Video abstract – Ian Shaw talks about 'The Unbearable Humanness of Drone Warfare in FATA, Pakistan'

Readers may have seen Derek Gregory’s excellent essay, ‘Supplying war in Afghanistan: The frictions of distance‘, at Open Democracy this week. Among other things, Gregory discusses drone warfare in FATA, Pakistan – the target (no pun intended) of Ian Shaw and Majed Akhter’s ‘The unbearable humanness of drone warfare in FATA, Pakistan‘, which will be out soon in Antipode 44(4).

Gregory calls drone strikes “the signature mode of contemporary war at a distance”, and how and why they’re conducted in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan by the US military and CIA is critically explained by Shaw and Akhter. Their paper investigates the scale of drone warfare; narratives of “targeting”; the production of “exceptional” space; the fetish of “autonomous”/”nonhuman” technologies; and the links between territory and law.

And these are issues none of us can ignore. Broadening – or, better, domesticating – their analysis in the conclusion, Shaw and Akhter argue that drone warfare is more proximate than we might (like to) think: the US military are bringing it back home, as it were, monitoring borders, criminals (both real and imagined), even protesters…

The paper is available now, and you can see Ian discussing it below.