What if the Afghans will never see those Predators — our equivalent of the Martian “tripods” and death rays combined — as their protectors? After all, our drones represent the technologically advanced, the alien, and the death-dealing along with, as Toronto Sun columnist Eric Margolis wrote recently, the whole panoply of our “B-1 heavy bombers, F-15s, F-16s, F-18s, Apache and AC-130 gunships, heavy artillery, tanks, radars, killer drones, cluster bombs, white phosphorus, rockets, and space surveillance.” Even our propaganda, dropped from the air (as if from another universe), can kill. Recently, an Afghan girl died after being hit by a box of propaganda leaflets, released from a British plane, that “failed to come apart.” Her heart and mind may be stilled, but rest assured, those of her parents, her relatives, and others who knew her, undoubtedly aren’t.
Here’s a little exchange, as reported at a New York Times blog from an alien “encounter” in another land. A U.S. Army major, Guy Parmeter, had it near Samara in Iraq’s Salahuddin province in 2004 (“[I]t made me think: how are we perceived, who are we to them?”):
Maj. Guy Parmeter: “Seen any foreign fighters?”
Iraqi farmer: “Yes, you.”
The Englehardt essay is definitely worth reading in full. And that moon shot pretty much clinches it. We are the Martians.