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War: What Can Technology Do For Us?

JonKatz posted more than 12 years ago | from the expectations-vs-reality dept.

Technology 787

Political figures and military analysts are lining up on talk shows to caution Americans that this will be a different kind of war, protracted, costly, secretive. But recent military confrontations have taught Americans to expect conflicts primarily waged by machines -- wars without real sacrifice. This war began with dreadful, although geographically localized, civilian sacrifice. But those greenish nighttime pictures are already pouring out of Kabul and Kandahar, along with the precision-bomb photos, and satellite shots of training camps and military outposts. Most Americans are convinced that technology -- GPS targeting systems, thermal imaging, new intelligence retrieval systems, pilotless drone reconnaisance aircraft, high-altitude bombers, special forces equipped with goggles than can see into caves -- will carry the day for us. Will it? What can technology really do for us in this new war?

Both the first Bush and the Clinton administrations, from Desert Storm to Kosovo, advanced the idea of conflict with little civilian loss and few casualties of our own. But thousands of American civilians are already dead in this conflict, greater civilian losses than in any war in U.S. history. Still, the military analysts, network pundits and Pentagon officials are going to great lengths to point out that Taliban and fundamentalist fighters are skilled and determined, that this conflict will be long and difficult, that our expectations should be kept realistic. And bin Laden is a surprisingly agile enemy. He not only grasps America's most vulnerable points, he understands "spinning," using video-imagery and satellite transmission to get his side of the story out. This is something Saddam never began to grasp.

But are our expectations realistic? Are we once again overrating our own technology, and underestimating less sophisticated cultures and populations? Most Americans have been prepared for years to place enormous faith in a range of new technologies that are supposed to make us the most powerful military force in world history. Sophisticated technologies devastated the Iraqi military in Desert Storm. While their results were more controversial in the Kosovo action, there remained little American loss of life. The bloody action in Somolia showed us yet again that technology is not effective if it can't be used for political or military reasons. And Panama and Grenada resembled police actions more than military conflicts.

In this new war, though, it seems clear that American forces will be involved in some sort of ground fighting on Afghanistan's murderous terrain, and that would mean a battle more reminiscent of Vietnam than Kuwait.

What can technology do for us? Can GPS targeting systems really place bombs that accurately? Can intelligence analysts in the U.S. instantly track raw data without leaving their offices? Can civilian populations really be protected? Can thermal imaging and satellite surveillance see into caves or track small units in mountainous terrains? Can government computers follow money around the world? Will our soldiers' tech-equipped vehicles, equipment and weapons give them an edge over the the Russians, who were chewed to bits in their conflict with Afghanistan guerrillas, but whose equipment was comparatively primitive? Have we actually developed a new mix of tech-supported human and machine warfare that is deadly, flexible and effective?

From reading the papers and watching the generals on TV, we see confidence from the military that the answers to most of these questions is yes. But the people reading this have a much better than average grasp of these tech issues. Do you agree? What can tech do for us -- or not do -- in this supposedly new era?

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fp for me, that's what! (-1)

Dead Penis Bird (524912) | more than 12 years ago | (#2405973)

Propz to all dead penis birds

Re:fp for me, that's what! (-1)

Fecal Troll Matter (445929) | more than 12 years ago | (#2405977)

Congrats, you are an inspiration to us all.

That's not my bird...

Re:fp for me, that's what! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2406061)


what about... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2405980)

f1rst p0st?

How about... (-1)

Fecal Troll Matter (445929) | more than 12 years ago | (#2406016)


Please don't use so many caps. Using caps is like yelling!

Fecal Troll: (-1)

(c) Penis (525494) | more than 12 years ago | (#2406063)

You, Sir, are a dickless homosexual. Pls Die K Thx.

Re:Fecal Troll: (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2406080)

Guess who?

I would rather talk about... (0, Offtopic)

webword (82711) | more than 12 years ago | (#2405982)

...this kind of war [] !

Re:I would rather talk about... (-1)

Dead Fart Warrior (525970) | more than 12 years ago | (#2406005)

You don't know Jon Katz friend!

