Different Skies
close article
An Airconditioned Bunker Somewhere in Nevada: some notes on war and cinemaAlistair Cartwright

War has the strange habit of changing names. Truth being its first casualty is an old truism, but more than this, war involves a substitution of names. Deception comes after reality, whereas substitution precedes it. The fact that My Lai was only code for a whole series of villages in Vietnam is a perfect example.1 First the name is altered for strategic purposes – on the map, designating an area – then it is altered in reality, in execution. Flanders, Dresden, My Lai, Granai, Fallujah, Haditha – these are all substitutions. Above all, war substitutes the names of places for the names of people. Sometimes instead of places it makes use of dates, or it combines the two together (we talk about Palestine 1948 and Palestine 1967).

Now we can add to that list the names Balandi and Alokzai – Kandahar, Afghanistan, March 11th 2012. We did eventually learn the name of the soldier who carried out the massacre, but the 17 people killed remain nameless. Our media also named one of the survivors, Mohammed Zahir, whose testimony added certain details missing from the original reports: that people were forced to watch, that bodies were set on fire, that the soldier laughed, and perhaps most importantly, that allegedly there was more than one of him.

Two days later (March 13th) we learn that a British Soldier has murdered his girlfriend in Manchester. The philosopher Gilles Deleuze once talked about the existence of a ‘prison in the prison’, a whole system of arbitrary and additional punishment taking place inside of the prison itself, the classic example being solitary confinement. ‘Everybody knew about [it] but nobody saw it’.2 In the same vein, perhaps we can talk about a war within the war, something that goes beyond the conventional dimensions of missions, surges, fighting seasons or negotiations – all the landmarks that allow us to talk about a war as a more or less discreet historical event.

Deleuze’s reference to the prison in the prison was made to illustrate a particular quality about the work of Michel Foucault. The particular quality was a quality of vision. In a crude kind of way it makes perfect sense that someone who wrote about panopticons and diagnostics should be referred to the faculty of sight. But the same reference comes up again later. In the Cinema books we read that one of the key features of postwar film is the figure of the seer. Deleuze’s classic example is the middle class woman in Rosselini’s Europe 51, ‘who, following the death of her child crosses various spaces and experiences the tenement, the slum and the factory’. She sees the workers entering at the call of a siren, but what she tells us is: ‘I thought I was seeing convicts’.3 There are many other examples, and Italian Neorealism, emerging as it did in the ruins of Europe, is particularly full of such shell-shocked, wide-eyed characters. But Deleuze was not just talking about characters endowed with a strange or heightened power of vision. He was describing a general condition of cinema, and perhaps, at the limit, a condition of the world. If the whole of cinema – that most indexically powerful or ontologically naturalistic of media, the exemplary vision of the modern world – is from here on in about seeing in this way, then it becomes very clear that what we are talking about is not exceptional, not something visionary in the usual sense, but in a way something ordinary. The thing seen is not hidden or buried but there for all to see.

This is what Deleuze meant when he called Foucault a seer, and when he talked about the prison in the prison. If you wanted to identify the presence of a war within the war you could list things like: the prevalence of birth defects in Iraq (up 20% since the war began); opium and heroin addiction among the Afghan population (2.7% in 2009, or over 25 times as high as in the UK); the number of injuries suffered by NATO troops (as opposed to fatalities); the number of soldiers going AWOL (for the UK, over 17,000 since 2003); the number of soliders serving prison sentences (in 2009 about 10% of the British prison population)4; as well as the more frequently noted phenomena of Islamophobia, heightened police powers and use of torture.

