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'Accidents don't just happen: the liberal politics of high-tech humanitarian war'
journal contributionposted on 2023-06-07, 17:32 authored by Patricia Owens
From the bombing of Serb residential neighbourhoods to the destruction of Afghan refugee convoys, a series of dramatic events in recent military campaigns have come to be labelled 'accidents'. From the vantage point of a wider cultural and political history of technology, this article suggests that civilian deaths are being constructed as permissible, not impermissible, when normalised as 'accidents'. For while the number of 'accidents' involving civilian death may increasingly be known and the potential of high-tech warfare to produce disaster may also be recognised, small massacres of civilian populations are nonetheless - and perhaps necessarily- becoming normalised as part of the post-9.11 order of entrepreneurial (pre-emptive) war. Some of the most important military dimensions of recent campaigns - 'accidents' in which civilians or Western military personnel were killed or injured - need to be understood as both technological acts and spaces of political subjectivity partly productive of liberal-state 'humanitarian' war as currently conceived.
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- International Relations Publications
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