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Late modern warfare is increasingly characterized by “the technical ability and the ethical imperative to threaten violence from a distance and, if necessary, to implement it – with no or minimal losses” (Der Derian 2009, xxi). The term remote warfare was coined to capture this process in which states and societies of the global north increasingly distance the effects of war. New technologies like drones and actors like private military and security companies (PMSCs) and special forces are a fundamental feature to enable such types of warfare, and their importance has attracted increasing attention (Chamayou 2015). In this chapter we will focus on what The Derian called the “ethical imperative”. This imperative, we argue, underpins the commitment to forms of remote warfare and actively shapes the direction and focus of the techniques used. In order to think about long-distance warfare, one needs to recognize the normative engagement that underlies this type of war. This is a commitment that clearly emerges from defining remote warfare as a set of methods and approaches, such as the use of proxies, special forces, PMSCs and drones to counter threats at some distance(Watts and Biegon 2017). The chapter focuses on the ethical imperative that perpetuates the process of distancing by considering the normative engagement embedded in forms of remote warfare. To this end, we examine the socio-political effects of remote warfare on intervening states that have so far only attracted limited attention from scholars.
Recent literature on remote warfare, or variously referred to as “liquid warfare” (Demmers and Gould 2018), “substitute warfare” (Krieg and Rickli 2018), and “vicarious warfare” (Waldman 2018), focuses primarily on the spaces and times in which distant forms of warfare are put into effect. In doing so, the literature has moved away from an analysis of the legal and technical aspects of long-distance warfare (see Rae 2014; Boyle 2015) and turned to the socio-political effects of this form of warfare on the everyday social realities of the people living in the areas where long-distance war takes place .
Studies have shown how remote warfare affects lived reality in theaters (Calhoun 2018), how drone strikes undermine the legitimacy of states and governments at the end of these interventions (Boyle 2013), and how PMSCs blur the distinction between civilians and combatants that expanded the space of the battlefield, blurring its boundaries (Kinsey 2006), highlighting how intervening states increasingly privilege long-range air strikes and the training of local forces through long-term state-building processes that adversely affect local security (Kaldor) 2012, 151–184; Knowles and Watson 2018). In showing how long-distance warfare helps make war a permanent socio-political condition for people living near these interventions, this literature offers a strong criticism of this method of engagement. Indeed, the sociopolitical effect of remote warfare in making war a permanent state of affairs for disadvantaged areas and times makes remote warfare anything but remote. War is always present in space and time rather than expressions such as “Everywhere War” (Gregory 2011) and “Forever War” (Filkins 2008) capture.
However, the socio-political effects of remote warfare on the states and societies from which it originates have received only limited attention. This chapter addresses this overlooked aspect by analyzing the sociopolitical implications of the apparent absence of war on intervener societies. Our argument runs in three steps.
First, by focusing on the etymology of the term “distant,” we find that distant involves not only physical distancing, but also a specific normative obligation to time the states in which distant interventions take place, them than to shape morally backwards and thereby pave the ground for military intervention. Second, we show that remote warfare challenges the traditional methods that societies in the global north have used to sustain their nation-building projects through the establishment of a collective identity based on / in victims (Kahn 2013; Taussig-Rubbo 2009) . Third, we analyze the practice of military outsourcing as an instrument of remote warfare. In particular, we show how outsourcing death to private proxy exposes the way neoliberal states are renegotiating the meaning of what it means to sacrifice for the collective identity that the nation has historically expressed.
Space and Time of Remote Warfare
As stated above, remote warfare contains the ethical imperative for remote warfare. Indeed, the act of distancing is clearly hidden within the term itself: remote control War. The etymology of “remote” enables us to shed light on the normative dimension of remote warfare by revealing that remote includes both spatial and temporal distancing. Etymology is a useful tool in this regard, as it reveals the full range of different meanings a term can have and thus “contributes to understanding the performativity of language in shaping the world in which“ we ”live” (Riemann 2014), 3).