Take a topic everyone has talked about till is old and moldy, and Jon Katz will find another angle to view it, thereby beating the tar out of the dead horse. We all hate it, but those at /. have yet to get it in their thick skulls, otherwise he'd be fired on the spot.

So join the Slashdot Comunity in Petitioning to Fire John Katz [] !

Re:I would rather talk about... WTF!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2406079)



This was funny. You moderators suck ass. If I had some points, I'd move this up.


What kind of technology is needed... (-1)

Patrick Bateman (175284) | more than 12 years ago | (#2405983)

... to insure that a JonKatz article will never again be written?

Re:What kind of technology is needed... (0, Funny)

Dead Fart Warrior (525970) | more than 12 years ago | (#2406025)

Online Petitions!!!

Already one up, my friend!

Technology at its best: Petition to fire Jon Katz [] !!!

What Technology do we need? (-1)

Count (107594) | more than 12 years ago | (#2405985)

We are fighting a army using rocks and sticks some old guns we gave them ohh yeah and some old russian trucks.

Re:What Technology do we need? (-1)

Fecal Troll Matter (445929) | more than 12 years ago | (#2405995)

Silence, imbecile.

For $600,000 a pop... (2, Informative)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 12 years ago | (#2405986)

For $600,000 [] a pop we can rearrange the rocks in Afghanistan. Probably a good read would be Starship Troopers (skip the really dumb movie) Technology vs. experience + fighting on their home turf + emotional value of fighting for their way of life (however you want to define it) and the result is move very, very carefully. Also, the country is littered with mines from 10+ years of war, which are redistributed with each rockslide along mountain trails. Something to think about.

Re:For $600,000 a pop... (2, Insightful)

radja (58949) | more than 12 years ago | (#2406038)

And the UN agency in afghanistan that was clearing those up just got bombed by the US. Way to go. 4 deaths. 4 more victims of terrorism.


Re:For $600,000 a pop... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2406087)

Starship Troopers taught you that about war?

I think you need to go re-read ST. You missed the message. Frankly, I don't even see which side you think was fighting on their own turf, had experience, tech edge or whatever.

We read different books with the same title.

Re:For $600,000 a pop... (1)

wbtittle (456702) | more than 12 years ago | (#2406130)

Starship Troopers is exactly the book we should be reading.

ST is about understanding morals. Fighting spirit is also a theme, but fundamentally it is about why we fight, and understanding why we should fight.

Morals are about survival.


Re:For $600,000 a pop... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2406149)

Good thing your said READ Starship Troopers!

OIL is the technology: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2406100)

Read about it here:

Oil []

Re:For $600,000 a pop... (1)

LinuxWhore (90833) | more than 12 years ago | (#2406143)

Also, the country is littered with mines from 10+ years of war, which are redistributed with each rockslide along mountain trails.

Somehow I doubt that a landmine can be sensitive enough to react a footstep, but rugged enough to withstand a landslide without exploding.

Re:For $600,000 a pop... (2, Interesting)

tenman (247215) | more than 12 years ago | (#2406144)

I guess what I'm about to say should be taken with a grain of salt, because we've all seen the quote 'Sci Fi of today, is Sci Fact of tomorrow.' But it seems to me that the bugs in ST lived off the land, under the support of a seemingly endless food supply. The difference here, is that while these people survive in the land, they don't survive off the land. They are a poor people, and as such can't replenish the supplies they use in their efforts to defend/police their way of life. The only way they will be able to eat is if we allow that. It's easy enough to lob bombs in there and never suffer the life of an ally to be lost. But it is easier to allow them to starve. Our technology isn't to only hope we have to to win this war.

Also, please note that our forces are well equipped to deal with mines of that nature. The HTQ-67 & 68 land mines that the Soviets placed are expected to be 99% inoperable now. We have means to expose the few remaining mines that the US gave to them.

it will ... (1)

onepoint (301486) | more than 12 years ago | (#2405987)

It will give us the slight edge we need. And on the battle field and edge is a good edge.