Clearly there is a whole system of brutalisation at work in this war of the last ten years. But this doesn’t seem to go to the heart of it;  as if there was something which refused to be assimilated to an event, to the name of a place and a date, to a fact or phenomenon, or even to a person’s name. Something is missing, something has been substituted in place of what is missing, and you feel that the missing thing is the thing that has been brutalised. Even a formulation in the negative such as this is not quite right. Obvioulsy it risks moralism (“these aren’t statistics, they’re people!”). But also it is simply incorrect. The unseen there for all to see, what the seer sees, or in this case the war within the war, is present in the facts, the phenomena, the events, the names, the places, the dates, and yes, even, the statistics. It’s there for example in the routine of night raids in Afghanistan. At a rate of 40 a night they do indeed constitute a phenomenon, and one that shocks us.5 And it’s there when one night, in a base in Kandahar, something snaps in a soldier, and he takes his nightvision goggles, and his rifle, and a can of gasoline and goes and murders 17 people. And it’s there again when two days later, this time in a house in Manchester, something else, whatever it is, snaps in another soldier and he takes a kitchen knife and murders someone he maybe once had some affection for.

Another risk makes itself felt here: the risk of apology. The fact that civilians not soldiers, women not men, and children not adults are by far the greatest victims of modern war, is already enough to disqualify the thought. In other words we risk ignoring the ethical relevance, let alone the political significance of an event. But let’s stay with it for a minute, this crude thought. Is it just the sheer brutality of war, equally of any injustice? Brutality is close to what Deleuze called the intolerable, the thing that Foucault and the characters of Neorealism found themselves seeing. War is particularly apt to be brutal, and its sheer brutality or intolerability can induce a state of stupefaction that may resemble naivity.

This feeling or way of seeing things is parralleled in cinema. The ones who see more are the ones who move less. The ones more capable of vision are also less capable of action, at least in the traditional sense. This is what Deleuze called the dissolution of the sensory-motor complex, the unhinging of action and perception that he perceived in postwar cinema.6 Hence it is a child, rather than an adult, who walks about in the ruins of Rosselini’s Germany Year Zero. He is the one who conjures up the visions of desolation, despite or because of his relative helplessness.

* * *

As Italy in particular and Europe generally emerged from the ruins of war and economic depression, a second generation of Neorealists found themselves confronting a second kind of desolation – the new ruins thrown up in place of the old, those spaces without place characteristic of airports, stock exchanges, shopping malls and bank foyers. If anything, the dissociation of action and perception is even more acute in these new settings, partly because now there is no obvious reason why people should appear to suffer. Hence in The Red Desert, Antonioni will show us a woman immobilised by fear. It’s not difficult to locate her anxiety: the landscape with its factories and polluted wastelands, the vast grey desert of the sea, and the tankers which drift into shot like floating castles, as if the whole scene were sinking into quicksand. But when asked what she is afraid of, the woman replies: ‘the people, the factories, the streets, the colours, everything!’ The camera does not just show us the landscape, but extracts from it a series of unreadable or indiscernable fragments: a kiss pans to a mass of hair on top of a head; the fuzzy pink patch of an out-of-focus rose blocks out half a courtyard; four figures in the middle distance are enveloped by fog; a shot is held on the enameled roof of a car, then a man opens the unseen door below to emerge head first from the bottom of the screen.

A few years later in the French New Wave, the characters are allowed a degree of movement again. In fact they are almost hyperactive, running around like cartoon characters (see the mad pace of events/non-events in Breathless or Jules and Jim). These characters are certainly less existentially fraught than those of Neorealism. And pictured against the bright but far-away stars of classic Hollywood or ‘Cinéma de Qualité’ (the dominant tradition in France at the time) they almost seem like a new breed of people. Their youth gives them a self-confidence and a self-consciousness rarely if ever before witnessed on the screen. Yet the world remains an image and their movement runs up against a wall. They hurl themselves against the immobility of the spectacle, or else seize it with both hands, as if to wrestle with their own reflection.

