More on Remote Warfare: Spot & Shoot

Israel continues to lead the way arm in arm with the United States when it comes to state of the art remote warfare tactics.

It is called Spot and Shoot. Operators sit in front of a TV monitor from which they can control the action with a PlayStation-style joystick.

The aim: to kill.

Played by: young women serving in the Israeli army.

Spot and Shoot, as it is called by the Israeli military, may look like a video game but the figures on the screen are real people – Palestinians in Gaza – who can be killed with the press of a button on the joystick.
The female soldiers, located far away in an operations room, are responsible for aiming and firing remote-controlled machine-guns mounted on watch-towers every few hundred metres along an electronic fence that surrounds Gaza…..

The Spot and Shoot system – officially known as Sentry Tech – has mostly attracted attention because it is operated by 19- and 20-year-old female soldiers, making it the Israeli army’s only weapons system operated exclusively by women.

Female soldiers are preferred to operate remote killing devices because of a shortage of male recruits to Israel’s combat units. Young women can carry out missions without breaking the social taboo of risking their lives, said Mr Brom.

The women are supposed to identify anyone suspicious approaching the fence around Gaza and, if authorised by an officer, execute them using their joysticks…..

The Haaretz newspaper, which was given rare access to a Sentry Tech control room, quoted one soldier, Bar Keren, 20, last week saying: “It’s very alluring to be the one to do this. But not everyone wants this job. It’s no simple matter to take up a joystick like that of a Sony PlayStation and kill, but ultimately it’s for defence.”

Audio sensors on the towers mean that the women hear the shot as it kills the target. No woman, Haaretz reported, had failed the task of shooting what the army calls an “incriminated” Palestinian.

from The National

Perhaps an under examined aspect of remote warfare is its possible feminist “benefits”, allowing women to serve on the front lines of battle as pilots and infantry. However, since they themselves are not at immediate risk of death (unlike the Palestinian wandering into an unmarked “no-go zone”) can we really call it feminist, if even defense as Ms. Keren mentions? More interesting would be the mentality behind the idea that sitting in a room in Nazareth and killing Palestinians hundreds of kilometers away can be considered and internalized by the participants as “defense”.

Regardless, by allowing women to participate in killing without being subject to the horrors of war, we further eliminate possibilities of international female solidarity while also implicating first world women as equal-opportunity participants in extrajudicial remote warfare.

One response to “More on Remote Warfare: Spot & Shoot

  1. Can I offer even a broader perspective beyond the feminist view? Note the recently released video of soldiers in helicopters shooting civilians and journalists in Baghdad (released by Wikileaks). Listen to the conversation of the soldiers communicating with each other as they mowed down “the bad guys”. Then listen to young people talk as they play Counter Strike and Modern Warfare Two from the safety of their darkened bedrooms. The similarities are striking. Never mind the fact that the military uses similar games to train soldiers as they prepare to go to Baghdad and other beleaguered areas of the world.

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