Re:it will ... (1)

LordKariya (195696) | more than 12 years ago | (#2406054)

Interesting to note that the US goes through great lengths to avoid any civilian casualties - in fact, undoubtedly saving lives with food drops - while these 'freedom fighters' celebrate the deaths of women and children. We'll have them all buried in their cavehomes soon.

Tech should NOT give the other side an advantage (2, Insightful)

RedOregon (161027) | more than 12 years ago | (#2405988)

One of the things that tech should NOT do.. given that part of this is human failure.. is give the other side an advantage by letting him know our plans. Sometimes I wish I could just reach out and smack some reporter who, by quick use of Email and communications, trumpets his "scoop" about what we're doing, and where, before the operation is complete. Hey, goons, our side isn't the ONLY ones watching your reports!

Re:Tech should NOT give the other side an advantag (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 12 years ago | (#2406001)

Disturbing that 4 U.N. workers were reported killed in last nights attack. These people were clearing mines. It would seem that with all of our GPS goodies and intelligence that we would try to eliminate their location as a target area.

Re:Tech should NOT give the other side an advantag (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2406111)

Don't be ridiculous.

One: the deaths were reported by who exactly? Yes. Thanks.

Two: what the hell are they still doing there next to an obvious target (the airport) after the same place had been bombed the day before?


Re:Tech should NOT give the other side an advantag (1)

bmongar (230600) | more than 12 years ago | (#2406115)

I don't know all the details, but they were in a mine field during a war. To me is seems that a minefield is a military defense and a valid target.

Don't get me wrong, mine clearing is a noble task and the loss was unfortinate but not entirely suprising.

Re:Tech should NOT give the other side an advantag (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2406118)

It is quite possible that the Taliban just blew up this building with their own morters/artillery or bombs to create some misinformation for the press corps on site. Remember, this is War.

Re:Tech should NOT give the other side an advantag (1)

Samari711 (521187) | more than 12 years ago | (#2406015)

no kidding. "Excuse me, general, would you mind telling us, in detail, how this operation is going to be carried out?"

Re:Tech should NOT give the other side an advantag (3, Interesting)

joshamania (32599) | more than 12 years ago | (#2406127)

Hahahahaha! I love seeing the naive getting called on their bullshit. While the death of UN aid workers is a tragedy, there is no such thing as a war without civilian casualties.

Before you start criticizing individual acts within a war, look at the big picture first. What would cost more? Action or inaction?

And for those of you who believe that Osama is a reasonable man, please go over to and read this: tw a.htm just go ahead and try reasoning with this asshole. Those are his words, read them well. He is not a resonable man, and his ideals are not compatible with the existance of any other type of civilization.

I thought it was... (0, Offtopic)

ekrout (139379) | more than 12 years ago | (#2405989)

War: What Is It Good For? ;-)

Re:I thought it was... (1)

gmkeegan (160779) | more than 12 years ago | (#2406059)

And I will forever now see a mental image of Jackie Chan singing this whenever I see/hear the lyrics...

Technology and war (1)

Spootnik (518145) | more than 12 years ago | (#2405997)

War is a terrible thing but some good seems to come out of it as well as many rotting corpses. Many technologies are developed primarily out of the neccesities brought about by war. War tends speeds up the development of weapons and other related technologies. For example, during WWII powers such as Germany, and especially the United States raced toward the development of an A bomb. I believe that it would have been many years before the development of an atom bomb if it weren't for the war. I reason that there wasn't an immediate demand for this technology therefore its development would have been delayed. Other examples I can think of is the jet engine developed by the Germans and Radar I believe the British I know they used but unsure if they developed. (Guess I should pay more attention to Discovery channel's Wings)

Re:Technology and war (2)

AndrewHowe (60826) | more than 12 years ago | (#2406088)

Eh? What are atom bombs good for outside of war? Nothing? So why is it good that war speeds up their development? You are begging the question.

