Mechanical Distance (Example: Drone Strikes)
Which includes the sterile Nintendo-game unreality of killing through a TV screen, a thermal sight, a sniper sight, or some other kind of mechanical buffer that permits the killer to deny the humanity of his victim. Social distance is generally fadi... ng as a form of killing enabling in Western war. But even as it disappears in this more egalitarian age, it is being replaced by a new, technologically based form of psychological distance. During the Gulf War this was referred to as "Nintendo warfare," which evolved into "video game combat" in Iraq and Afghanistan. The infantry kills the enemy up close and personal, but in recent decades the nature of this close-in battle has changed significantly. Until the 1980s in the U.S. Army the night sight was a rare and exotic piece of equipment. Now we fight primarily at night, and 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 light. Thus it works to s~ through rain, fog, and smoke. It permits you to perceive through camouflage, and it makes 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 green blob. The complete integration of thermal-imagery technology into the modern battlefield has extended to daylight hours ~he mechanical distance process that currently exists during the night. Now, in many cases, the battlefield appears to every soldier as it did to Gad, an Israeli tank gunner who told Holmes that "you see it all as if it were happening on a TV screen .... It occurred to me at the time; I see someone running and I shoot at him, and he falls, and it all looks like something on TV. I don't see people, that's one good thing about it.