This article explores how the Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) robot is represented to the mass media by the US military as a ‘life-saving device’. Such descriptions of the EOD robot discursively organize it in relation to other objects and actors, endow them with values and capacities, and ultimately situate them in social action. Drawing from US newspaper articles and Department of Defense press releases, the article highlights how the robot descriptions create a sense of automation and agency on the part of the remote-controlled devices that is actually beyond the technology. It is then argued that the IED-combating robot functions as a kind of fetish. Following Baudrillard, the fetish value of the robot stems not from a misunderstanding of its actual or ‘real’ capacities but rather its positive valuation according to a code of functionality that rests upon the risk-transfer labour of the robot.