Strategic communication has replaced information warfare. As Art of War has been replaced by science, the representations of war and the role of the military have changed. Both war and military forces are now associated with binary roles: destruction vs. humanity, killing vs. liberating. The logic behind ‘bombing for peace’ is encoded in the Grand Military Narrative. This narrative is hidden in American (and NATO) strategies such as Effects Based Operations, which rely heavily on technology. As people aim to rationalize the world with technology, they fail to take into account the uncertainty it brings. In warfare, that uncertainty is verbalized as “friendly fire”, “collateral damage” or simply as “accident”. Success and failure are up to technology. Technology is no longer a tool, but an ideology and an actor that not only ‘enables’ the military to take action, but legitimizes it.
This article aims to contribute to military studies by analyzing, in the spirit of critical discourse analysis, American ‘Grand Military Narrative’ and he standard and trends of rhetoric it creates. The article focuses on pinpointing some of the linguistic choices and discourses that define the so-called ‘techno-speak’, the product of modern techno-ideology. These discourses result in representations of techno-centered binary values, which steer military strategy and foreign policy.
If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.
Butt, D. et al. (2001) Using functional grammar: An explorer's guide. 2nd edition. Sydney: Macquarie University.
Der Derian, J. (2009) Virtuous War, New York: Routledge.
Halliday, M.A.C. (2004) An Introduction to Functional Grammar. Revised by Matthiessen, C.M.I.M, London: Arnold.
Lukin, A. (2005) 'Information warfare: The grammar of talking war', Social Alternatives Vol. 24 No. 1,First Quarter, pp. 5-10.
Martin, J.R. (2011) Incongruent and proud: de-vilifying ‘nominalization’. Discourse & Society Vol 19 No. 6, pp. 801-810.
Martin, J.R. and White, P.R.R. (2005) The language of evaluation: Appraisal in English, New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
Matthews, W. (2010) 'Smaller, Lighter, Cheaper: New Missiles Are 'Absolutely Ideal' for Irregular Warfare', Defense News, 31 May, [Online], Available: http://www.defensenews.com/story.php?i=4649372 [19 Oct 2010]
Metz, S. (2007) Learning from Iraq: Counterinsurgency in American strategy, [Online],Available: http://www.strategicstudiesinstitute.army.mil/pubs/download.cfm?q=752 [19 Oct 2010].
Mouffe, C. (2005) On the political. London: Routledge.
Rantapelkonen, J. (2006) The Narrative Leadership of War: Presidential Phrases in the 'War on Terror'and their Relation to Information Technology. Doctoral Dissertation. Publication Series 1, Research n:o 34, Helsinki: National Defence University.
Shimko, K. L. (2010) The Iraq Wars and America’s Military Revolution, New York: Cambridge University Press.
Taylor, P. (2003) Munitions of the Mind: A History of Propaganda from the Ancient World to the Present Day, 3rd edition, Manchester: Manchester University Press.
Thearmyexperience (2008) Inside the Army Experience Center, [video online] Available: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-lZKV9bP_0Q [19 Oct 2010]
Toffler, A. (1981) The Third Wave, New York: Bantam Books.
Toffler, A . & Toffler, H. (1993) War and Anti-War: Survival at the Dawn of the 21st Century, Boston:Little, Brown & Co.
United States Joint Forces Command. (2010) The Joint Operating Environment 2010 [Online],Available: http://www.jfcom.mil/newslink/storyarchive/2010/JOE_2010_o.pdf [19 Oct 2010].
U.S. Department of Defense (2008) 2008 National Defense Strategy, [Online], Available: http://www.defense.gov/news/2008%20national%20defense%20strategy.pdf [19 Oct 2010]
U.S. Department of Defense (2003) Effects Based Operations Briefing.Transcript, 19 March, [Online], Available: http://www.defense.gov/Transcripts/Transcript.aspxTranscriptID=2067 [19 Oct 2010]
Wichner, D. (2010) 'Raytheon's new Griffin fit for drone', Arizona Daily star, 22 Aug, [Online] Available: http://azstarnet.com/business/local/article_ff437ef6-c69d-56c6-aeff-e74d0d5902b9.html [19 Oct 2010]
Virilio, P. (2009) The Aesthetics of Disappearance, Translated by Philip Beitchman, Los Angeles: Semiotext(e).
Virilio, P. (1989) War and Cinema. The Logistics of Perception, Translated by Patrick Camiller, London: Verso.
Zizek, S. (2009) Pehmeä vallankumous. Translated by Janne Porttikivi, Helsinki: Gaudeamus.