The reliance on already-existing images in order to get the measure of the world is particularly heightened in New Wave films that talk about war. France’s colonial war in Algeria is notoriously absent from most of them. Where it does appear, it takes the form of a historical unconscious, which breaks through the wayward fabric of everyday life – the young couples and trios tearing around Paris – precisely via the more neatly bracketed space of images. The images are like reflective pools of unknown depth. They cover the surface of the world, reflect it back to itself, and at the same time give access to the darkest fantasies. Hence in Godard’s Les Carabiniers, the two soldiers return home from war with bundles of postcards. They tell us these are ‘deeds’ to the objects represented, the spoils of war stashed in a suitcase. In fact we barely see anything of the event itself. Play-acted scenes of inglorious abuse – ordering a woman to stand on a chair to peek under her skirt with a rifle; blindfolding a young partisan, who cries ‘frères, frères!’ beneath the white sheet thrown over her head; storming a small town, grabbing the nearest citizen and cutting off their hair – are intercut with archive footage of various real wars. Godard continues the trend with Le Petit Soldat (one of the few films explicitly about Algeria) by making his main character a photographer who plays cat and mouse with two opposing teams of secret agents in Zurich. There are only two scenes that picture the visible reality of war: the torture scene, and the collection of photos on the young man’s bedroom wall. The photos are juxtaposed like slides in a slideshow by a lengthy tracking shot and a conversation with Anna Karina.

In Muriel by Alain Resnais, the reduction of war to an image is treated as actually traumatic. Algeria is there, but again, only as an image. The main character is another maker of images, a hobbyist photographer and filmmaker. In one scene he is screening a piece of old footage from his time as a conscript. We see soldiers messing about, laughing, loading artillery, busying themselves about their camp etc, while over the top of this innocuous sequence his voice narrates the story of Muriel. From what is said we understand the soldiers did something terrible to her but the exact nature of what happened is left unclear. The title tells us from the beginning that she is the subject of the film but we never see her, photographed or otherwise, and by the end we are not even sure whether she is alive or dead. Just as important, this archive footage is made to fill the entire screen. We are denied the mise-en-scène of projector, stand, canvas etc. The image swallows up the world, yet it remains an image – bracketed, paranthetic, suspended, a zero degree separation between it and reality. You could call these images virtual. In a sense the famous use of the flash-back in Hiroshima Mon Amour (four years earlier than Muriel) is also a kind of virtual image. But even before we meet the characters and enter into their memories, Resnais acknowledges the fact that the whole film is founded on images: the opening sequence consists of close-ups of a museum display board showing the aftermath of the atom bomb.

Flash forward forty years and we find similar characters in the contemporary war film. Most of these films have taken the western, usually American soldier as their subject. Even filmmakers on the political left (in the west) have not felt confident enough to make the leap to the Iraqi or Afghan perspective. Most of the films also comfortably pass as action movies. Yet they have almost universally shown the solider as a damaged figure. At one level this is not surprising. The strength of public opposition to the war has made straightforward heroics basically impossible. And of course the brutalisation of soldiers is an unavoidable feature of the reality in question. But beyond these more or less immediate social factors, there is something unusual in the way that traditional figures of action are rendered immobile.

And here we come back to the seers of postwar cinema. Because the condition of immobility in the contemporary war film, despite radically different settings, has something in common with those distant ancestors – the bourgeois housewife in Pasolini, the orphan in Rosselini, the chancer, pimp or criminal in Antonioni or early Godard. Their bodies are immobilised but meanwhile their eyes are wide open and their minds are left to roam across the surface of the world. This is the condition of spectacle, of the world turned into a screen.

* * *

To find the spectacular in war can be something of a theoretical cliché, a cheap tactic which amounts to proving the point of postmodern skepticism by means of a reduction to absurdity: if even war, in its brutal, unequivocal reality, finds itself overwhelmed by its own image, then what hope is there for the rest of the world? The search for knowledge, certainty and truth are then truly absurd. But then again, when we consider the recent development of drone technology on an industrial scale, it would seem that the apocalyptic visions of Paul Virilio have finally come true.7 The aptly named ‘Gorgon Stare’ surveillance drone requires 2000 analysts working round the clock to process its data. In order to meet the new demand, the US has converted seven national air guard squadrons into intelligence units. Isn’t this cinema as the archetype of alienation? Hundreds of people, sitting side by side, in the dark, facing away from each other, looking at a screen, not talking. And to think it all takes place in an airconditioned bunker somewhere in Nevada.