Remote, etymologically derived from the Latin adjective “remotus” for “distant in place, distant, set aside, removed”, shows how the term expresses the spatial logic that maintains remote warfare (Castiglioni and Mariotti 1996, 1097). As such, far in space means the obligation to distance the war “over here” while maintaining the ability to fight it “over there”. Until September 11th, elements of this spatial logic were expressed in the presentation of the Bush Doctrine of Prevention, based on the thesis that “we will fight them there so that we do not have to face them in the US” (Bush 2007 ). This approach of waging long-distance wars has continued with the expansion of the US drone program by the Obama administration and has intensified since Trump took office (Rosenthal and Schulman 2018). In addition to its spatial logic, the meaning of “distance” contained in the term long-distance warfare also contains a temporal quality. New technologies, for example, enable the interveners not only to “move further away from the target of military operations in terms of time and space” (Ohlin 2017, 2), but also “to get here in near real time” (Der Derian 2009, xxxi). Using virtual technology to conduct military operations remotely with near veracity, however, is not the only temporal aspect of remote warfare.
We argue that the distance in time is also associated with notions of underdevelopment, civilizational standards, and notions of backwardness that are often associated with the places where distant warfare takes place. This temporal connotation is deeply embedded in the term remote, although contemporary English privileges the spatial dimension of the word. The etymology of Remote is again indicative, like Latin Remotus refers to ‘temporal distance “, but also ‘different, unfavorable, strange“(Zalli 1830, 492-493). Even in English, both the temporal and the aspect of difference were incorporated into its meaning by the nineteenth century. Samuel Johnsons (1828, 286) A dictionary of the English language illustrates this as it is remote as “1. Temporally distant, not immediately, 2. Far on the spot… 4. Foreign… 6. Extra-terrestrial; disagreeing. “What we find in remote warfare is therefore what Barry Hindess (2007) characterized as the“ temporality of difference ”through which certain contemporaries and the spaces in which they live are assigned to an earlier period. In addition, subjects in these “backward” spaces are portrayed as morally bankrupt and differ fundamentally from their contemporaries (ibid., 325–326).
The term “distant” thus simply hides the way in which subjects and spaces in which distant interventions take place are constructed as backward in time and distant in time through the process of temporalization. And it is precisely this temporalization that makes these topics and spaces “targeted”. This is most evident in relation to discourses about fragile and failing states, which form the background for most remote interventions (Fernández and Estevez 2017, 149; Watts and Biegon 2017); Waldmann 2017). Debates about these spaces use a variety of metaphors and features to localize fragile states on a temporal scale in which they are differently defined as “medieval” (Forrest 1994) and belong to a Hobbesian state of nature that precedes the social contract ( Kaplan 1994). or simply “premodern” (Cooper 2003). Such representations “reduce the difference by interpreting it as backwardness” and de-legitimize these spaces “through an explicit or implicit comparison with identities that are more advanced in time” (Moreno 2015, 72). In addition, these “discursive practices based on a Eurocentric account construct the“ failed state ”as deviant” and thus create “favorable conditions for interventionist practices” (Moreno 2015, 1).
Rita Abrahamsen (2005) observed the openness of these interventionist practices in the discursive change in fragile states that occurred after September 11th. Where earlier “development” and “humanitarianism” were key terms in debates about fragile states, these have gradually been replaced by an insistence on categories of risk, fear and threat that must be continually narrowed down in order to protect temporally advanced spaces (ibid.). The spatial and temporal logic of remote warfare therefore contains the normative obligation to remove war from some privileged spaces and times, even at the expense of transforming the war into a permanent social condition for disadvantaged spaces and times. In this way, remote warfare creates a radical duality between spaces and times in which war is persistent and spaces and times from which it is removed. In other words, from the perspective of societies in the Global North, the effects of “waging war” are made invisible and its costs are largely passed on to societies that have become the subject of distant forms of intervention.