Re:Technology and war (2, Informative)

JimPooley (150814) | more than 12 years ago | (#2406140)

jet engine developed by the Germans
Ahem. Jet Engine. I think you'll find this was invented by Sir Frank Whittle [] in the early 30's. Just that the Air Ministry wouldn't back it. Had it been put into development sooner the Battle of Britain may have been a lot shorter, and the war...
We also invented RADAR [] , and used it to detect the incoming bombers so squadrons could be scrambled in time to get to the right height.

War machines (3, Insightful)

aaronsb (138360) | more than 12 years ago | (#2405998)

I think that regardless of how remote we can get from killing things with our machines, we need to keep the perspective that we're still killing people.

I think a lot of people miss that point when you watch it on television or a computer screen.

Re:War machines (-1)

Dead Fart Warrior (525970) | more than 12 years ago | (#2406094)

Yeah. We killed Nazi's too. Man, our country sucks.

We are killing evil you jerkoff. Quit hiding behind your hippy facade and realize that what we are doing is right, and you are hampering it.

Re:War machines (0, Flamebait)

isa-kuruption (317695) | more than 12 years ago | (#2406098)

What about the 6,000 innocent people killed in the WTC and Pentagon attacks? You Hippie! We aren't just bombing every village and marketplace in Afghanistan. It was 3 weeks of intelligence gathering and sharing that gave us the logistical military sites of the Taliban and bin Laden that we're hitting. You ASSUME we're just bombing everything! You ASSUME wrong!

Reliability is the key (1)

velociraptor (78132) | more than 12 years ago | (#2406000)

Technology can provide many seemingly incredible weapons, but they're useless if they can't be relied on to work.

For example, I recall seeing somewhere that the Apache helicopter needed servicing so frequently it wasn't of much practical use...can anyone confirm/deny this ?

if it's any clue (1)

GoatPigSheep (525460) | more than 12 years ago | (#2406002)

Well one life could have already been lost in this war, had the spy plane that was supposedly shot down not been remote controlled, there would have already been a casualty. The job of spying is always risky business, and better we risk a machine than risk a human. So perhaps there is one area where technology has helped the millitary.

Less death for us maybe (1)

wackybrit (321117) | more than 12 years ago | (#2406006)

These new techologies might save most of the Western world from being conscripted to go and fight out in Asia, but what about the people we're fighting? Technology hasn't really done them any favors. A war with less casualties? Perhaps, but probably only ever on our side. Ditching technology seems to have been one of the routes taken in Afghanistan. Apparently Usama Bin Laden has decided to go with the low-tech route of passing messages by running courier so that the US services can't spy on him as easily!

Re:Less death for us maybe (1)

kaladorn (514293) | more than 12 years ago | (#2406129)

But what's he passing? I had heard that his couriers carried disks encrypted with some rather sophisticated encryption.

Bin Laden, misguided as he is, is no dummy. He's a grade 'A' danger. He knows how to use technology where it has potence, and he knows where to use simplicity and human methods where technology is more fallible.

The only way to beat an enemy like this is to be better at those kinds of choices than he is, by bringing more force to bear where it will be effective, and by being relentless in our pursuit of murderous monsters like him.

Dreadful Civilian casualties? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2406008)

Really, JonKatz, dreadful? The hyperbole there leaves much to be desired. Sure, a few Afghanis lost their lives, but so what? You honestly expect me to care?

Dreadful would be carpet bombing the place, and then sending ground troops in to kill anything still moving. Dreadful would be nuking the whole place off the map. Collateral damage is inevitable, not dreadful.

Re:Dreadful Civilian casualties? (1)

overunderunderdone (521462) | more than 12 years ago | (#2406077)

I think it's pretty obvious he is talking about the 5,000 or so civilians killed at the WTC.

Re:Dreadful Civilian casualties? (1)

Glock27 (446276) | more than 12 years ago | (#2406085)

Really, JonKatz, dreadful? The hyperbole there leaves much to be desired. Sure, a few Afghanis lost their lives, but so what? You honestly expect me to care?

I took his reference to be to the 5,000+ dead here in the US - which qualifies as dreadful in my book.

299,792,458 m/s...not just a good idea, its the law!

