When the war machine produces its enemies: making sense of the Afghan situation through British airpower
WASINSKI Christophe, Critical Military Sudies, Routeldge, Published online: 21 Dec 2017, Pages 1-18
How is the protracted and non-decisive Afghan conflict understood by the British military personnel in charge of air support? Based on a study of autobiographical sources and relying on Bruno Latour’s anthropological work, this article argues that personnel produce a specific self-justificatory culture based on what can be achieved by the technologies (ammunition, weapons, aircraft) used. This article highlights how technologies become an ‘actant’, influencing the way air personnel elaborate representations of their role and their enemies. More specifically, this analysis underlines how airpower technologies contribute to the framing of Others as depoliticized enemies (i.e. targets) to be destroyed by machines. Machines and weapons are not neutral instruments but rather devices that participate in the normalization of the use of force.