Meanwhile Baudrillard, in typically perverse style, went so far as to claim that the Gulf War did not take place. Meaning not that nothing took place, but that a false supposition of the real as such, of a bare or pure reality (i.e. ‘war’), was endlessy reiterated by the media, politicians and the military, to the point that the public started to believe in this otherwise imaginary real; and moreover that the sheer volume of images and discourse came to acquire a reality for itself, albeit it a somewhat dissatisfying one, consisting as it did of deferral and delay, arousal without climax, and in general adverts without products.8 Jarhead (dir. Sam Mendes, 2005) perfectly captures this sense of endless anticipation. The young marine played by Jake Gyllenhal finally gets his chance to see some action, but as he lies in wait, belly in the dust, air support is called in and he watches in disbelief as his target is obliterated before his eyes. This traumatic incident – the trauma of witnessing destruction while at the same time being cut off from it – sets off the chain of non-events that will lead to the final scene: the oil fires sending up columns of smoke and the horse galloping through the desert with its clotted black mane. The horse slows to a stop next to Gyllenhal’s character, who touches it on the neck and says, ‘you’re covered in oil’.

Again it’s tempting to say that the prophecy came true. The war on terror brought the two moments – the imagined real and its real simulation – into perfect synchrony: the twin towers, shock and awe, Sadaam’s statue, mission accomplished etc. These are the emblems of a war played out like a Hollywood script. But then the script breaks off rather abruptly. Two million marched in London, and on the same day over ten million around the world. Governments in Spain and Turkey were unable to withstand the pressure, although the key allies of the US stuck with the coalition. Over the next year the Iraqi resistance repulsed an occupation that found its only option to avoid outright defeat was to half-drown the country in a sectarian bloodbath – in the process rapidly eroding the prospect of a stable base of operations in the Middle East. And by this point the Taliban had regrouped in north western Pakistan, ready to launch an insurgency that would in about five years time signal defeat in Afghanistan. Meanwhile after Israel’s attack on Gaza and the very large protests following it, Palestine established itself as the one of the iconic issues of young activists around the world.

In retrospect we feel that so many theorists in the postructuralist vein failed the first Gulf War as a fundamental test of judgement.   Ten years later Baudrillard’s games of decoy and delay were replaced by the all too obvious reality of shock and awe in Iraq. The huge political response provoked by the war made his enlightened pessimism largely irrelevant.

* * *

These are some of the problems to avoid when talking about war and spectacle. But what about the films themselves? Jarhead was released in 2005. In other words it was a film about the first Gulf War in light of the second. Its portrayal of traditional figures of action immobilised by war was followed by many of the films that have since tried to represent contemporary conflicts. In the latest round of films the brutality of war, its obscene excess of action, is not denied. But still the characters behave as if this was 1991 all over again. They are frustrated, distracted, hysterical or psychotic. Why does the seargent inBattle of Haditha go on a killing spree? In part because his comrade got shot. But isn’t he also just looking for some action? He is fed up with being confined to this God-forsaken town in the desert, where all he can do is sit around and wait for the next IED to go off; fed up of pacing the streets of this town where you are told you are winning hearts and minds, but where everyone looks at you like the enemy – because of course you are the enemy and nothing can change that. InHurt Locker the pathological condition of war becomes explicit. The main character is a soldier but not a conventional one, according to the tradition of the movies. He is a bomb defusal expert. The average action movie consists of things getting blown up and things about to be blown up, the set-piece and the build-up/premise. In Hurt Locker the set-pieces are things not getting blown up (defusing a bomb), and the build-up is replaced by a series of unconnected episodes. These bursts of energy without motivation are worthy of the New Wave. See for example a trip to the desert where the bomb defuser and his team run into some British soldiers whose jeeps have got stuck in the sand: Suddenly they are being shot at by unseen assailants; the British soldiers all die, leaving the defuser and his two supporting characters; they shoot one Iraqi fighter, and another man who may be a shepherd; then they wait it out until nightfall. This is the basic rhythm of the film, until another IED is discovered and promptly put out of action.

