“The discussion was spiraling through a series of theoretical confrontations between jungle militarism (the Vietnam war of the process of NAMification) and desert-militarism (War-on-Terror and Mecca-nomics).” Cyclonopedia, p. 16, Reza Negarestani
Territory is critical, but only insofar as it can be rearranged, linked along different ideological, cultural, strategic, and environmental coordinates. War has become about isolation and revaluation: avoid strongholds, slip around concentrations of (fire) power and let the enemy rot away in the firebases and hardened fortifications, or compel them outwards into erratic, disorganized space where linear mobility is their vulnerability. The ocean trajectories, the tunnels, the clandestine roads, the nocturnal paths proliferate. Seizing and holding territory is the desire of the (ethnic/ideological) State (cf. Israel).
The archival strata produced by War Machines struggling against insurgency are naturally non-contiguous. The archives cross time and space, threading through the contact points of capitalist energies, ideological desires, and state imperatives. The evolutions of war-technologies provide the traces necessary to this archaeology. In Vietnam, the largest transformative experiment of the war-machine, the US military deployed massive air power along with the innovative munitions and surveillance equipment in an effort to interdict the movement of materiel and personnel. Never certain of the precise territory under contest, the U.S. forces contracted and expanded like a living organism on the surface of the nation/environment, moving across state borders (Laos, Cambodia) and attempting to isolate inseparable cultural and political terrains. The record of this war is manifest in the extant web of trails that constituted the Ho Chi Minh trail, the tunnels around Saigon, the scarred DMZ. It also continues to travel in the form of radar planes, gunships, helicopters, and small unit tactics.
The archives expand from this experiment, with deposits, graves, and remains spread in the wide horizons continually retraced by the Wars on Drugs and Terror and marked further by the growing U.S. militarization of its border with Mexico. A submarine was seized in Colombia—tunneling underwater.
How are the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq continuing to generate the irregular and endless rhizomic archives of the counter-insurgency war machines? What are the materials – shells, casings, shrapnel – that hold the future? Within a cartography of apparatus left-behinds alive with personal knowledge, we will further explore an archive of the counter-insurgent war machine through a planar movement that will propagate its own destruction in the process. An examination of war-object-organization, this archive will produce trails that leave no trace; a disturbance in the surface of war history that takes what we know as fiction and what we don’t know as truth.