The normative commitment to remove war from “Western” societies, however, is neither undisputed nor without consequences. First, because this attempt is consistently resisted. Terrorist attacks carried out in the “West”, for example, have often been viewed as retaliation for Western military interventions, including those labeled as remote warfare. For example, the Islamic State has repeatedly justified attacks within Western societies as a direct reaction to what is happening in the theaters of remote warfare (Greenwald 2016). Second, remote warfare does not leave the societies from which it originates untouched. Critical science has been instrumental in uncovering the profound political and legal impact of remote warfare on liberal democracies, such as the lack of democratic accountability in the conduct of these wars (Baggiarini 2015; Chamayou 2015) and the increasing use of emergency / exception laws (Neal 2010 , 2015). Critical terrorism studies revealed the profound sociopolitical effects of remote warfare in Western countries by raising awareness of the militarization of internal security and the use of techniques that lead from COIN abroad to counter-terrorism at home (Owens 2015; Dunlap 2016; Sabir 2017) .
The way in which Muslim communities in Western societies are increasingly targeted by security practices such as surveillance, stigma and policing is a case in point (Awan 2011), suggesting that remote warfare effects for some sections of the population in “Western” are far from removed. The above reasons show the importance of examining how the normative commitment to conducting long-distance wars has concrete sociopolitical implications for the societies from which war is supposedly being removed. In the remainder of this chapter, we turn to the question of how remote warfare affects a key component of modern statehood building: the link between citizenship and victim (Hutchinson 2017).
Holy Soldier Bodies and the Link between Citizenship and Sacrifice
Max Weber (2009, 78) famously defined the state as “a community that successfully claims the monopoly of the legitimate use of force in a particular area”. However, a single focus on the physical / material aspects in Weber’s definition overlooks his involvement with the emotional foundations of political authority / community. in the Religious rejections of the world and their directionsWeber (2009, 335) highlights the important emotional foundations of the legitimation of violence and argues that “the place of death within a series of meaningful and sacred events is ultimately the basis of all efforts to support the autonomous dignity of the dormant community based on violence. “Victim authority therefore underlies the political authority and power of the state (Marvin 2014). Bargu (2014, 124) calls this emotional basis of Weber’s monopoly on violence Monopsony the victim. Monopsony comes from ancient Greek Monos (Single) and Opsonia (Purchase). Such as, ‘[b]Building on Weber, we can say that the modern state is not just the sole provider of legitimate violence; it is also the only recipient of political self-sacrifice ”(Bargu 2014, 124).
Nationalism connects the individual sacrifice with the state and implies “a transfer of authority and meaning from God to the original peoples and their cultures” (Hutchinson 2017, 9). In war this has a particularly strong meaning: “When cults of the national dead are powerful and extol that those who die will live forever in the memory of the nation” (ibid.). Military remembrance rituals express this connection by creating, in the words of Hutchinson (ibid., 3–4) “a feeling of togetherness within the group”. For example, in 2018, nations around the world commemorated the centenary of the end of World War I (1914-1918).
The focus of these memorial events was the memory of the deceased, with a special focus on military deaths. In London, for example, parts of the gigantic artwork of 888,246 poppies that flooded the Tower of London in 2014 were on display, each poppy representing a fallen member of the British armed forces. Such events are an integral part of the construction of national narratives, as the memory of the deceased creates a sense of unity and national belonging (Marvin and Ingle 1996), which in turn establishes a relational identity between citizen and state.
In the words of Jens Bartelson (1995, 189): “The modern subject and the modern state are connected in knowledge, and the concepts of nation and community are used to express their unity.” Nationalism, such as David Campbell (1992, 11). has argued, must therefore be understood as one of the many ways by which the modern state pursues its legitimacy. Roxanne Doty (1996) argues in a similar way, claiming that state sovereignty is endorsed and expressed in national identity.
Military remembrance rituals thus have a constitutive function in the production and reproduction of sovereign claims and the creation of national identities. In particular, memorial rituals contribute to the ontological security of the state. Ontological security differs from physical security in that it is “not from the body, but from the self, the subjective feeling of who one is” (Mitzen 2006, 344). Ontological security is of essential importance for body politics, since it gives rise to its “ability to freely choose” (ibid.). Remembrance rituals are therefore of crucial importance for the establishment of claims to political identity and authority, since they establish the constitutive connection between self-sacrifice and a collective sense of identity. Soldiers play a prominent role in the establishment of political authority by the state, since the idea of the nation and thus the modern concept of citizenship is inextricably linked with the idea of the soldier as a prerequisite for civil rights (Janowitz 1976; Millar) 2015; Kier and Krebs 2010).