The connection between war and spectacle has been established since at least the days of Futurism. Virilio recounts the experience of Mussolini’s son during Italy’s colonial war in present-day Ethopia: flying over some ‘Galla tribesman’, he drops ‘an aerial torpedo right in the centre, and sees the group open up just like a flowering rose.’9 But back then submitting yourself to the spectacle was itself an act of heroism; an extreme version of Baudelaire’s heroism of modern life, with totalitarian leanings. Now no one has a choice. The spectacle is universal and there is no glory to be had in seeking it out. Just as the lonliness of the crowd would penetrate into the private space of the family (from cinema to television), so the spectacle of war, whose terrible, exquisite pleasures were once the preserve of adventurers or fanatics (the first airmen or the fascists who fancied themselves as dandies) – this spectacle now follows the media of alienation into the tissue of society.

Those who are cast into the midst of the spectacle are one way or another out of time. Contrast this with the Futurists’ absolute, psychotic desire to be of their time, even if it meant offering themselves up as a sacrifice, and taking some others with them. If war was the only adequate expression of capitalism’s productive capacity, so be it. Whereas those on the frontline today are either trapped by the past (Route Irish), condemned to an unchanging present (Jar Head), or doomed in the future (Hurt Locker). Why is Hurt Locker not Futurist? Not only because the character is defusing bombs rather than dropping them, but because his war is lost, inglorious, self-avowedly despicable rather than unconsciously so. The key distinction is not between the hero and the villain but between the hero and the loser.

If we find Baudrillard’s millenarian tone creeping its way back in, that might be because its relevance concerns the projected world rather than the world at large. If we ask ourselves, ‘what happened?’ – what happened that all these figures should be so brittle, broken, dumbstruck, motionless or ineffective? – then the answer, rather than any empirical factor (public opposition at home, defeat abroad, new protocols of brutality), may be precisely the gap  between screen and world, i.e. the screening of the world. One way or another the figures of the contemporary war film are all on a mission, a quest, a trip, whose destination may or may not exist. The films are a puzzle without a solution. In Hurt Locker the question is produced by the boy that hangs around the base selling DVDs. One day he goes missing and the characters are driven on a mad hunt to find him. But the question is equally, ‘what happened to me?’ Why am I like this, why do I keep coming back, when will my time run out etc? In Battle of Haditha the question is simpler and perhaps more immediate: ‘where is my enemy?’ The massacre is a depraved attempt to answer this question; the soldiers move from house to house and room to room, looking for an answer.

A similar question is posed in Coriolanus, recently adapted to convert Roman centurions on the stage into US marines on the screen. But now it is a matter of martial honour rather than revenge, although obviously honour and revenge are closely related. This is why so much of the film consists of Ralph Fiennes standing stock-still, arms hanging like lead weights, staring straight into the camera. A close-up of this image was used in the poster adverts: shaven head, gleaming blue eyes, placques of hard black mud stuck to the skin. The pose and the face express the same thing. Coriolanus is a man driven by a singular will. However this will is ultimately shown to be entirely arbitrary. It is like a stake that has been pulled out of the ground. It doesn’t matter whether he fights for the Volsces or the Romans, only that he continues to fight, to seek out his honour. The question, ‘where does my honour lie?’ has no answer. Coriolanus’ honour lies only with himself, which is why he keeps moving from one side to the other, or rather finds himself stuck between one side and the other. He is always out of place, standing to attention but with no one to salute. When the politicians take him to the forum after the Romans’ early victory, to be paraded like a prize animal, his inability to defend himself in words makes his body all the more apparent. And this body, thrown on the back of a truck at the end of the film, is the last thing we see.

