissions compress the duration between violence and representation. There is ideally no peaceable distinction between the time it takes to take a picture and the time it takes to strike.
In this way, machine vision re-works our spatial bearings and enables the weaponization of temporality itself. It is not enough to say that war is made more proximate by the notion that, in the homeland, everyone is at least potentially both suspect and object of terror; nor is it sufficient to argue, as Virilio would have it, that the RMA depends on a “dromo-logical revolution” (as in the Greek dromos, ‘course of running’) by technically increasing the dynamics of speed.  What we might call a drono-logical revolution works according to the twin mastery of both space and time, with intensities of compression and expansion, as well as degrees of velocity, that vary depending on the objective of whatever application is at hand. To put the RMA completely, twenty-first century war functions according to intensities of both proximity and distance, of both speed and latency, at specific levels and according to discrete military goals. For example, kill-chain compression makes targeting a nearly instantaneous act; but it also means that war in terms of beginnings-and-ends is displaced by a time signature evidently stopped in its tracks. Wartime is both reduced and extended to the hyper-stasis of an eternal present. Similarly, regarding space, on the one hand drone war makes violence seem virtual and remote. On the other hand, the eternal sortie makes war an utterly proximate activity, disintegrating the distinction between violence and ordinary life, however each side defines the ordinary. To cite a particularly apposite example of the new time and space mastery at the core of the RMA, consider kill-chain compression along with Cyberkinetics Inc.’s “brain-gate” program, which for the first time has enabled human brain-computer interface (BCI) in its most intimate sense.  This application was seized upon immediately by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in 2002, and by 2009 has been funded by more than $25 million in Department of Defense (DOD) grants. Consistent with the DOD’s own war neuromics program, BCI harkens toward a moment when weaponry will be literally hard-wired to the human brain, and when firing will designate both a micro-synaptic, spatio-cranial event, and a cyber-kinetic macro-explosion on the geography of a battlefield both virtual and real. Warfare is here inserted into a network of electricity and human biomass such that thinking itself, now a kinetic activity, becomes the most deadly weapon of all. A four-millimeter square silicon brain implant, studded with 100 hair-thin microelectrodes, is attached matrix-like via a skull-plug that coverts brain waves into a pattern of optical or other data via computer translation. This is a version of drono-sphere activity that has absorbed the human being from yet another angle. And again, we see a drono-spheric application that is predicated on a dynamic of non-linear time made possible by new ways of gathering, computing, reading, and infinitely re-reading, computerized data. Here, synapses fire in an only apparently random molecular order, that is, only apparently random to the human eye, which needs machine translation to form coherent micro-patterns that can be extended to whatever weapons system at light speed: intelligence becomes data; becomes electro-kinesis; becomes war. In this way, BCI is capable of stretching and shrinking, accelerating and freezing, the twenty-first century battlefield into one long moment of the right here and now.
Realized by the symbiotic connection between human and machine, BCI uses just a fraction of the brain’s 100 million neurons. Here again we can see the connection between kill-chain “compression”—the elimination of an enemy without the slow subject/object alignment that used to guide face to face human combat in a different rhythm of terrestrial violence—and technologies of knowledge “compression,” per se. There are other examples, beyond the brain’s newfound military plasticity, as well. As part of the new UAV technologies, the emerging science of digitized fractal compression is displacing merely mimetic real-time image technology with an entirely different space-time calculus. Whereas an older format of JPEG technology uses bit-maps to break down an object into more or less co-equal translations that parallel each other according to individual squares on corresponding grids (the computer screen’s and the camera frame’s), fractal media offers a more complex notion of image production. Here the word compression means to rethink, and reinterpret (albeit mathematically) a given scene, rather than to simply distill, unpack, and reproduce it. The fractal mis-en-scene as such reads a picture that is both more fabricated and more real, producing different layers of spectator-knowledge depending on the sensitivity of the machine and what algorithms are at hand: heat oriented, chemically differentiated, movement based, and so on.  In JPEG technology, the more complex the snapshot of the image, the higher the compression ratio is needed for a reliable replication of the object being viewed. It is a question of knowledge as payload, and only so much data can be “lifted” from a visual field at once. But according to fractal image reproduction, the object (read here: target) is produced beyond the battlefield without needing the physical referent. This version of data compression needs only a fragment of the battle scene and a set of mathematically determined fractal instructions to create a given pattern and zero in on its anomalies. The same algorithmic technology that underwrites BCI and that sorts through the meshwork of fractal data compression are used in 2010 to fine-tune shipping networks, predict life-spans, recall records from emails and social networks, map social movements, and predict weather patterns.
