Thursday, July 29, 2010

A history of folly, from the Trojan horse to Afghanistan

By recording failure in meticulous detail, the leaked war logs bear devastating witness to our incompetence

Simon Jenkins, The Guardian/UK, July 27, 2010

Is it the death of war? In Vietnam the horror of fighting was brought to TV screens in real time. Such was the reaction that American citizens withdrew their consent. In the 1980s computers were said to have restored the aloofness of battle by enabling armies to fight and defeat an enemy by remote control. They could locate the foe, direct fire and drop bombs with pinpoint accuracy.

That thesis is now threadbare. There is no such thing as a secure computer, let alone an accurate one. Every jot of information is leaky, permeable, corruptible, accessible, free-to-air. Computerisation and miniaturisation have stripped command of all secrecy and rendered every success or failure vulnerable to WikiLeak. As a result, like Hal in 2001: A Space Odyssey, computers can change sides and become the enemy.

Continues >>

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