Brett Neilson
Taipei, October 25th 2008, 16:30 - 17:00

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War is mostly about waiting. In strategy there is delay. In fear there is hesitation. In engagement there is exit. Languor, boredom, nullity: waiting around for orders, mobilization or attack. Capture and detention, setbacks and impediments, quagmires and fog: in all there is a tendency to confusion and deferral. Far from the politics of decision and the friend/enemy divide, waiting reminds us of all that is uncertain or undecidable in war. And if, by other means, war is politics, it signals the importance, perhaps the virtue, of patience in political life. Waiting, in other words, is a register of all that cannot be won or lost in war. Above all, it is a tonality of experience triggered by a sense of finitude, by the expectation that war will end. But what becomes of this expectation when war becomes permanent, perpetual or infinite? In a war without limits of time or place, what is the sense of waiting?