Silences and absences are always interesting. In fact they are often more significant - they signify more - than the signs that they frame. What is selected 'out' often tells us a whole lot about what is selected 'in', and even the manner of the telling (the whole business of signification) does so too. For instance, the the Apartheid term 'non-Europeans', which classified, discriminated against, and policed the borders between 'Europeans' and the indigenous people of South Africa. Most of the indigenous people (through no choice of their own) has no first hand knowledge of 'Europe'. Imagine being defined and labelled by something that foreign - in several senses of the term.

But to return to the silences of the (new, virtual) wars ...

The new international semiotics of conflict is no longer characterised by assassinations in the shadows, but by 'transparent, global access to acts of self-defence' - drone strikes - in full video versions, paraded on television as triumphs.

Drone strikes are and are not silent. And the silent parts are at least as scary as the deafening parts ...

The explosion of a drone strike is macabrely silent in the drone control room. The 'striker' hears only silence. The 'struck' on the other hand hears (only momentarily, to use that odd americanism) the full sound blast of his or her assassination (as combatant or as 'collateral damage').

The acts of drone war, in the control room, are lifted off from the material experience of warfare, they are commoditised and abstracted from human engagement of conflict. (See the definition of commoditisation as subject-and-context stripped, elsewhere).

This is a radical, material/virtual split, a tear in the fabric of experience between the striker and the struck - and whatever Hollywood says, in films like Eye in the Sky (working title, Kill Chain), there is no comparison between the terror of the two experiences, which are apparently just 'two (similar?) sides' of the 'war on terror'.

The literal deconstruction, uncoupling, of the sound / material / body-parts / context blast from a silent drone-control-room is a powerful (and paradigmatic) 'de-articulation' of the experience of war.

In the new neo-con paradigm everything is outsourced to a deconstructed and abstract derivative, and to a market-place that is impersonal, objective, and is devoid of agency. No one is personally responsible for it, but we are all implicated in it by being citizens. (Which in a macabre way mirrors / resonates with the development of self-service, in which you provide your own service / servitude - even to the new 'electronic' or self-service passport controls at Heathrow (and elsewhere, I am sure).

So "We're all post-modernist now" (to paraphrase and invert Latour). Finance, aid, welfare, health management (nee health 'care') and war are all stripped of subjective experience and of material context, to a comfort zone of bland signifiers.

The bland ruling the bombed, to mix a few metaphors. (Very 'English', no?)