‘Drone Porn’ Develops a Cult Following on the Internet

World Focus | January 28, 2010

U.S. government implements tougher airport security rulesWorldfocus Radio: LGBT politics and gay asylumChina commits massive funds to future high-speed railU.S. intensifies drone attacks on Pakistan’s tribal regionIn tactical shift, drone-fired missiles rain on Helmand U.S. seeks hearts and minds in combatting global jihadPashtunistan faces huge escalation of U.S. anti-terror war.

As unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) have become increasingly central to America’s wars, “drone porn” has taken the internet by storm with captivating aerial images of death and destruction.

The Defense Department actually posts its drone attack footage on YouTube via DVidsHub. Some of the videos have caught the attention of millions, but critics ask whether the videos are newsworthy — or just lowbrow entertainment.

And while the drone strikes have undoubtedly taken out militants in many places that soldiers just can’t go, there is disagreement about whether UAVs are an effective anti-terror deterrent.

The military’s Predators and Reapers routinely strike Iraq, Afghanistan — and increasingly in Yemen, Somalia and elsewhere. Additionally, the C.I.A. is using drones to hit al-Qaeda and Taliban targets in northwest Pakistan.

The most watched “drone porn” segments are from Iraq. This video of Baghdad has over 1 million views:

Blogger Keith Thomson writes on Alternet about drone porn’s impact on the news media.

“In researching remotely piloted aircraft, I visited the stretch of Southern Nevada desert that has become to UAVs what Silicon Valley is to the device on which you’re reading this column. In 2007, Creech Air Force Base was made the home of the 432d Air Expeditionary Wing, the first Air Force wing dedicated to unmanned aircraft systems. Its daily missions in Afghanistan and Iraq could provide the military version of a SportsCenter highlight reel.

"With an aim of promoting UAVs domestically as well as “enlightening” our enemies, the Defense Department recently began placing the Predator and Reaper mission clips on YouTube. Ranging from relatively detached wide shots of bombings taken by onboard cameras to startlingly graphic close-ups, the so-called “drone porn” has been a smash hit, as it were, tallying over 10 million views.

"Perhaps best explaining its popularity are the thousands of YouTube commenters. Some marvel at the new technology and discuss the resulting paradigm shift in warfare. Some raise questions, including whether it’s principled, dignified or otherwise in America’s best interest to post drone prone in the first place. Most comments are along the lines of, 'Hell yeah HOOOAH BABY!'

This video shows footage of a drone that destroyed two rocket rails in the Sadr City section of Baghdad:

Allison Kilkenny of True/Slant analyzes the drone porn trend:

"Now, I don’t want to launch into a “kids these days” diatribe about how the human race is de-evolving into a pack of bloodthirsty, warmongering savages. I don’t believe video games, or violent films, make kids any less human or more prone to attack each other. However, I do blame a disconnection from the consequences of battle for this kind of war fetishism.

"The drone footage looks like a video game (admittedly a shitty one), and of course the footage doesn’t show the targets’ lives (if they had a family, what their favorite book is, when they had their first kiss, etc.) The clips don’t even really show their faces. They are anonymous targets. The US military tells us these are The Bad Guys, so they are guilty, and deserve to die. Trials: unnecessary. Evidence: superfluous…

"But the drone aspects of war are also clearly appealing to young people. The “point and shoot” video games are all the rage right now, which is partly why drone porn exists. Yet, the moral hazards of such extrajudicial killings are never explored in video games, or drone attacks, and all the usual human safeguards against killing during a ground invasion (namely that you have to look your target in the eye while killing them with your bare hands) are no longer an obstacle. Long ago, hand-to-hand combat gave way to guns, which gave way to better guns, which gave way to human-navigated aerial assault that has now been replaced by robotic drones. ... "

CONTINUED

http://worldfocus.org/blog/2010/01/28/drone-porn-develops-a-cult-following-on-the-internet/9451/