The Soviets learned the hard lesson first (1)

Phoebus0 (446231) | more than 12 years ago | (#2406010)

I think this war may prove to be much more costly and long that any of the talking head may say, for two reasons: It's going to involve ground war, no matter what, because of the terrain involved. And there isn't a lot of technology to show you who's in a cave on the other side of the next hill. Also, if the U.S. proceeeds in this to the extent I think they may, then there will be continued uprisings by people in neighboring nations, which could very well result in war from multiple sides, which can only escalate until cooler heads prevail.

Re:The Soviets learned the hard lesson first (3, Informative)

Hammer (14284) | more than 12 years ago | (#2406120)

I may be picky but I think the Brits learned the same lesson before Soviet even existed...

Re:caves (2)

maddogsparky (202296) | more than 12 years ago | (#2406152)

Does anyone know if there is any technology that exists that can detect caves from above (i.e. spy plane or satellite)? It seems to me that the US had significant problems due to undetected cave systems in Vietnam and the Soviets had similar problems in Afganistan.

If this technology does exist (perhaps via earth-mapping satellites), this could make a huge difference. Then all the US would have to do is systemattically destroy any cave entrences to remove the hiding spots and flush them out where they could be spied on with conventional observasion techniques.

Making assumptions (1)

JWhiton (215050) | more than 12 years ago | (#2406012)

I don't feel that this war's outcome can be adequately predicted based on military conflicts we've had in the past. For one, this military action has a the vast majority of the population behind it, and it's likely to stay that way. Second, we have a much clearer objective going into this: Kill the terrorists. Most of our recent military actions have had fuzzier objectives. This time we're not trying to get anyone to surrender, we're concentrating on eliminating the terrorists.

Of course, if anyone has any thoughts to the contrary I'd be interested in hearing 'em.

Re:Making assumptions (2, Insightful)

alta (1263) | more than 12 years ago | (#2406139)

And which ones are the terrorists? The ones running around in tanks, hangingout shooting guns?? No, those are just the Taleban gov. officials. The terrorists are the ones that walk around in plain daylight, looking like everyone else around them. Then one day they show up with enough explosives around their chest to knock a few blocks off the map.

Now how are we going to find THOSE terrorists? Intellegence would be nice, but American's don't look like Afgans (sp.) And forget paying them, many of them are taught that the worse life is on this planet the better it is in the after life. Now what are you going to pay them off with? We could always try, "If you tell us where the terrorists are, we'll take away everything you (don't) have.

I believe we can win this war, but finding the objective is going to be much more difficult than people reaize.

The Burcha and the Joy of Islam (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2406014)

The "Burcha" s worn because a woman is traditionally stamped as a "soiled unclean beast of burden" and all female hair is regarded as "Abominable Pubic Sexual Hair" by ancient barbaric custom. The "Burcha" is designed to cover up this imaginary "filth" that is a woman. Maybe Islam was once far too "tolerant" and permitted this wicked practice to become confused with "religion' so it has enjoyed a strong protection until this day.

The "Burcha" is also worn in some areas as an "advertisement" that the woman has been brutally circumcised according to ancient tribal customs. Her intimate "private zone" has become a flat featureless area like a "porcelain doll" with just a pen-size orifice comparable to reptiles or birds "cloacae". She is "less filth" with no remaining "pubic scalp" left after being circumcised and therefore eligible for traditional marriage .

To some Muslims the "Burcha" has also become a radical political statement intended to insult non-Muslims and facilitate smuggling of contraband by terrorists. It has become a "Terrorist Gang Symbol" to some extremists. One such popular image (originally from Iran) is a woman (maybe, could be a man.) wearing a black complete "Burcha" and stretching an arm high with a loaded Kalatchnikof machine gun.

Technology is definitly on our side (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2406017)

Whatever technology the Taliban have is surely overpowered by our high-tech military devices and machinery. The main thing we have to worry about is those bastards that are hiding in the underground tunnels... there is no easy way to 'flush them out' or send a few bombs in there to cave them in. The russians have tried this already, with earthquake bombs, vaccuum bombs and more. All we can do is hope that our troops realize that the Taliban, unlike us, is NOT going to play by the rules.