As we have already seen, a complex space and time adjustment is at work in the drono-sphere in that it mobilizes what we might call an eternal latency.  BCI and fractal data compression together help bring the war machine into an all-seeing and eternal present. At the macroscopic level, fractal media looks among the myriad chaos of life-and-death scenarios for new patterns yet to go into the tool kit of war. In the same way, at the microscopic level, molecular brain firings and computational readings recombine in war’s electric flow. At both levels, these patterns can be stored within a vast data bank so that the machine learns greater and greater subtleties in evaluating the norms and deviations of whatever changing groupuscle or latent micro-movement. Essential to the efficiency of weaponized war media, large or small, twenty-first century compression technology uses computational projection to decrease the amount of data needed to be compressed. It uses math to lighten data’s so-called weight. Fractal media, as we have seen, only needs to determine what is probably there, in the same way the human eye compensates for blind spots and peripheral vision. Drone war is thus executed, Vegas-like, according to a deadly gaming of the epistemo-military odds. The apparently random events that comprise the patterns of collective human existence are finally given objectifiable if also utterly malleable status according to the new war machine. Rather than being tethered to the old bit-map visual technology, which claims mere representational fidelity, mathematically produced targets enable a sort of hyper-vision that invigorates aleatory events and former epistemic blindness—as well as those sheltered spaces of peace called ordinary life—with unprecedented war potential. Drone hyper-vision sorts and manipulates certain life-rhythms (brain waves, as well as social movements) at the speed of light, and therefore offers a more effective application of war fighting than using plain human sight. And by working the image-data from within the fractal war register, not only is image fidelity displaced with image production, but it also becomes possible—and militarily useful—to locate otherwise invisible targets from multiple perspectives at once. For example, the Reaper is being fitted in 2010 with the $150 million Gorgon Stare system. This apparatus configures the drone with multiple super-powered cameras capable of filming two-and-a-half miles around and from 12 different angles (Schachtman). Even if 12 targets are visualized in 12 different directions, the Stare could simultaneously orient the elimination of each. The Argus program—named after the Greek monster with a hundred eyes—will use 92 cameras at once in its round-the-clock orbits. The eternal orbit of the Reaper is the mechanical embodiment of war by fractal means, which is to say, by mathematical probability, rather than by plain human sight, a temporal and ontological “revolution” to be sure: Las Vegas in Afghanistan, once more. A next generation of UAVs, the British Taranis, will take over completely from the human fighter “pilot,” as autonomous craft take off and land, survey an area, and return, without any human input. Provided legislation can be amended, civilian cargo flights could be automated by 2015, ushering in a juridical mutation in the notion of human responsibility, commensurate with a mutation in the human root and branch (Goodwin n. 15).
The advance of drone war (and ESCYBERCOM more generally) presents dynamics that we can apply to the basic war policy questions glossed earlier in reference to the US National Security Strategy (NSS). The oft-used term “shadow wars” in this document have both real and representational applications. With kill-chain (temporal) and fractal (spatial) compression/expansion in mind, we should say that the NSS extends war’s technical logic into a policy statement that recombines the real and representational targets. In the same way, the compression of battle within the statellitic mode produces singularities of non-linear time and blurs the present and the past into an eternal future of violence. Recalling Gates, this unique time-space signature is concurrent with the way war is “blur[ing]” into peace in the form of “shadow” wars. There are “shadow” wars fought today (in Sudan, Syria, Pakistan, and Mexico) where no offensive power claims a presence, and no one takes credit or blame for whatever victory or loss. And we know US policy allows for unannounced attack (if not extra-judicial assassination) in at least 20 different nations (Hallinann). One of the first declarations of President Obama was to underscore the uniqueness of twenty-first century war—no longer the Global War on Terror (GWOT) but simply the “Long War”—as “increasingly unconventional and transnational” (qtd. in Hsu). When the NSS speaks of a “war without duration,” insisting that “campaigns need not be sequential” but instead will adhere to a principle of “direct and continuous action,” we are well within the fractal time-space purview of the drono-sphere. This does not simply mean continued investment in the Bush Doctrine of preemptive and permanent war, although the Weinberger and the Powell doctrines, which were designed for large-scale, nationally circumscribed oppositions, and for warfare with clear beginnings and ends, are unlikely to return. Rather, the policy of permanent war—or its paradoxical lengthening by way of compression—brings us to a future, after Bush, of war as unseen and everywhere apparent, up close and distant, sped-up and frozen in time.
But technology, such as BCI and fractal data compression, comprises only one level of the aerial empire. In 1991, Manuel De Landa asked a question about whether expert machines, with their own knowledge banks, could produce robot events sufficiently strong to move the executive capacity of the military technocrat to the computer itself, and thus remove humans from the loop. “Could this [emergent satellite and robotic] technology,” De Landa writes, “be the beginning of a new breed of machines, predatory machines, capable of hunting and killing humans on their own?” (War 161). De Landa goes on to pose the problem, which has gone without its due response, of “a technology of multi-spectral analysis…[and] the ability to detect the very chemical composition of the objects in a picture” (War 181). Here De Landa rightly detects a mixing of life-and-death scenarios at a level beyond mere techno-manipulation, a level where the drone reabsorbs its human operator, and where the question of war enters a uniquely contemporary biosynthetic domain. But before elaborating on weaponized biosynthesis, that is, before moving us back to climate change vis-á-vis history of militarized environmental modification (known since the 1970s UN debates as ENMOD), a response to De Landa’s question about the shelf-life of the human being needs to be at least partially sketched.