Route Irish (dir. Ken Loach, 2010) takes up the question as its main theme. The main character is a former mercenary trying to discover how his friend was killed in Iraq. The power of the film is the way it brings the war home: a car bomb goes off outside a conference centre; a rifle pokes out the window of a block of new appartments – all glass, pine and stainless steel; a Muslim man has his door broken down and is beaten up; someone is waterboarded in a bussiness park lockup. It is as if the question, this fruitless search for an answer, endlessy reproduces the war in whatever setting forms its stage, in whatever context it is posed.

Judging from the number of mysteries, false leads and dead-ends, when it comes to cinema’s representation of war we might say that the political thriller has replaced the action movie. Films like Battle of Haditha, Hurt Locker and Green Zone are political thrillers masquerading as action movies, just as much as they are action movies masquerading as serious, progressive or critical reflections. Route Irishis clearly a cut above in this sense. But the question – what happened? – is common to them all. It echoes across the horizons of their projected worlds. It is the same question posed in French New Wave and later Neorealism concerning, for example, the subject of the couple. Why did we stop loving each other, why did we ever love each other in the first place? Deleuze cites Antonio: ‘what has become of love that a man and a woman should emerge from it so disabled, pitiful and suffering […]?’ The answer, that Eros himself is sick,10 is really a way of shifting the question. It is a poor answer in terms of practical necessity but a great one in terms of philosophical inquiry. Because it refers to a generalised condition, such an answer can only produce more questions; questions which drive us to keep asking, to keep searching, to see more and more. This is what happens at the end of Theorum when the husband/father/bussiness-owner asks himself, what if I left it all behind, what if I gave my factory to my workers? In the middle of the station concourse he drops his attache case, takes off all his clothes and begins walking. The film ends with an image of him naked under the scorching sun, trudging up the dusty slopes of mount Vesuvius.

The point is there is no answer, nothing as such happened. Nothing that is, in the sense of an external event. If anything happened then it happened internally. We might imagine a little clot travelling through the blood vessels. It was there all the time, building up bit by bit, from nothing to something. Then one day it comes along and finishes you off. Another example, from outside the world of film: when David Byrne wakes up one morning and exclaims, ‘this is not my beautiful house, this is not my beautiful wife!’, and then asks, ‘how did I get here?’, the point, of course, is not by what coinicidence of events he actually got there. The point is, why is he asking the question, at that moment, in that place etc? In other words, why did it suddenly occur to him to ask himself? The attempt to answer the question returns us to the question. The question returns us to itself.

What we see in all these films – from the later neorealists to the contemporary war film – is the dawning of a certain kind of consciousness. The subject it inhabits may be a factory owner, a pimp, or a soldier (in an imperialist army rather than a partisan one, or put another way, after Rossellini’s war trilogy, which now appears as a kind of watershed). In other words some not very progressive characters.

Nevertheless this consciousness has something in common with the experience of politicisation in its first instance. It has something in common for example with the moment that you step onto the moving walkway at Waterloo station, and let yourself be carried down the long tunnel that leads to the platform, and you see on the walls, one after another, the same poster, showing a man with one leg, and a sticker of a red poppy decorating his prosthetic, and behind him cushions patterned with the Union Jack, and the look in his eye, which is sad and not at all patriotic. And it has something in common with the moment that you read in the paper that one of the unexpected consequences of recent conflicts has been huge advances in battlefield surgery, and that a javelin thrower has been given a new pair of microprocessor-controlled legs costs, and that with these new legs his coaches hope he will gain an extra seven metres throwing distance. And it has something in common with the moment when you leave the station and you see a woman in a headscarf sitting by the entrance, selling a magazine whose front cover shows a paralympian runner illustrated in the style of 1936, below a headline that proclaims ‘Victory’. Perhaps we could call this mode of vision, this crude, unmediated reasoning – enlightened false consciousness or cinematic insight. 

1. Tony Godfrey, Conceptual Art (London: Phaidon, 1998), p. 243. The real name of the village where the My Lai massacre took place was Tu Cung.

