Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs

Seeing the Unintended Consequences of US Military Strategy

January 28, 2010

"As war goes virtual and cultural in the name of justice, unintended and tragic consequences result," Professor James Der Derian said in a recent keynote address and video presentation on "The Culture, Technology, and Ethics of Virtuous War." Drawing on research from his Human Terrain and Virtuous War projects, Der Derian critiqued US counter-insurgency and counter-terror strategies that use "military cultural awareness" and "high-tech warfare" to resolve the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. His address was given at the Contemporary Dilemmas in Canadian Security Lecture Series hosted by York University in Ontario.

Human Terrain, a new documentary directed by Der Derian, David Udris, and Michael Udris, investigates a new US military strategy of cultural awareness to win over the hearts and minds of the Iraqi and Afghan people. Controversy erupts when academics embed with combat troops and the war comes home to the university.

Virtuous War: Mapping the Military-Industrial-Media-Entertainment Network (2nd ed. Routledge 2009) chronicles a decade-long travelogue into the Military-Industrial-Media-Entertainment Network (MIME-NET). In the newly updated edition, Der Derian traces the rise of parallel US moves toward an overhaul of the military and democracy promotion worldwide, converging into today's ongoing conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.