Excursus on the Human
A book released by the Bay Area political collective, Retort, seeks within the “contradictions of military neo-liberalism” a “new political era,” one that admits, with unusual frankness, that “the reality of permanent war renders inadequate the notion of ‘peace’ as an oppositional strategy” (15). In a statement that paraphrases Secretary Gates’s insistence on the blurred divisions of traditional battle, Retort “understand[s] that peace…[in a twenty-first century setting] is no more than war by other means” (94). On the one hand, the group wishes to retain the term “Left” as “a placeholder for the last best hope of human kind” (14). On the other hand, Retort wishes to eschew any semblance of a “Left” “vanguard ideal[ism]” that would reduce critique to a “primordial form of human bonding” (185). What is to be done, “humanely” (emphasis original) they ask. Caught between a current war reality without peace and the very kind of anthropocentric thinking that a new political era of war is in the process of displacing, Retort both admits a “prevailing sense of failure [of the 2003 anti-war movement, and the anti-capitalist Left generally]” (1), and proclaims, with a hint of mourning, to be “partisans of wishful thinking” (9). There is a parallel tendency in twenty-first century war discourse, both within military circles and in opposition to them, that finds in war a positive if also troubled sort of political potential. This potential concerns the final voicing of a grand collective silence—the “mass base”—which, precisely on the order of kill-chain compression, both intensifies the operational significance of humanity as a tool of war and simultaneously displaces the category of the human being.  Can we find a positive reactivation of the so-called masses in the vicissitudes of twenty-first century war discourse, and must the masses be a term set by historical default to connote human forms of biotic combination to the exclusion of geological, atmospheric, or climactic processes that exist outside human control?
Current conceptualizations of the multitude are inadequate for coming to terms with planetary violence on such an expansive order, and are arguably limited by anthropocentric notions of biopolitics. Antonio Negri and Michael Hardt, for example, embrace an epoch of an emergent warfare state, and argue, as I am, that war has “become the primary organizing principle of society” (12). Because the modern “warfare” (as opposed to “welfare”) state is “fractured by internal division,” “new mechanisms of control…[also promise the] creation of new circuits of cooperation and collaborations,” an “unlimited number of encounters within the warfare state network” (xiii). As the crypto-ontological analogue to post-Fordist shifts in economic production (“crypto-” because non-individuated), the multitude here marks a “living alternative that grows within Empire” (xiii). Perhaps the word analogue is slightly unfair, in that it is the central point of the book to mark a historical moment where economic and social relations, like Gates’s “blurring” of war and peace, fold over into one another, thus giving affective experience its political due, and replacing the spatially and temporally disciplined notion of the fixed laboring subject with a more appositely fluid understanding of commercial informatics and immaterial (both cognitive and caring) modalities of work. The social order has thus moved from a period of uniform striation (including the striation of the “working class,” and its attendant mythos, the dialectic), to a post-unitary formation that “brings death” but also, “paradoxically, must produce life” (13). Thus life exists in the form of a positive biopolitics of mass agency and on behalf of human renewal. There is a certain kinship, traceable through a Deleuzian and Spinozist philosophical register, that connects the multitude to De Landa’s interest in the war machine mentioned above, and at further remove, to the fractal vicissitudes of what I have been calling the aerial empire. But it is rather a deficient kinship, which betrays a selective reading of Deleuze. The most questionable aspect of the multitude writ as fractal macro-subject is the equation in Negri and Hardt’s book between the mass’s adaptation of asymmetrical combat and the prominence of what they call “sympathetic moral feeling.” Here the primary agency of “affect” is presented according to the ideals of the Scottish Enlightenment, specifically, the moral philosopher cum Godfather of liberal capitalism, Adam Smith (Hardt and Negri 50). That the multitude is finally an anthropological marco-subject is clear in Negri and Hardt’s emphasis on the communicative procedures attendant to biopolitical production, grounded as they are said to be in a “common”—though occulted—“desire of the multitude” (51). By contrast, “Adam Smith’s invisible hand,” De Landa writes correctly, is “at the core of modern linear economics” (Thousand Years 42). So, too, is Smith’s notion of human reciprocity and historical development, as Marx insists upon in his critique of Smith’s teleology of economic progress, a version of affective response that is calculated to flatten experience into a highly atomized and individualist brand of socio-commercial order.  The term multitude thus presents us with a scenario that jettisons Habermasian rationalist notions of the human being per se but replaces communicative reason with a vitalist—and all too human—affirmation of biopower as working within the networks of human affection that future wars might invigorate and sustain across nationalist lines. But will war sustain the human being as such in a net-centric approach to human relations, and why should it?
A different approach, one consistent with De Landa’s pioneering work on machine intelligence, would allow us to account for a fuller spectrum of the non-biotic factors of war that are now only beginning to gain tactical military priority. “Who does the earth think it is?” (Deleuze and Guattari 39) is not a rhetorical question, nor is it posed with the expected organic chauvinism (De Landa’s term) that haunts a humanely inspired circumscription of the multitude. To put the question that Negri and Hardt do not answer in a distilled fashion, is it possible to conceive not of a new genealogy of morals but, after De Landa, of their geology instead? This question puts paid to the illusion that “structure is the earth’s last word” (Deleuze and Guattari 41), even where the structure in question is that last set of frontiers separating the human from the non-human, the biological from the geological strata, and here we can extrapolate, technological from ecological realms. One effect that goes missing in current theorization of the war machine à la Negri and Hardt is the way in which war criss-crosses and remixes organic and geological segmentation, and exceeds the bivocal logics that work within—so as to keep separate—these entirely mutable divisions. This criss-crossing, if we follow a different reading of Deleuze, is predicated an alloplastic rather than a homoplastic conception of agency and historical change (Deleuze and Guattari 60). Alloplasty, in the way it is rendered from this position as the total otherness of time, makes a completely different sense of the terrestriality of war, or rather, of war’s persistent flows of de-territorialization, in that by loosing the moorings of the human being, we can recognize war’s aerial status in the fullest possible sense: the shifting isomorphisms that cut back-and-forth between biotic and non-biotic factors of war.
