Frankfurt, Frankfurt, Saturday, June 3 21:30 - 21:50
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The following remarks are intended to elucidate certain notions and practices of political and military semantics pertaining to those forces of nature which we summarize under the umbrella terms "weather" or "climate". Since it is an almost insurmountably difficult task for any speaker to grapple with semantics in a language other than the one she or he is sufficiently fluent in to turn that language's descriptive searchlights on its own workings and intricacies, I've decided to present this talk in German - but for the benefit of those guests who don't speak German at all, let me just give a brief and comprehensive summary of what it's about.
Since time immemorial, invaders and defenders of all kinds of territories, whether those terretoires be geographically remote or easily accessible in themselves, had to engage with a third party when fighting each other - the party of mud, rain, wind and meteorological circumstance in general. 80 percent of all air raids in the year 1945, a year as heavy with bombing as few others, took place in bad weather. The response of the military establishment to circumstance such as this have been twofold: on the one hand, they have always tried to shield against such conditions, to evade them or to turn them against the enemy, on the other hand, they have exploited the fear of forces beyond our control in order to become some sort of metaphorical force of nature themselves - it is no coincidence that the extensive high altitude bombing of Vietnam from 1965 on was called "Operation Rolling Thunder" or that the American term for the decisive 1991 gulf war campaign was "Operation Desert Storm".
It is a fundamental tenet of psychological warfare that in order to strike terror into the enemies' hearts and minds, one has to convince them that the jurisdiction of political agencies does not cover the army's, or the navy's, or the air force's activities, that is to say: These acts of war presumably move like gale force winds, like tornadoes, they pull the political world of negotiations and compromise out from under you like an earthquake shakes the very ground you're standing on. It is therefore imperative for any sort of succesful anti-militaristic discourse, whether it be analytical, propagandistic or historical, to politicize areas of human action which are being treated as apolitical and primordial by the language of those who would wage war.
Weather control may be outside the domain of democratic due process and consensual planning, but weapons control is not.