8-Bit Diplomacy
           8-Bit Diplomacy     digital imaging on canvas   36" X 24"   2017




Let's lay one bit of drone propaganda to rest.  The term "surgical strike" makes no sense in the context of drone warfare. Credible estimates find that, between 2006 and early 2009, about 700 civilians were killed in the course of targeting 14  specific individuals — a ratio of 50 people killed to each one targeted. If we are using surgery as the metaphor, then this is akin to a dermatologist performing preemptive amputation to remove precancerous moles.  

In the intervening 10 years the civilian casualty rate has likely improved, however the extent of the improvement is hard to gauge owing to the creative ways that the United States assesses the success of drone sorties. Currently the US rarely declares (and often does not know) the identity of its targets, so determining which deaths are intentional and which are collateral is nearly impossible.   Additionally, the CIA and the Air Force count all individuals who die as a result of  air strikes in Afghanistan, Yemen and Somalia as military combatants based solely on the criteria that they are male, they are between the ages of 15 and 65, and they are dead.  This, of course has the fortuitous result of insuring that the civilian casualty rates remain tolerably low. 

I worked up two versions of this piece of which only the one above has been printed.


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