The Ethics of Cultural and Hi-Tech War

“As war goes virtual and cultural in the name of justice, unintended and tragic consequences result,” Human Terrain Co-director James Der Derian said in a recent keynote address and video presentation on “The Culture, Technology, and Ethics of Virtuous War.” Combining his experiences working on Human Terrain with research from his latest book Virtuous War, Der Derian critiqued US counter-insurgency and counter-terror strategies that use “military cultural awareness” and “high-tech warfare” to resolve the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. His address was given at the Contemporary Dilemmas in Canadian Security Lecture Series hosted by York University in Ontario.

Human Terrain, a new documentary directed by Der Derian, David Udris, and Michael Udris, investigates a new US military strategy of cultural awareness to win over the hearts and minds of the Iraqi and Afghan people. Controversy erupts when academics embed with combat troops and the war comes home to the university. Asking what happens when war becomes academic and academics go to war, the two stories merge in tragedy.

Virtuous War: Mapping the Military-Industrial-Media-Entertainment Network (2nd ed. Routledge 2009) chronicles a decade-long travelogue into the Military-Industrial-Media-Entertainment Network (MIME-NET). In the newly updated edition, Der Derian traces the rise of parallel dreams for a Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA) and a New World Order of democratic peace that converged into nightmares in Iraq and Afghanistan.


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