The idea that military service is a prerequisite for citizenship arose from the thinking of the French Revolution (Janowitz 1976; Heuser 2010; Osman 2015). During this period, we must also locate the origin of the soldier’s death perceived as a victim (Denton-Borhaug 2011; Riemann 2014; Baggiarini 2014; Baggiarini 2015). Regarding the French Revolution, Durkheim noted that the suitability of a community
Establishing yourself as a god or creating gods has never been more evident than in the early years of the French Revolution. At this time […] Under the influence of general enthusiasm, purely lay things were transformed into sacred things by public opinion: these were the fatherland, freedom, reason.
(Durkheim 2009, 116)
That holiness was then conferred in due course on the actor, who took an oath to protect these sacred abstractions. This actor was the citizen who, only as a soldier in the national armed forces, could defend the community that guaranteed his citizenship. However, it is not the act of defending this abstraction, but rather dying in defense of it, that gives the nation, and hence state sovereignty, a veneer of legitimacy and political authority. Paul Kahn (2010, 205) expresses this vividly: “We preserve the nation by sacrificing the sons.” National identity, citizenship and sacrifice are thus closely linked (Baggiarini 2015), and as such the sacrifice plays a key role the constitution of political authority. However, the historical connection between citizenship and victim is increasingly being called into question by outsourcing practices (Riemann, 2014; Baggiarini, 2015).
Military Outsourcing and the Absence of Death
One of the central elements of remote warfare is to shift the burden of risk and responsibility onto others, thereby increasingly externalizing the burden of war (Krieg 2016). This in no way means that such practices have no historical precedent. Barkawi (2010) warns us not to be aware of the international context of the relationships between the state, armed forces, and territories that maintain the nation-state-centered monopoly of force. Subordinate agents such as colonial soldiers were not only used to fight European wars, but also to monitor the vast European colonial empires (Barkawi 2010). Remote warfare reinforces these long-term tendencies, however, as “Western” societies increasingly shift the burden of war to external actors while removing the combat experience from their own nationals.
While colonial forces were used in both world wars to strengthen the “western” armed forces, the “western” armed forces were still busy fighting and dying. Today’s wars, as they come under the label of remote warfare, show, however, a decreasing commitment of “Western” societies to accept losses and consequently wars. To capture this change, several scholars over the past two decades have argued that Western societies have entered a “post-heroic age” (Lutwack 1995; Coker 2002). Although this term has received much criticism (Frisk 2017), societies of the global north are increasingly delegating security tasks to a number of representatives outside the regular armed forces in order to protect their own societies from the effects of war while they continue to engage in military activities abroad (Bruneau 2013; Mumford 2013). PMSCs play a key role in this regard, enabling states to wage war remotely in such a way as to obscure the presence of the war (Schooner and Swan 2012). Media coverage of contractor deaths illustrates this point.
While every regular military death is covered extensively in the press, deaths from contractors receive limited attention. The Washington Post The Faces of the Fallen website is a case in point (Washington Post n.d.). This website “not only identifies deceased soldiers, but humanizes any loss with a photo, biographical information and a description of the final action of each service member” (Schooner and Swan 2010, 16). However, information on contractor deaths does not appear to be of particular interest to companies discontinuing their services as the “faces” of fallen contractors are omitted from this website. A message that appeared in the American media in late summer 2004 confirms this. The victims in the US were found to have passed the 1,000 death mark, which put great pressure on the Bush administration. What was missing from this story, however, was the blunt reality that such numbers would long have passed if contractor deaths had been taken into account (Singer 2004, 10). With regard to the theaters in Iraq and Afghanistan, Schooner and Swan found in 2010 that in these conflicts “contractor deaths now account for over 25 percent of all deaths in the US” (Schooner and Swan 2010, 16). However, it is more than possible that contractor deaths are far higher as there is no evidence that deaths outside of the US have been reliably tracked. As such, Schooner and Swan (2012, 3) conclude that[o]On the modern battlefield, contractor workers are dying at rates similar to soldiers – and sometimes above them. “
Even so, the losses suffered by the contractors go unnoticed. As Avant and Sigelman (2010, 256) note, “There is no running number of contractor deaths on the network news or on the DOD website. Photos of PMSC employees who have died in Iraq are not part of the “roll of honor” that was flashed on the screen at the end of the year PBS News HourSome of the effects of non-recognition of fatalities by contractors have already been highlighted. Because contractor victims often escape public attention, they protect policy makers from negative press (Avant and Sigelman, 2010, 243–249; Schooner 2008, 78–91) while reducing the “political and financial costs of interventions through desensitization of the local population ”(Porch 2014, 700) in order to reduce possible public opposition and circumvent public supervision (Knowles and Watson 2017).
