Conclusion

Infrastructure—the boring stuff that binds us all—is not irrelevant to the business of fighting terrorism. It is the foundation of our future security.

(Klein 200:23)

Three conclusions are evident from this chapter. The first is that the everyday systems of urban infrastructure upon which all urbanites continuously depend have now become central sites of geopolitical struggle. From the 9/11, Madrid, and London terrorist attacks; through the (still largely chimerical) discourses of cyberterror; to the central place of forced demodernization within contemporary US and Israeli military doctrine: the ability to use, and pervert, everyday urban technics through political violence has become a driving force in contemporary political strategy. Forcibly destroying or manipulating the complex connectivities that urban technics sustain, the doctrines of both terrorists and state military theorists increasingly centre on the coercive powers of forced demodernization. Given the central role of urban infrastructures in mediating processes of urban metabolism—in allowing Nature to be continually metabolized into Society and Culture—the effects of such targeting, whilst usually less obvious than those of bombing—are dramatic and deadly.

The proliferation of state infrastructural violence, in particular, forces us to reconsider the very notion of war. It suggests that potentially boundless and continuous landscapes of conflict, risk and unpredictable attack are currently emerging, as the everyday technics of urban life that are so usually taken for granted and ignored become key geopolitical sites through their use as mechanisms for the projection of organized, structural demodernization. Increasingly, such interventions are occurring from a distance, as the infrastructural connections themselves become the site either of violence (as with 9/11, the Madrid bombs, "cyber-terror", and state-backed "computer network attack') or demodernization (as with the systematic demodernizations in Kosovo, Iraq, and Palestine). Indeed, there are signs that, in globalizing urban societies, which rely utterly and continuously on complex, multi-layered and often ignored technical systems, war becomes a strategy of deliberate "decyborganization" and demodernization through orchestrated assaults on everyday, networked technics (Luke 2004).

Such notions of war being literally "unleashed" from the boundaries of time and space—what Paul James has termed "metawar" (2003)—pushes a two-pronged doctrine to the centre of (particularly US) geopolitical strategy. On the one hand, this centres on the defence of everyday "critical" infrastructures in the "homeland" through improving its "resilience" to attack and manipulation and re-inscribing national, and urban, borders that were previously becoming more and more porous (Kaplan 2003). On the other, it involves the development of capabilities to systematically degrade, or at least control, the infrastructural connectivity, modernity, and geopolitical potential of the purported enemy, again, increasingly from afar. Such a strategy is, in essence:

war in the most general possible sense; war that reaches into the tiniest details of daily life, reengineering the most basic arrangements of travel and communications in a time when everyday life, in a mobile and interconnected society, is increasingly organized around these very arrangements.

The problem with such strategies, of course, is that they implicitly push for a deepening militarization of all aspects of contemporary urban societies. Everything from the design of subways, through the topology of water networks, to the thickness of aeroplane doors and the software that makes electricity systems work, becomes a site of subtle militarization. War, in this broadest sense, suggests Phil Agre (2001), becomes a continuous, distanciated event, without geographical limits, that is relaid live, 24/7, on TV and the Internet. Here domains of "war" blur into those of "peace". Instead, replacing such binaried landscapes are continuous time-spaces dominated by discourses of "security", which saturate, and militarize, the tiniest details of everyday urban life. Certainly, many US political and military elites are currently perpetuating such discourses of endless, boundless war as part of the construction of post 9/11 states of emergency and the so-called "war on terror" (Agamben 2002).

Our second conclusion is that the very real risk here is that the "securitization" of network-based urban societies against this new notion of war becomes such an overpowering obsession that it is used to legitimize a re-engineering of the everyday systems that are purportedly now so exposed to the endless, sourceless, boundless threat. There is already considerable evidence to support Agamben's view that "security thus imposes itself as the basic principle of state activity" (2002:1). He even argues that the imperative of "security" is beginning to overwhelm other, historic functions of nation states that were built up over the nineteenth and twentieth centuries (such as social welfare, education, health, economic regulation, planning). "What used to be one among several decisive measures of public administration until the first half of the twentieth century", suggests Agamben, "now becomes the sole criterion of political legitimation" (Agamben 2002:1).

Our final conclusion is that it is imperative that theorists and analysts of the geographies and geopolitics of contemporary warfare address the intersections of infrastructural warfare and forced demodernization with much more theoretical and empirical vigour than has thus been the case. As King and Martin suggest, "work in international relations in political science and related social science disciplines almost always ignores all but the most direct public health implications of military conflict" (2001:2). The realities of "war on public health", and the geo-politics of state-backed efforts to ensure that entire societies endure the immiseration of what Agamben (1998) has called "bare life," tend to be overwhelmingly ignored in social, political and media analyses of war. This is because both media and analytical attention tend to turn, capriciously, to the formal, mediatized, violence, and the most obvious "collateral" casualties of the "next" war. The wider neglect of networked infrastructures in the social and political sciences compounds this systematic ignoring of state-backed infrastructural warfare (Graham and Marvin 2001).

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