Friday, July 28, 2006

Hezbollah, collective punishment, and the falling cost of havoc

In the winter of 2001 I thought a lot about the falling cost of havoc. Technology changes the course and nature of conflict, and the relation between states and entities.

The theme returns:
Israel Finding a Difficult Foe in Hezbollah - New York Times

.... Never before in history has a terrorist organization had such state-of-the-art military equipment,” from medium-range rockets and laser-guided antitank missiles to well-designed explosive mines that can cripple an advanced tank, General Amidror said.
The cost of advanced weaponry is falling relative to income. Offense is cheaper than defense. The "IED" (improvised explosive device) is not really improvised, and it has changed the balance of power in Iraq.

In time missiles that travel hundreds of miles, with a great deal of "intelligence" and optional remote guidance, will become commonplace.

We still haven't thought enough about how technology is changing the nature of conflict. I fear collective punishment and police states will become the rule. I wish we thought about this more.

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