We argue that externalizing the burdens of war to private contractors not only offers the state potential savings in obscuring the real cost of war, but also presents a very real challenge to the state’s political authority, as the next section shows.
Private military corps and the relocation of victims
Having identified the role of victims in the construction of sovereign claims and the increasing outsourcing of victims by states, let us now turn to the implications that the increasing reliance on apparently non-self-sacrificing actors in pursuing distant forms of warfare has on political authority of has states. Three effects stand out in this regard.
First, remote warfare weakens the relationship between citizenship, sacrifice, and national identity by removing death from the equation of war. As the above analysis has shown, through the commemoration of certain soldiers’ bodies, the state can express the unity of certain citizens living within the common territorial boundaries of the state. The soldier’s corpse is therefore a powerful tool that expresses the unity of man and state articulated in relation to the victim-based national identity. The trust in non-self-sacrificing actors threatens to break through this unity, since their profane death does not bring about the necessary collective remembrance practices that “secure the unity of the“ imagined (national) community ”and the related narratives and rituals in the face of sometimes acute social divisions “(Ashplant 2000, 263).
Second, the invisibility of death through the increasing outsourcing of victims threatens not only the national identity of citizens but also the institution of the state itself, since the victim is at the center of the violence-based community. In the words of Carolyn Marvin and David Ingle (1996, 4); “Without the memory of blood sacrifices, the nation-state cannot exist, or at least not for long.” Or to put it another way by Paul Kahn (2011, 153): “Without sacrifice there is no sovereign.” The potential savings for states directing remote warfare through outsourcing practices, in terms of blood and treasure, therefore creates significant overlooked costs associated with building political authority.
Third, and most importantly, although remote warfare increasingly rules out public deaths, victims and, consequently, sovereignty do not disappear but shift. At first glance, contractors could be framed to match Agamben’s articulation of Homo Saceras actors who can be killed but not sacrificed (Nikolopoulou, Agamben and Heller-Roazen 2007). While contractor deaths lack the state-sanctioned component of the victim, it would be misleading to conceptualize these actors as such Homo Sacer. Instead of a lack of sacralization, we find a shift and realignment of the victim. Taussig-Rubbo (2012) identified the first points of this reformulation in his analysis of the military medal system, in which medals such as the US Purple Heart function as a public honor that recognizes victims.
The award was originally restricted to members of the armed forces, but a privatized commemorative economy is emerging. For example, in 2008 Blackwater introduced the Worldwide Defense of Liberty Medal, which recognized the victims of killed or wounded contractors, and the US government approved contractors as civilians for public honor (Taussig-Rubbo 2009). The “deaths” can be called “victims” and recognized as deaths in the name of the nation, but the ceremonies at which these awards are presented are often private events and exclude the media “(Taussig-Rubbo 2012, 316). In this respect, recognition by both the state and the private sector “share the difficulty of being neither public nor private events” (Taussig-Rubbo 2009, 124). We argue that the “awkwardness” of this newly emerging privatized and state-sanctioned medal system has the function of reshaping the state and inscribing the logic of the market into it. Die Fähigkeit von Blackwater, beispielsweise 2007 in einem Gerichtsverfahren darauf zu bestehen, dass es sich sowohl um ein privates Unternehmen als auch um einen Teil der souveränen Körperschaft handelt, ist ein typisches Beispiel (Taussig-Rubbo 2009, 134–135). Die Fernkriegsführung verschiebt damit den Ort der Souveränität, anstatt ihn zu untergraben. Es ist dieser Gedenkaspekt, der PMCs von anderen nichtmenschlichen Mitteln unterscheidet, die darauf abzielen, den Krieg fernzuhalten, wie zum Beispiel Drohnen.
