Michael Benson on 17 Mar 2001 15:34:23 -0000

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[Nettime-bold] Re: <nettime> Armor, Amour

This thread is interesting, in the way these powerless discussions that
sometimes unfold can be interesting, even as decisions are made that are so
far from even referencing the popular will that they may as well be taking
place on Mount Olympus. I think everyone -- Jordan, Ted, Schultz -- brought
some interesting views to it. But I would suggest that approaching the
subject through the prism of what this so-called defensive shield _says_ it
is (armor, old or new; protection; SDI, prophylactic or otherwise) is
fundamentally mistaken. This particular concept of protection bears about as
much interest in establishing an actual functional strategic defense against
missiles as the Bush governor's office did in establishing the true will of
the people of Florida in the last presidential election. (The failure of
_all_ the actual tests of the incipient system, even the ones where they
tweaked the odds in favor of the intercepting missiles, was a notorious
embarrassment in Washington over the last few years. Add to that the
well-documented accounts by whistle-blowers from inside the defense
industry, which attested to a massive campaign of deception by the
contractors that their technology was working, and you have the makings of a
fiasco much worse than the ongoing one concerning that Marine Corps
tilt-rotor aircraft the Osprey. You know the one -- it has so far killed
more Marines than have died in combat since the bombing of that Beirut
barracks in the early 80's). This is not "less a shield and more a weapon,"
at least not according to the literal dictionary definition of a weapon. As
Ted suggests, it's more about something imaginary -- in the same way that
the value of money is imaginary. So to pull a phrase from Oliver Stone's
JFK, the only way to establish the truth here is to "follow the money."
Looking for the amour side? Then let's view the "money shot" -- which is not
about the pornographic orgasmic expression of a woman on the plane landing
at Ronald Reagan Airport (appropriate though that may be), and is certainly
not about repelling all those potential warheads from "rogue states" which
would never dare launch in the direction of the US anyway. (Why do that when
it would be so much easier to import a suit-case sized bomb, position it in
some Washington or NY basement, and issue an anonymous ultimatum? If X tons
of cocaine make their way into the US every week, what's the problem
sneaking a small nuke in?) No, the money shot here is of course entirely
about the cash itself, that very same stuff with the English and Latin
inscriptions on it, and with those anti-warhead warheads nothing but
multiple independently targeted money delivery vehicles (MITMDV). Their
willing targets paid richly for that status by throwing fist-fulls of
C-notes into the immense open wallet of the Bush campaign over the last two
years, and now they'll get a massive return on their investment, the most
orgasmic of monetary bull's-eyes in fact, whether or not the damn things can
hit even a barn-sized hot air balloon with a target painted on its side.

But I'm wanted back at the park.


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