2. Gilles Deleuze, Two Regimes of Madness, trans. Anne Hodges & Mike Taormina, ed. David Lapoujade (New York: Semiotext(e), 2007), p. 280.

3. Gilles Deleuze, Cinema 2, trans. by Hugh Tomlinson and Robert Galeta (London: Continuum, 2005), p. 2 and p. 20.

4. On birth defects and their connection to depleted Uranium in amour-piercing ammunition see ‘Researchers Claim Birth Defects Rising Across Southern & Central Iraq’, CADU (Campaign Against Depleted Uranium), 30 August 2005 <http://www.cadu.org.uk/cadu/articles/art_320.html> [accessed 9 June 2012].
On opium and heroin addiction in Afghanistan see ‘Drug Use in Afghanistan: 2009 Survey’, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime <http://www.unodc.org/documents/data-and-analysis/Studies/Afghan-Drug-Survey-2009-Executive-Summary-web.pdf> [accessed 6 April 2012]. The comparison with UK heroin use is based on figures in ‘Crime in England and Wales’, Home Office Statistical Bulletin <http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20110218135832/http://rds.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/pdfs08/hosb0708.pdf> [accessed 9 June 2012], p. 53, table 2.06. Although these figures are for 2007/8, other reports show a decline in heroin use in the following year, implying that heroin use in Afghanistan is at least 25 times greater than in the UK, taking 2009 as a benchmark. For changing rate of heroin use in recent years see ‘Statistics on Drug Misuse: England 2010′, NHS: The Information Centre for Health and Social Care<http://www.ic.nhs.uk/webfiles/publications/003_Health_Lifestyles/Statistics_on_Drug_Misuse%20_England_2010.pdf> [accessed 9th June 2012], section 1.2.1.
On UK injuries see ‘Operations in Afghanistan: British Casualties’, Ministry of Defence <http://www.mod.uk/DefenceInternet/FactSheets/OperationsFactsheets/OperationsInAfghanistanBritishCasualties.htm> [accessed 6 April 2012]. For US injures see ‘Operation Enduring Freedom: US wounded totals’,iCasualties.org <http://icasualties.org/OEF/ USCasualtiesByState.aspx> [accessed 6 April 2012].
On AWOL soldiers see Michael Savage, ‘More than 17,000 episodes of troops going Awol since 2003′, Independent, 20 February 2010 <http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/more-than-17000-episodes-of-troops-going-awol-since-2003-1905145.html> [accessed 6 Aprli 2012].
On veterans in prison see Alan Travis, ‘Revealed: the hidden army in UK prisons’,Guardian, 24 September 2009 <http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2009/sep/24/jailed-veteran-servicemen-outnumber-troops> [accessed 6 April 2012].

5. On night raids in Afghanistan see Mark Benjamin, ‘US staging 40 Night Raids in Afghanistan Every Night’, Battleland, 19 September 2011 <http://battleland.blogs.time.com/2011/09/19/u-s-staging-40-night-raids-in-afghanisan-every-night/> [accessed 6 April 2012].

6. Deleuze, Cinema 2. The idea of the sensor-motor complex appears throughout the Cinema books. The second book is all about what happens when this complex is broken up.

7. The technology has been available since the 1980s but its use skyrocketed during the war on terror. Between 2001 and 2010, taking US Air Force figures as exemplary, flight hours for drones went up by 3000 percent. See Medea Benjamin,Drone Warfare (London: OR Books, 2012), p. 21. For Virillio on war and spectacle see for example Desert Screen: War at the Speed of Light, trans. Michael Degener (London: Continuum, 2002). First published in French in 1991.

8. Jean Baudrillard, The Gulf War Did Not Take Place, trans. by Paul Patton (Sydney: Power Publications, 2006). See for example p. 48-49. First published in French in 1991.

9. Cited in Paul Virilio, War and Cinema, trans. by Patrick Camillier (London: Verso, 1989), p. 25.

10. Cited in Deleuze, Cinema 2, p. 6.