In giving humanity an intermediary—or better, an intra-mediary—function among the mass of agencies that intersect the planet rather than assuming an isolated or purely formal notion of historical change, De Landa elaborates on Deleuze’s notion of the abstract machine (Deleuze and Guattari 56), and here develops a conception of temporal process as dependant on the shifts in the machinic phylum. De Landa insists upon the productivity of knowledge on the order of a Spinozist conception of “substance,” and embraces both mind and matter commonly (as we have seen in brain computer interface) as a heterogeneity of elements whose volatile combinatory arrangements are of more interest than their fixed or molar forms. Yet De Landa’s take on multiplicity exceeds the multitude writ as a composite of affectively charged human-centered socio-political events, on the order of a postmodern Adam Smith. The machinic phylum refuses to take at face value, and is indeed designed to remix, the “phenomena of centering, unification, totalization, [and] integration” that are presumed to exist between and within this or that line of biotic or non-biotic (let alone species) difference (Deleuze and Guattari 41). The machinic phylum refers to those instances of change that depend upon “dynamical systems operating far from equilibrium,” for example, “the uncontrollable elements of ecosystems, the climate…changing weather patterns” (De Landa, Thousand Years 279), as much as the turbulence of war. The machinic phylum designates a moment of change that depends on agencies that initiate “auto-catalytic”—or seemingly accidental—events that in turn have “cross-catalytic” consequences. This chain of tipping-points, call them phylogenic trip-wires, spring further accident inducing consequences that require machine intelligence for human beings to use or understand. Thus again, the accident is only an apparently random event, and can be ordered logically (recall again, BCI and fractal data compression) with certain technological prosthesis. Such phylogenic trip wires would depend on such atmospheric or geological changes that work as non-human replicators, and reconfigure the status of the human as such (De Landa, Thousand Years 151). We have seen the machinic phylum’s dynamic in the case of the drono-sphere. Here, time and space compressions recombine the visual field of battle according to the fractal mathematics of war. And if we allow for the shift in life-form that is the coming robot-soldier, it becomes clear that the machinic phylum also enables us to re-evaluate the processes of self-organization in other spheres, “living creatures with their inorganic counterparts” (104). In this sense, the human being as such becomes a provisional coagulation of biomass that forms “one of several interlocking chains…within a meshwork of heterogeneous elements” evolving equally by chance as by design. By rejecting a neo-institutionalist approach to the question of the human, and relatedly, to the social or polity, De Landa offers a sufficiently expansive and detailed model by which to rethink the tactical value—beyond the anthropocentric tethers of the multitude—of biology and geography, re-combined within, and across, one another. As we shall see, the US Army is working on precisely this kind of bio-geological recombination. By giving climate change strategic significance as a force multiplier, and by researching—indeed at the atmospheric level—the organizational lessons of environmental change, we may now claim both weather and natural resources as unpredictably volatile extensions of aerial imperial war.
ENMOD by Default
Well before US Navy researcher Dr. Pierre St. Amand made his statement equating weather and weaponry in 1966, the relationship between warfare and environmental change has been an essential factor in war. Archimedes wanted to use the sun’s rays, which could be concentrated off highly polished Grecian shields, to set Roman ships afire. The troops of imperial Rome in turn sowed salt into the fields of Carthage, sterilizing the earth, and producing an early example of eco-nomadism that forced a total migration from the city to avoid starvation.  Queen Elizabeth beat Spain on the high seas due in part to a storm. Napoleon Bonaparte lost Russia because of bad weather, and was thereby prompted to ask Urbain Leverrier, the astronomer who discovered Neptune, to foretell winter storms along shipping and military paths. During the war of 1812, the US Army Surgeon General created a directive to keep climatological records to assist war efforts, creating the first electronically networked weather stations in the US. And during the Buffalo Wars of the 1840s, the US realized that eradicating the buffalo economy would help clear the plains of their human foes and end the indigenous American’s way of life (Halacy 31). The US civil war is given credit for expanding the network of weather observing stations. And even though President Lincoln resisted increased funding for the new science of weather forecasting, there were already 500 telegraphic nodes by the outbreak of the war in 1861 (Whitnah 10). The civil war thus set the stage for longer-term increases in congressional funding for weather technologies, and for the US Army signal service to assume responsibility for meteorological knowledge in 1870. By 1881, the National Weather Service (NWS) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Organization (NOAA) reorganized climate science outside the military budget, though both the NWS and NOAA are traditionally headed by military officers and remain quasi-military organizations (Fine 211).
