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116 Gil Anidjar War Bodies SHE WAR WAR for AR is primary. This should not come as a surprise. AR knows WAR. Which does not mean that she brings or bears some prophetic utterance , the moving image of a road warrior to come, nor that she asks us to reflect on war’s future, on how bad it might become or how horrible it will get. Instead, she engages and confronts a near and constant danger, the vulnerabilities and inflicted wounds of old (and young) in the militarized zones of knowledge. That is why it may be possible to date, with a fair degree of precision, when war occurs, when it is declared, in her writings. Historical and geopolitical conditions confirm, moreover, that an onset of a war of the world, a war of the new world and, more precisely, the new war order, inscribed itself upon her work, as it did upon few, all too few, and more urgently, more overwhelmingly so.1 Reading Ronell, one is made to acknowledge that everything is as if polemology, increasingly constitutive of the political, had been given yet another turn of its imperial screw. I am referring to the Gulf War for now, the first war ever declared not so much on war itself—by 1991, the war to end all wars had been a common place since, well, since forever, really—but one declared and unleashed on a specific war, namely, the Vietnam War.2 Much more lethal, and almost literally so, considering the exponential increase in the amount of bombs dropped during these wars, is the fact that this “war as test” (TD, 347n23&24) constituted the endless beginning of a war that is still going, and going, and going.3 And i-viii_1-256_Davi.indd 116 4/10/09 3:14:37 PM 117 War Bodies with it, so are hundreds of thousands among the inhabitants of Iraq—of the world, really. This is said while suspending, for the moment, the question of whether war (and even a war) could ever be treated as a circumscribable, recognizable, or identifiable theme in the world, much less as the object of a felicitous declaration or description, the referent of a constant; whether war could ever be treated or comprehensively covered. An essential moment in the permanent production and reproduction of inequality and oppression , war has long exceeded the kind of binary logic that would manifest or maintain anything like two “sides.” This is what Ronell, in the tradition of the oppressed, teaches us. Always one-sided, and increasingly so, war lacks integrity. War dis-integrates—others first, but then also those who claim to “conduct” it. War is being in the world, Emmanuel Lévinas warned, and it must be granted a measure of thematic explicitness for the purpose of poised reflection on its scandalous banality, and for righteous indignation. “Noise-machine, schizo leash, war-zone shots in the dark, lover’s discourse or phantomic conference call” (TB, 265), the expanding field of war’s brutal traces into everything—here the telephone; for Léon Daudet, the car, as Benjamin reminds us; now everywhere—can be perceptibly followed in Ronell’s unwavering and fearless attention to the “nearly military strategic deployment of language” (TD, 34), and in what she calls “the militerary regime” that organizes her texts (FS, 120 and 221) and, all things being unequal, the rest of the fabric of our lives.4 But Ronell’s “earliest” war is also the latest, the last and final, war. It is therefore not identical to these old, though ever-present wars, nor is it really the Gulf War. I am hesitant to name it because one war can always hide another, and besides, it is not clear that this was, or that there is, one war. It is as if rather than war being the pursuit of politics by other means, as Clausewitz famously has it, politics (and culture, economics, religion, and everything really) had undergone a radical mutation and transformed into nothing but war.5 War thus became the pursuit of everything by any means necessary. And “note that there is War and there are also wars” (211), especially when you start counting limited or invisible wars, not to mention forgotten wars.6 Who, after all, remembers “the Telephone Wars of the Egyptians and the Hebrews” (TB, 296)? Who recalls that “the polemics surrounding drugs historically became a War only when crack emerged”? That it was crack that first “brought war unto...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9780252090950
Related ISBN
9780252034503
MARC Record
OCLC
785781231
Pages
264
Launched on MUSE
2013-01-01
Language
English
Open Access
No
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