War Larp

Armies prepare to fight the last Hollywood larp, rather than their next anti war indie. War is the continuation of delusion by other means.

Our garish parade of grunts rehearses for their next technicolor Götterdämmerung, a glorious clash of CGI battalions against a backdrop of pixilated deserts. Their maneuvers, choreographed by generals hopped up on John Wayne matinees,resemble shopping mall holographic war games more than the grim, labyrinthine tangles that will bleed out the next geo-political snafu. These are warriors sculpted by Pentagon mythmakers, primed to reenact Thermopylae with cruise missiles and a budget that could finance a Borgesian library.

Our garish military parades, a technicolor fever dream of bygone blitzkriegs and glory-hounded cavalry charges. Million-dollar centurions in mirrored shades, their phallic chrome chariots bristling with impotent weaponry, rehearse for a war that flickers on flickering screens, a celluloid epic perpetually on rerun. They train for the romanticized double bill, all billowing smoke and chest-thumping bravado, while the realpolitik unspools in the shadows, a grainy black and white documentary nobody wants to watch.

Meanwhile, the real war, the one conducted in flickering internet back alleys and whispers across encrypted channels,simmers unnoticed. Drone shadows flit across unsigned battlefields, data packets ricochet through a labyrinthine darknet,and minds are hacked with the ease of a forgotten password. Our boys play at war with megaphoned proclamations and laser-guided heroics, while the enemy lurks in the shadows, a nameless, faceless specter wielding weapons as intangible as ideas.

It’s all a tragicomic funhouse mirror reflecting a funhouse world, a hall of mirrors where Clausewitz’s dictum twists into a grotesque self-parody. War, it seems, is not the continuation of politics by other means, but the desperate, delusional grasp at a bygone era, a frantic attempt to impose a narrative of cowboys and calvalry onto a world writhing with possibilities as strange and unsettling as a fever dream by Philip K. Dick. We fight the phantoms of a bygone era, our generals haunted by strategies cobbled together from dog-eared pulp novels filled with cardboard heroes and pyrotechnic victories. The true enemy, a hydra-headed beast of shadowy agendas and resource scarcity, festers in the wings, ignored in favor of the digitized ghosts of battlefields past. We are sleepwalking towards a conflict not of our making, armed with yesterday’s weapons and fueled by yesterday’s delusions.

Where are the gritty, guerrilla documentaries prepping them for the realpolitik trench warfare of resource scarcity and asymmetrical threats?

Clausewitz, bless his ironclad heart, might’ve scoffed at this cold parade of delusions marching under the banner of strategy. This warmonger’s psychodrama, this clinging to a bygone era’s war porn aesthetics, isn’t statecraft, it’s a deranged LARPing of cowboys and injuns projected on the flickering screen of empire. The body count, however, will be all too real, a snuff film projected onto the grubby windshield of a stolen sedan in some nameless third-world backwater.

We fight the ghosts of wars past, while the real enemy, a hydra-headed beast of fractured economies, social collapse, and environmental devastation, slithers ever closer, unseen and unmolested.