July 9, 2012

Pictures from the Drone War: America's Kill Box

I love the color. I love the wheels. I love the fat snaking cables. I love the orange cone. I love that there’s no branding or markings except for the insignia and number on the door. I love the light poles in conversation with the antennae. I love that there’s not a cloud in the sky.

Now can I be ill?

I know everybody paints this scene, but it’s just so apt … the one starting with the guy rolling out of bed in the hot and monotonous Vegas exurbs, driving out to the base, parking, entering the box (or “the cockpit,” I guess they say), quickly re-habituating to the screens and the joysticks then transmogrifying into a rabbit-sized pilot — all the while accounting for that little “latency”/time delay problem they’re still working out – and then rocking and rolling, flying and frying over Afghanistan or Pakistan.

Admittedly, I haven’t searched through photo essays to find like images but the NYT Mag sure put it front and center with these photos (this one, in particular) by Sean Hemmerle. Here’s the link to the article led off by the slideshow.

And just to illustrate how much our commercial (and political) culture can so seamlessly synchronize with the imagery of remote-controlled death, I wanted to share this screenshot I took from the article. (You can click for full size.)

To the side, you have an ad for “micro” helicopters. On their site, they also have:

“.. a bundle two sets of Air Raptor helicopters, for pilots to battle each other in the sky! It is designed with infrared sensor detection system to simulate missile shooting.”

And then, if you happen to win dinner with Barack, (just like the guy in the box) your airfare is covered.

(photo: Sean Hemmerle for The New York Times. caption:  Containers at Holloman, inside which pilots fly the aircraft remotely.)

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Michael Shaw
See other posts by Michael here.

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