War Without Violence

Tonight’s bright idea from Congress via Fox has a long ancestry.

Sadly, uttering the words “no-fly zone” does not make anything happen and in fact requires, um, kinetic actions like bombing aircraft defenses and shooting planes out of the sky. So yes, let us find invisible waves to do that without the blood.

It draws on the tradition of the electromagnetic pulse – even mentioned as a possibility! The electromagnetic pulse that a rogue nation could use to fry all the electronics in the continental United States.

Or the Iron Dome that protects Israel.

And Ronald Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative, mocked as Star Wars.

A cousin is the directed microwave weapon that is believed to cause Havana Syndrome.

Some of these are real, some aren’t. Some are a blend. What they have in common is action at a distance, effect removed from cause.

This is what Carol Cohn called technostrategic abstraction, the use of words that are cleansed of any sense of violence to describe violent actions. Even the word “kinetic,” marked above, refers to shooting and killing. I have seen “fires” recently used by the military to describe artillery barrages.

Technostrategic abstraction now brings members of Congress and some reporters to the point where they believe that actions of war can occur without violence.

Cross-posted to Lawyers, Guns & Money