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How Cameras Changed War

Written by on Thursday, December 29th, 2011

Cameras emerged a few decades before the American Civil War, and they have been used to capture the effects of warfare ever since. The camera, which started as a simple, bulky, and unwieldy contraption, has slowly evolved over the years, giving rise to advanced imaging systems, infrared cameras, and a number of other invaluable intelligence-gathering and surveillance tools.

Cameras are essential in modern warfare; that fact is not in dispute. The usefulness of something like a spy satellite is quite obvious.

A more subtle impact that the camera has had on warfare, however, is its accessibility. Camera technology has become so advanced that we can put small cameras on the helmets of soldiers at a relatively low cost. The footage that these soldiers record might be useful for military agents, certainly, but a unique impact of this technique is that it allows the world to view warfare in a completely new way.

The ability to control the depiction of war through propaganda has become increasingly difficult in the age of the Internet. The World Wide Web does not only give readers access to a wide variety of opinions and a glut of information, but it also allows civilians to see warfare through the eyes of a soldier.

Merely by visiting Youtube, everyday people can witness real, lethal gun fights are aerial raids. They can see young men scrambling for cover as bullets pepper the walls of their cover. They can hear the steady rattling of gunfire intermixed with the shouts of troops. They can see what the pilot sees as he fires his weapons at a compound.

An old adage states, “Out of sight, out of mind.” What the camera and Internet buy cheap valium have done is to bring modern warfare into the minds of voters by putting it right in front of our eyes. What the helmet camera has done is that it humanizes soldiers in a way that was previously impossible.

“Support our troops,” is a popular bumper sticker, and an even more popular sentiment. It’s difficult to find people who are unsympathetic to American troops, even if they might not support the war. Too often, though, we say that we should support our troops just because we know that it is the right thing to do. For many civilians, it is difficult to imagine the lives of soldiers and sympathize with their struggles because military life is so completely different from day-to-day American life.

The camera has totally obliterated that hurdle. It shows people like you and me, like our neighbors, taking cover beneath a hail of gunfire. When the camera puts you in the boots of a soldier, it’s impossible not to sympathize with them. Cameras make people feel the pain and struggles of real American soldiers.

It is difficult to measure the exact effects of widespread camera use. After all, how do you measure sympathy? What you can do, however, is examine how people respond to these types of videos. Visit any Youtube video that records helmet-mounted footage, and read the comments. These are real people – 14-year-old-boys, soccer moms, and working class average Joes pouring their hearts out to troops abroad and marveling at the visceral intensity of actual warfare. One of these videos can be more effective than any propaganda poster.

If you want advice about the world of military aviation, there’s no better people to turn to than men and women who have sat in the cockpit and flown some of the world’s most advanced aircraft. With over 50 current and ex-warfighters on call, Strike Fighter Consulting Inc. can give you access to up-to-date, first-hand technical and tactical expertise.

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