World War I, the first total war of the twentieth century, depended upon the use of wind patterns and humidity levels to deliver airborne mustard gas, phosgene, and chlorine. But because wind knowledge was in its infancy, gas warfare had only moderate effectiveness (about four per cent of casualties).  The first such attack was made possible by German Nobel Prize scientist Fritz Haber (1868–1934), the inventor of chemical fertilizer, and only later the father of chemical warfare. By World War II, environmental variables and the art of war were fully and officially intertwined. By 1956, the giant brain of the US-Army financed Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer (ENIAC) was announced, creating new possibilities not only for calculating bomb trajectories and kill ratios but also for providing the computational power necessary to produce the kind of mathematically based, multi-layered atmospheric forecasting that Professor Bjerknes and the Bergen school of proto-meteorology could only speculate about at the turn of the nineteenth century. Spurred on by the Russian Sputnik, the US Naval Research Laboratory took the first official steps to put a weather satellite into the earth’s atmosphere. With support from the US military’s Research and Development Corporation (RAND), and with participation from 8 federal agencies including the Army, Navy, and Air Force, 1966 saw the world’s first operational weather satellite system. At this moment, climate and war went global in a scientific sense, and the atmosphere could be observed every 12 hours from a single orbiting machine.  Between 1967 and 1972, the tactic of environmental modification (ENMOD) was fashioned in a sustained and developed way. Attempting to extend the monsoon season in Southeast Asia, the US military dispersed several tons of silver iodide from its C-130s and F-4 Phantoms in order to produce heavy rain over the centuries old Ho Chi Minh trail. Operation Popeye, as the program was known, ran ENMOD missions over neutral Cambodia and Laos (in violation of international law), as well as in North and South Vietnam. Popeye was active to the tune of 2,600 flights, 47,000 units of cloud seeding material, and a cost of $21.6 million.  Not to be outdone by the Romans in Carthage, the DOD also attempted ENMOD missions against Cuba in 1969 and 1970. The goal was to cause clouds to drop their rain before reaching the island, producing a genocidal crisis of starvation and drought. 
Thus the earliest historical examples of unconventional warfare—whether accidental or deliberate—were climatological in nature. And as this history has not been fully written, we can offer here a set of working distinctions, useful for making some final points about the aerial empire, between the manner in which weather has been called upon during the Cold War to enhance the military arsenal, and beyond that, the manner in which climate change is altering the dynamics of war doctrine in a multi-polar post-Cold War epoch. To bring the list of past ENMOD activities mentioned above into a contemporary context, we must distinguish between the instrumental uses of climate change and a new science of environmental security that both seizes upon the event-opportunities of the coming eco-catastrophes, and translates the aleatory dynamics that produce atmospheric and geographical extremes into an emergent war analytic. To understand the current stakes of climate change as a military force multiplier, we must make the distinction—crucial for understanding what I called above the shelf life of the human being—between ENMOD by design, which is the pre-planned fabrication of climate change à la Popeye; and ENMOD by default, which is the turning of environmental crises into an autogenic form of weaponry that works its violence not only against but also eventually without the need for human beings.
In the mid-1970s, the Soviet Union, who had its own long standing ENMOD programs, publicized previous US activities in Indochina. Since 1977, then, the final version of the treaty defines ENMOD to encompass:
However, the conditions under which this treaty was ratified, a major point of contention between the opposing Cold War blocks, was the US insistence that “each State Party to the Convention undertakes not to engage in military or any other hostile use of environmental modification techniques having widespread, long-lasting or severe effects as the means of destruction, damage or injury to another State Party” (emphasis mine). By attaching the definition of “severe” to the time-space caveats of “widespread and long-lasting,” the DOD aligned US delegates to the UN introduced a provision that would allow for a future deployment of environmental war. They managed to put key loopholes around the most important variables in war: as we have seen above in the context of emergent war technology, the control of space and time. These variables began to be re-introduced in a serious way as recently as 1996. In a paper, collectively authored by 7 Air Force Officers, called “Weather as Force Multiplier: Owning the Weather in 2025,” the idea of “full spectrum conflict” presents weather manipulation as a “more important weapon than the [atomic] bomb” (House 5). “Air Force 2025” measures hurricane energy in terms of bomb capacity, noting that a worthwhile “tropical storm is equal 10,000 one megaton hydrogen bombs” [House 18]). The 45,000 lightning strikes that hit the planet daily are said to contain “electro-potential…with offensive military benefit” that might be induced by “atmospherically buoyant…microscopic” computer drones, designed to seed the sky with the chemistry necessary for “aimed and timed lightening strikes” (House 27). The connection between this version of electro-potential and brain wave interface is not an immediate one, since the latter interface, insofar as it absorbs the human in the war machine, is more akin to ENMOD by default. With specific focus on the ionosphere (the atmospheric layer 1200 miles above earth where radio waves are reflected as a natural mirror), AF 2025 also evokes the High-frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP). Established in 1992 and based in Gokona Alaska, HAARP is an array of 180 tower transmitters, 72 feet in height mounted on thermopiles spaced 80 feet apart in a 12 by 15 rectangular grid.  Put simply, HAARP is an ionospheric heater designed to excite low atmospheric particles, the largest such machine ever built. 
