that’s what oliver north said last night on his weekly show, war stories with oliver north. this weeks episode: the history, or past, of remote piloted aircraft (commonly referred to as drones, but, as one of the pilots repeatedly stated, drones is an inaccurate description because the aircraft are piloted (rather than auto-piloted) by pilots in the nevada desert even though the planes are dropping bombs on things like wedding parties in pakistan).
the interesting thing about remote piloted aircraft to a movie blog (or at least this movie blog) is the fact the remote pilots can only control the aircraft through the images captured on the aircraft’s mounted camera. so cinema technologies are essential for the logistics in today’s (seemingly never-ending) war on terror. but this isn’t anything new. as paul virillio argues in war and cinema, photographic and cinematic technologies and improvements have always first been employed in warfare starting with the early aerial photography of the civil war (via photographers in hot-air balloons). they don’t call the act of the camera capturing images shooting by accident.
back to war stories with oliver north: before north started wondering what the time after the present-future (or now) will look like, he first had to chart the history of remote piloted aircraft. during the korean war, they made these kind of remote controlled airplanes equipped with cameras for targeting and guess who worked in one of the factories producing those drones?
that’s right, marilyn monroe. this picture was taken by a photographer for like time magazine featuring women in the workplace supporting the troops in korea. the photographer suggested to monroe that she should try modeling. and she did (after bleaching her hair) and became more than a mega-star.
two related things: (1) a couple months ago i saw frontline’s behind taliban lines, a documentary by a afghan reporter embedded for a week with a taliban group in northern afghanistan. when tensions rise due to his presence, one of the taliban asks the reporter if he’d be willing to take up a weapon against the us invasion and he answers that “the camera is my weapon”. (2) in the wikileaks video of an apache helicopter gunning down civilians in iraq, the soldiers in the helicopter mistakenly thought the rueters camera-man was carrying a rocket-propelled grenade (or rpg) when it was actually just a video camera.