On Posthuman War

Computation and Military Violence

2022
Author:

Mike Hill

Tracing war’s expansion beyond the battlefield to the concept of the human being itself

Mike Hill delivers insights on the latest war technologies, strategies, and tactics while engaging in questions poised to overturn the foundations of modern political thought. Beginning with his personal experience training U.S. Marine recruits, he gleans insights from realist philosophy, the new materialism, and computational theory to show how the human being has been reconstituted from neutral citizen to unwitting combatant.

As military and other forms of political violence become the planetary norm, On Posthuman War traces the expansion of war beyond traditional theaters of battle. Drawing on counterinsurgency field manuals, tactical manifestos, data-driven military theory, and asymmetrical-war archives, Mike Hill delineates new “Areas of Operation” within a concept of the human being as not only a social and biological entity but also a technical one.

Delving into three human-focused disciplines newly turned against humanity, On Posthuman War reveals how demography, anthropology, and neuroscience have intertwined since 9/11 amid the “Revolution in Military Affairs.” Beginning with the author’s personal experience training with U.S. Marine recruits at Parris Island, Hill gleans insights from realist philosophy, the new materialism, and computational theory to show how the human being, per se, has been reconstituted from neutral citizen to unwitting combatant. As evident in the call for “bullets, beans, and data,” whatever can be parted out, counted, and reassembled can become war materiel. Hill shows how visible and invisible wars within identity, community, and cognition shift public-sphere activities, like racial identification, group organization, and even thought itself, in the direction of war. This shift has weaponized social activities against the very notion of society.

On Posthuman War delivers insights on the latest war technologies, strategies, and tactics while engaging in questions poised to overturn the foundations of modern political thought.

Mike Hill is professor of English at the University at Albany, State University of New York. He is author of After Whiteness: Unmaking an American Majority and coauthor of The Other Adam Smith.

Contents

Acknowledgments

Abbreviations

Preface: Supping with the Devil Dogs

Introduction: Number Rules

The Terrorist Recognition Handbook

Cybernetics and Netcentric War

The Lords of Things as They Are

Realism and Posthuman War

System-of-Systems

Summary of Remaining Chapters

1. War Demography

The Revolution in Military Affairs

U.S. Census Politics and the Coming White Minority

The Graveyard of the Human Race

Race War

The Algorithmic Unconscious

2. War Anthropology

The Human Terrain System Program

Data as Physical Transmission

National Character Study in World War II

Counterinsurgency Theory and Vietnam

Quantum Systems and Asymmetrical War

White Afghans

3. War Neuroscience

The Functional Combatant

Living Matter

Cartography and Virtual Reality

The Human Brain as Image Generator

Opto-Electronics

Virtuality and War

White Matter

Notes

Index