Thus ENMOD by design is by no means off the military table (and note: the American Meteorological Society now endorses an ENMOD approach to curb global warming), but it is not as fully apparent in (publicly assessable) doctrinal discussion in the way that ENMOD by default currently is (“Re-engineering” 7). The time-and-space caveats attached to the 1977 UN ENMOD convention have taken on unprecedented significance given the current climate change reality, which is no longer overtly dodged by the current US ruling apparatus (military, government, corporate). Rather, climate change is embraced as a target enhancing operational environment, the purest form of ENMOD by default. This adaptation to, indeed embracing of, planetary risk makes military strategy out of a forgone conclusion of anthropogenic climate catastrophe. However, anthropogenesis—a crucial qualification—does not at all translate to the preservation of the human being. Consistent with both military technology and national security policy, ENMOD by default disintegrates the efficacy as much of human will as of the human being as such. Humanity may appear to determine war in the aerial empire, but we are by no means in control of the new dynamics of planetary violence. At 350 ppm, we are at—and are surpassing—a level of “dangerous anthropogenic interference” (DAI), with CO2 levels to approach 450 parts per million by 2012 (Kolber 42).  (China’s toleration proves higher, at 550 ppm and even 750 ppm.) Ice caps are melting, sea levels rising, faster than the conservative International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predicted in 2007. At the current pace of extinction more than half the earth’s animal species will be gone by the end of the century, and according to a 2009 MIT Integrated Global Systems model, it will be too late to stem eco-catastrophe much sooner than predicted. IPCC panel head Rejendra Pachauri cites 2012, the expiration date of the US rebuked Kyoto Protocol, as the planet’s next tipping-point (qtd. in Vanderheiden xi). The same 2009 Strategic Studies Institute (SSI) document that we cited by way of introducing drono-spheric SkyOps several moves above also displaces the human-centered notion of ENMOD by deliberate design à la Operation Popeye with a far more complicated (if not also suicidal) strategy of ENMOD by default: adaptation to, as much as mobilization of, the destructive power unleashed by coal-produced CO2 gases. Here the term climate change moves the problem of ecology from the limited context of anthropogenesis toward a more perversely expansive morphogenic realm of agitated particles, chance compounds, and aleatory aggregates that are given human purpose only in the wake of this or that event of mass crisis. The ecology of war is seen here as a way of fighting so-called cross-border wars that are not merely trans-national (as across national lines) but are also infra-national (as within nations) because war is phylogenic now. Climate change becomes an accelerant and a multiplier of military force (TSC 4) that eventually turns on its masters.
We have seen the mutation of space and acceleration of time as noted in the SSI climate change materials already at work in brain-machine interface technologies (BMI), and in the drono-sphere, examined above. Here, recall, we found a set of innovative war applications that fused machinery and meat. Let’s also emphasize that, given the blurriness of contemporary security doctrine and the twenty-first century war machine, we also detected an elaborate data-driven war analytic that no longer cares to divide war from peace, foe from friend, risk from security, alterity from homeland, state power from civility, and so on and so forth with the traditional divisions of Western modernity. The notion of climate change as a form of tactical enhancement may also be applied to the way in which fractals and chaos are being considered with renewed pervasiveness in emergent military systems. A 1996 Navel War College paper, “Chaos Theory: the Essentials of Military Applications,” provides a theoretical foreshadowing of drone technology, using chaos analysis in a precisely analogous way that De Landa’s uses the term machinic phylum. In the temporal sense, chaos is defined, apropos James Gleick’s well-known work, as “behavior that is not periodic, [but is] apparently random , where the system response is still recurrent (the pendulum still swings back and forth) but no longer in a predictable way” (James 14; emphasis original).  By the chance synchronizing of aleatory time signatures that both cut across and recombine biotic and non-biotic strata (for example, climate change and human beings), computer technology produces similar mutations of space. Like fractal media, chaos theory allows us to identify “ transitions between various dynamics, that are common to many systems” (14). But again these dynamics cannot be visualized in an intelligibly useful way without the mathematical reading ability brought about by electronic machine vision. Algorithms turn chaos into otherwise invisible new phylogenic lines. Consistent with fractal media, the chance event is seized upon to coordinate unforeseen alignments between unlike entities, as drone vision produces a probable calculus—Las Vegas style—of a virtual battlefield that we cannot simply model in advance. “Chaotic flow generates time intervals with no periodicity of apparent pattern” (15), which is the operational equivalent of security predicated on proximate and perpetual war. And most importantly for understanding the relations of violence in the aerial imperium, the intra-systemic dynamics of chaos gain military application by modeling weapons on climate at several levels. Climate change is conceived of in the literal sense with ENMOD by design. In turn, ENMOD by default eventuates in a stage of war that transcends humanity’s capacity to control what we might as well summarize as an atmospheric army about to go rogue. Chaos theory seeks military benefit by reorganizing war according to the asymmetrical systems of “weather dynamics and clouds.” And on the order of the machinic phylum, twenty-first century war is predicated on non-linear similar turbulence events, wind patterns, storm systems, lightening-bombs, ecological weapons, that are literally tipped by mechanical “swarms where battlefields are filled with new clouds that carry lethal capabilities” (James 79).
Climate change is a new—and will become the predominant—means of waging if not also of modeling war. The atmosphere has now become a weapon both by design and by default. And to the same extent, related technologies such as BCI and fractal media efface and reabsorb the human being. This effacement/reabsorption happens, in the first instance, as the war machine has wedged a new machinic phylum across carbon- and non-carbon based life forms; secondly, and more dramatically, this process of effacement/absorption happens in the sense that humanity has stacked the odds against its long-term survival. The victory for this or that side of the global human population is no longer a presumptive goal in the context of an aerial imperium. As mentioned above once before, there are 50 million environmental refugees in 2010, and according to UN estimates there will be more than 200 million by 2050, marking an epoch of population culling if not also a set of re-divisions within the human species (Glenn and Gordon 2). In the eco-suicidal register that is coterminous with ENMOD by default, humanity itself becomes a side, a losing side, within a meshwork of trans-biotic agency that wins by enveloping its human other. Rather than being apparent as a category that might be divisible into simply national oppositions, so-called transnational war means that the human being is becoming barely traceable as a fading bio-political ideal. With the 1925 Geneva protocols against chemical warfare in mind, the International Committee of the Red Cross “urges [us] to…remember our common humanity” (International Committee of the Red Cross 3). Within the aerial empire, remembering humanity may be all we are going to have.
