13 July 2012

Mechanical/Technological Distance

On Killing by LtCol Dave Grossman, 2009, Excerpts

There is a thermal-imagery device or a night-vision device for almost every combat soldier. Thermal imagery “sees” the heat emitted by a body as if it were bright. Thus it works to see through rain, fog, and smoke. It permits you to perceive through camouflage, and it make it possible to detect enemy soldiers deep in wood lines and vegetation that would once have completely concealed them.

Night-vision devices provide a superb form of psychological distance by converting the target into an inhuman blob. The complete integration of thermal-imagery technology into the modern battlefield has extended to daylight hours the mechanical distance process that currently exists during the night. Now the battlefield appears to every soldier as it were happening on a TV screen. “I see someone running and I shoot at him and he falls, and it all looks like something on TV.” Nintendo warfare has evolved into video game combat in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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