chapter  3
42 Pages

Monitoring

Geospatial Imagery and the Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq
ByLisa Parks

This chapter explores how geospatial images have been used to reassert US vertical hegemony in the context of the war on terror. Approaching these images as part of militarized media culture, it considers what is at stake when major state and military decisions pivot around the capacity to detect and display light and heat patterns on the earth's surface. The chapter examines a series of geospatial images as vertical mediations of the US wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. It argues that geospatial images have been used not only to document or represent conditions on earth, but also to stage, enact, and bring about material transformations on the earth's surface. Despite the computational status of the geospatial image, humans participate in the design and manufacture of satellites and sensing instruments and extract natural resources to make them. They monitor interfaces in earth stations to track these objects from afar and determine which parts of the earth they scan.