- Althusser, Louis. Reading Capital. London: Verso, 1999.
- Branfman, Fred. “Mass Assassinations Lie at the Heart of America’s Military Strategy in the Muslim World.” Alternet. Web. 24 August 2010. <http://www.alternet.org/story/147944/>.
- Byrne, John. “Military Death Cyborg Synergy Come True.” Rawstrory. Web. 7 July 2009. <http://rawstory.com/blog/2009/07/new-military-robots-could-feed-on-corpses>.
- Chossudovsky, Michel. “Weather Warfare.” Ecologist May 2008: 14–15.
- Colby, Gerard and Charlotte Dennett. Thy Will Be Done: The Conquest of the Amazon. New York: HarperCollins, 1996.
- Davis, Frederic E. “My Main Squeeze: Fractal Compression.” Wired. Web. <http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/1.05/fractal_pr.html>.
- De Landa, Manuel. War in the Age of Intelligent Machines. New York: Zone Books, 1991.
- ---. A Thousand Years of Non-linear History. New York: Zone Books, 1997.
- De Luce, Dan. “No Let-up in US Drone War in Pakistan.” Commondreams.org. Web. 21 July 2009. <http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2009/07/21-6>.
- Deleuze, Gilles and Felix Guattari. A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia. Trans. Brian Massumi. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1987.
- Drew, Christopher. “Military Budget Reflects a Shift in US Strategy.” The New York Times 7 April 2009. Web.< http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/07/us/politics/07/defense.html>.
- Ewald, Captain Johan. Diary of the American War. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1979.
- Editorial. New Scientist. July 15, 2009.
- Engelhardt, Tom. “Killing Civilians,” Tomgram. Web. 24 April 2009. <http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/print/175063/Tomgram%253A%>.
- ENMOD. The Convention on the Prohibition of Military or any Other Hostile use of Environmental Modification Techniques. Web. <http://www.sunshine-project.org/enmod/primer.html>.
- Fine, Gary Alan. Authors of the Storm: Meteorologists and the Culture of Prediction. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007.
- Fishman, Jack and Robert Kalish. The Weather Revolution. New York: Plenum Press, 1994.
- Gates, Robert. “US Global Leadership Campaign.” 15 July 2008. Web. <http://www.defenselink.mil/faq/comment.html>.
- Gleick, James. Chaos: Making a New Science. New York: Penguin, 1987.
- Glenn, Jerome C. and Theodore J. Gordon. 2007 State of the Future. Washington, DC: World Federation of the United Nations Associations and American Council for the United Nations University, 2007.
- Goodwin, Christopher. “Hunting Down the Taliban in Nevada.” The Sunday Times 22 Mar. 2009. Web. <http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/men/article5944961.ece>.
- Graham, Stephen. “US Military vs. Global South Cities.” Z Magazine. 20 July 2005. Web. <www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?S>.
- Haber, Ludwig Fritz. The Poisonous Cloud: Chemical Warfare in the First World War. London: Oxford University Press, 1986.
- Habermas, Jurgen. The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere. Cambridge: MIT Press, 1989.
- Halacy, D.S. The Weather Changers. New York: Harper and Row, 1968.
- Hallinann, Conn. “Who are the Shadow Warriors? Countries are getting Hit by Major Military Attacks, and No One is Taking Credit.” Foreign Policy in Focus. 28 May 2009. Web. <http://labs.daylife.com/journalist/conn_hallinan__foreign_policy_in_focus>.
- Hardt, Michael and Antonio Negri, The Multitude: War and Democracy in the Age of Empire. New York: Penguin, 2004.
- Harvey, David. The New Imperialism. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003.
- Hill, Mike. “The Crowded Text: E.P. Thompson, Adam Smith, and the Object of Eighteenth-century Writing.” English Literary History 69.2 (Summer 2002).
- ---. “‘Terrorists Are Human Beings’: Mapping the US Army’s ‘Human Terrain Systems’ Program,” The Future of the Human, special issue of Differences: A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies 20.2–5 (2009).
- Hitchcock, Peter. “The Failed State and the State of Failure.” Mediations 23.2 (Spring 2008): 70–87.
- House, Col. Tamzy J. et al. Weather as a Force Multiplier: Air Force 2025. August 1996. Web. <www.au.af.mil/au/2025>.
- Hsu, Spencer S. “Obama Integrates Security Councils.” The Washington Post 27 May 2009. Web. <http:www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/05>.
- Hunt, Julian. “China’s Growing Pains.” New Scientist 18 Aug. 2009: 22–23.
- International Committee of the Red Cross. “Preventing the Use of Biological and Chemical Weapons: 80 Years On.” 6 Oct. 2005. Web. <http:/www.icrc.org/web/eng/seteeng0.nsf/htmlall/gas-protocol100605>.
- International Herald Tribune. 29 June 29 1976: 2.
