War economy

February 27, 2009

In class the other day, I watched Iraq for Sale: The War Profiteers, a decidedly partisan documentary by Robert Greenwald. It explores how private military contractors (PMCs), namely Blackwater, Halliburton/KBR, CACI, and Titan (now L3), make on the order of billions of dollars at a disregard for human life and the welfare of their employees. Blackwater might be the best known of the four, due to its involvement in the Fallujah attacks in 2004. If you’re interested, you can watch the entire film online here.

Logo: Blackwater  Logo: KBR
Logo: CACI  Logo: L3 Communications

With all this talk of the merger of war-time and peace-time and the increasing privatization of warfare, I couldn’t help but be reminded of Hideo Kojima’s vision of the future of war: Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots. Liquid Ocelot, the villain from a previous iteration, develops an extensive, networked army of PMCs and seeks to control the world through his involvement in ongoing low-level conflict everywhere (i.e. the war economy). In this world, PMCs have replaced state armies altogether, and warfare is a mere business venture.

Of course, at the same time, nanotechnology has seen extensive improvements, and nanomachines populate the blood of Liquid’s soldiers so that he may control their every physical action as well. And America is run by an advanced system of computer AIs, known as “the Patriots,” who decide its political and economic outcomes.

Logo: Pieuvre Armament  Logo: Werewolf
Logo: Raven Sword  Logo: Praying Mantis

What’s the difference, except that these PMCs’ logos use more than two colors and their fake TV spots are a degree creepier? (Here‘s the one for Praying Mantis; the other three are also available on YouTube.) I don’t have the expertise to comment on how close we’ve come to achieving a fictional reality, but I recommend watching the film—and while you’re at it, playing the game.


One Response to “War economy”

  1. […] am currently into Joss Whedon’s Dollhouse, and touched on the idea of a PMC-run world in a previous post, but The Sky Crawlers gave me little in the way of fresh food for thought. Instead, Oshii works […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: