Should We Want A 'Cyberwar'? It's A Lot Less Bloody Than A Real War
from the one-way-to-think-about-things dept
We've certainly written an awful lot about the ridiculousness of the concept of "cyber war." Even with things like Stuxnet and Flame, it seems silly to compare what amounts to either electronic espionage or a little hacking as "war." But perhaps we were looking at it the wrong way. In a Foreign Policy article by John Arquilla, he argues that perhaps we should be embracing this kind of "cool war" as it can be effective at stopping threats (even distributed ones like terrorist operations, rather than just centralized ones like governments), while causing minimal bloodshed:
On balance, it seems that cyberwar capabilities have real potential to deal with some of the world's more pernicious problems, from crime and terrorism to nuclear proliferation. In stark contrast to pitched battles that would regularly claim thousands of young soldiers' lives during Robert E. Lee's time, the very nature of conflict may come to be reshaped along more humane lines of operations. War, in this sense, might be "made better" -- think disruption rather than destruction. More decisive, but at the same time less lethal.And, indeed, if we believe that reports of "cyber attacks" being used to make planes fall from the sky are greatly exaggerated, perhaps we should welcome a "war" that mainly involves hackers vs. hackers trying to disrupt each others "real" warfare capabilities. But, of course, there are plenty of other issues that come up here as well -- such as how secret hacking programs can be abused. If it gets governments to stop physical battles that lead to real lives lost, that does seem like an improvement, though I'm not sure anyone should think that continuing to attack each other through computers is ever a "good" situation overall.