- James, Major Glen E. Chaos Theory: The Essentials for Military Applications. Navel War College: Newport Paper Number Ten, 1996.
- Johnson, Chalmers. “America’s Unwelcome Advances.” Mother Jones 22 Aug. 2008. Web. <http:://www.motherjones.com/print/15574>.
- ---. The Sorrows of Empire. New York: Metropolitan Books, 2004.
- Kolbert, Elizabeth. “The Catastrophist.” The New Yorker 29 June 2009: 42.
- Martin, Richard. “Mind Control,” Wired 13 March 2005. Web. <http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/13.03/brain_pr.html>.
- “Mexico deploys Israeli UAVs in War on Drug Cartels.” Homeland Security Newswire. 26 Aug. 2010. Web.<http://homelandsecuritynewswire.com/mexico-deploys-israeli-uavs-war-drug-cartels>.
- National Security Strategy of the United States of America. Falls Village, CT: Winterhouse Edition, 2002.
- Parks, Lisa. “Planet Patrol: Satellite Image, Acts of Knowledge, and Global Security.” Rethinking Global Security. Ed. Andrew Martin and Patrice Petro. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 2006.
- Parsons, Rymn J. Taking up the Security Challenge of Climate Change. Leavenworth, KS: Strategic Studies Institute, 2009.
- “Pentagon to Detail Plan to Bolster Security,” The Washington Post. Web. <http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/27989275>.
- “Re-engineering the Earth.” Editorial. New Scientist 29 July 2009: 7.
- Retort. Afflicted Powers: Capital and Spectacle in a New Age of War. London: Verso, 2005.
- Robertson, Nic. “How Robot Drones are Revolutionizing the Face of war.” CNN. 26 July 2009. Web.<http://www.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/americas/07/23/wus.warfare.remote.uav/>.
- Russell, Ruth. “The Nature of Military Impacts on the Environment.” Sierra Club, Air, Water, Earth, Fire. San Francisco: Sierra Club Special Publication, 1974.
- Shachtman, Noah. “Air Force to Unleash ‘Gorgon Stare.’” Wired 19 Feb. 2009. Web. <http://www.wired.com/dangeroom/2009/02/gorgon-stare/#more>.
- ---. “Strange New Air Force Facility Energizes Ionosphere.” Wired 20 July 2009. Web. <http://www.wired.com/print/seccurity/magazine/17-08/mf_haarp/>.
- Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. Ecological Consequences of the Second Indochina War. Stockholm: SIPRI, 1976.
- United States Army. Tactics in Counter InsurgencyCFM 3-24.2. Department of the Army: 2009.
- Vanderheiden, Steve. Ed. Political Theory and Global Climate Change. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2008.
- Virilio, Paul. Speed and Politics. Los Angeles: Semiotext[e], 2006.
- Whitnah, Donald R. A History of the United States Weather Bureau. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1961.
- Wood, Ellen Meiksins. Empire of Capital. London: Verso, 2003.
- For the economic side of this debate, see Harvey and Wood.
- The Fiscal Year 2008 National Defense Authorization Act, Public Law 110-181, section 951, amends 10 U.S. Code § 118 to require that the next national security strategy and national defense strategy include guidance for military planners on the risks of climate change, and that the next quadrennial defense review examine capabilities the armed forces will need to respond to climate change.
- On the physical reality of US militarism in the form of foreign bases, see Johnson.
- Not surprisingly, in 2010 Mexico adopted an Israeli supplied drone war program to battle its own drug cartel insurgence. See “Mexico deploys Israeli UAVs in War on Drug Cartels.”
- On the Northern Command, see “Pentagon to Detail Plan to Bolster Security.”
- For an excellent example of the colonial revolutionary warrior in US history, see Ewald.
- The important question of the failed state cannot be addressed in this short space. But see Hitchcock.
- For Habermas, the “human being per se” furnished the political self-understanding of the bourgeois public sphere. See 29 ff.
- On the Helio Courier, see Colby and Dennett 69, 282.
- UAV specifications in this section are taken from House, et. al. On drone specs, see De Luce.
- By some estimates US air strikes in the “long war” have killed 85 per cent women and children. See Engelhardt.
- See Drew.
- On the EATR program, see Byrne.
- On “autogenic war,” see Hill.
- See Virilio 73 ff.
- See Martin.
- See Davis.
- On the latency and image, see Parks 137.
- I have explored the changes around the concept of humanity and contemporary war doctrine in a special issue of Differences called “The Future of the Human.” See my “‘Terrorists Are Human Beings’: Mapping the US Army’s ‘Human Terrain Systems’ Program.”
- Adam Smith is an apt figure in post-structuralist variations on the Marxist tradition. See Louis Althusser’s discussion of Marx’s reading of Smith. See also my “The Crowded Text: E.P. Thompson, Adam Smith, and the Object of Eighteenth-century Writing.”
- See Russell.
- See Haber.
- See Fishman and Kalish.
- For a detailed account of American environmental war efforts and their effects in Indochina, see Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.
- This assault on Cuba occurred according to former DOD consultant Lowell Ponte. Pentagon sources deny such operations. See the International Herald Tribune.
- See H.A.A.R.P.
- See Shachtman and Chossudovsky.
- See also Hunt.
- The locus classicus for this text and other chaos-oriented war doctrine is James Gleick’s bestseller, Chaos: Making a New Science.