Baggiarini (2015, 130) hat festgestellt, dass der Einsatz von Drohnen eine “logische Erweiterung” der Rationalität der militärischen Privatisierung auf der Suche nach einem “unblutigen” Krieg auf der Seite des “Westens” darstellt. Sie macht den gültigen Punkt geltend, dass die Die Privatisierung von Krieg und Drohnen reagiert auf das gleiche Bestreben, die Auswirkungen des Krieges aus den Gesellschaften und den politischen Körperschaften, aus denen sie stammen, zu entfernen und das Opfer von der Körperpolitik zu trennen. Die gesellschaftspolitischen Auswirkungen der militärischen Privatisierung und des Einsatzes von Drohnen sind jedoch sehr unterschiedlich. Einfach ausgedrückt, während Drohnen nicht sterben können, können private Auftragnehmer. Anstelle einer Ausrottung des Todes finden wir eher eine Verlagerung des Todes. Wenn dieser grundlegende Unterschied nicht berücksichtigt wird, besteht die Gefahr, dass die unterschiedlichen gesellschaftspolitischen Auswirkungen der Vertreibung des Todes auf die staatliche Souveränität ignoriert werden. Während bei Drohnenangriffen die Opferkomponente entfernt wird, verlagert die Privatisierung sie vom Staat auf den Markt.
Dieses Kapitel begann mit der Auseinandersetzung mit dem normativen Engagement, das im Begriff „Fernkriegsführung“ verborgen ist. Das normative Engagement des Fernkriegs ist der Versuch, den Krieg aus bestimmten privilegierten Räumen und Zeiten zu entfernen, selbst um den Preis der Aufrechterhaltung eines beständigen und grenzenlosen Zustands von Krieg anderswo. Während Definitionen wie „Überall Krieg“ und „Für immer Krieg“ effektiv aufzeigen, wie Fernkrieg zur Ausweitung des Krieges in Zeit und Raum beiträgt, besteht bei diesen Terminologien die Gefahr, dass die zentrale Bedeutung der normativen Verpflichtung zur Entfernung von Krieg aus privilegierten Räumen und Zeiten übersehen wird. Wir haben dieses normative Engagement durch eine Analyse der Etymologie des Wortes Remote demonstriert, die das Engagement für räumliche und zeitliche Distanzierung impliziert. Remote Warfare ist somit Ausdruck einer radikalen Dualität, in der Krieg aus dem Raum und der Zeit des Selbst entfernt werden muss, während er in den Raum und die Zeit des „Anderen“ verlagert wird.
Nachdem wir dieses normative Engagement aufgedeckt hatten, argumentierten wir auch, dass der Versuch, den Krieg zu beseitigen, wichtige gesellschaftspolitische Auswirkungen auf die Staaten und Gesellschaften hat, die aus der Ferne Krieg führen. Wir haben diese Auswirkungen untersucht, indem wir analysiert haben, wie der zunehmende Einsatz privater Militär- und Sicherheitsunternehmen ein Versuch ist, den Tod auszulagern und unsichtbar zu machen. Wir argumentieren, dass dieser Prozess die Verbindung zwischen dem Staat und seinen Bürgern untergräbt, die durch die imaginäre Form des Nationalstaates ausgedrückt wird, in der das außergewöhnliche und gedachte Opfer des Soldaten eine zentrale konstitutive Rolle für Ansprüche auf staatliche Souveränität spielt. Dies unterscheidet sich jedoch vom Einsatz unbemannter Drohnen, da durch das Auslagern des Todes an private Auftragnehmer Opfer nicht beseitigt, sondern nur verdrängt werden. Dieser fortlaufende Prozess der Verlagerung des Todes vom Staat auf den Markt verdient weitere Untersuchungen.
 Bilder und eine Beschreibung dieser Installation finden Sie unter: http://www.hrp.org.uk/tower-of-london/history-and-stories/tower-of-london-remembers/
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