I don't think there is much to worry about.... (5, Insightful)

Sir_Real (179104) | more than 12 years ago | (#2406020)

Last night on CNN a military official said (paraphrase) "We're running out of targets to hit."

The war in Afganistan isn't our big concern. Our greatest threat comes from within and is directed at our fundamental freedoms.

Re:I don't think there is much to worry about.... (1)

sg_oneill (159032) | more than 12 years ago | (#2406121)

Actually, that's what I'm actually worried about. The problem is that nailing "Terrorism" just can't involve blowing shit up all over the place (Rearanging rocks in afghanistain as another put it before. Still ROFL'ing over that!) .

The problem is , how do you nuke a concept. That's the thing. Lets say we magically nail Osama , Al Quaida , Sadam and tax, there are still going to be nutters who will be willing to plunge planes into buildings for god knows whatever cause.

Secret masonic Mind control satelites. That's what I reckon'll do it! :)

What can technology do for us in this conflict? (1)

gmkeegan (160779) | more than 12 years ago | (#2406022)

Most of the technology developed in the last 10 years has been related to gathering, storing and analyzing data. The hopeful goal is to produce information from the raw data. This is probably where we'll see the most benefit from any technology applied to Bin Laden and company. Current technology won't keep a plane from flying into a building, won't protect a water supply from any and all toxic chemicals, or keep people from contracting diseases due to biological weapon activation.

On the other hand, technology can help us gather information about who is doing what and where they're doing it. Could it stand some improvement? You bet. You can also bet that there's a whole lot of scrambling going on in the various intelligence agencies to improve any of their technologies that may have lagged in recent years.

"For it is the doom of men that they forget."

Make love, not war (5, Funny)

dasunt (249686) | more than 12 years ago | (#2406027)

Sure, war may drive technological change, but do we really want to be benefitting from death and distruction? Especially when we have a peaceful alternative that has resulted in faster internet connection speeds, the acceptance of DVDs, and the spread of the internet itself?

Yes, I'm talking about porn. Wanting free, anonymous porn everywhere has resulted in widespread internet access, even if its dialup to a local number at unlimited rates (in the US). Wanting high-quality pirated porn movies has resulted in the spread of broadband. And for viewing porn in the privacy of your own home, nothing beats DVDs, especially since they won't wear away the tape if you pause and keep viewing the same few minutes of certain "adult" videos.

Sure, you can talk about war all you want, but porn will drive further technological changes. Voice recognition software is perfect for hands-free browsing and other computer usage. Interactive movies will be another idea driven by porn. And don't even ask about what fully interactive virtual reality would be good for. ;)

As the Dead Kennedy's sang "Kinky sex makes the world go round!"

Re:Make love, not war (2)

isa-kuruption (317695) | more than 12 years ago | (#2406110)

The Taliban doesn't let anyone have telephones or even computers... so although the theory is (somewhat) good, it won't work in Afghanistan =P

What can technology do for us? (1)

Byteme (6617) | more than 12 years ago | (#2406030)

Hopefully we will be able to eradicate many diseases with the understanding of the human genome and stem cell research. That would be a good start. Fossil fuels should not be a dependency in a technology based society. If we could liberate ourselves in this sense, then maybe we would be more willing to practice less aggressive foreign policy in the Mid East. Perhaps develop better ways to provide potable water to areas in drought and disaster relief?

I could think of many that would help 'us' without focusing on weapons of mass destruction.

Ruskies!! (1)

Cenuij (526885) | more than 12 years ago | (#2406031)

Let's face it, it's not going to be an easy task if we send in the grunts. But do we actually have to? If the ruskies give the Northern Alliance enough support and we keep the worst of the Taleban hardware at bay then I would suggest to you that OBL will be facing the wrong end of the Northern Alliances big stick, given time. They want him just as badly as the allies do, lets not forget that. Let's help them to help us.

Fuckin Dork (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2406034)

Jon- We love you and all....but you're really dumb.

Killing Machines (5, Insightful)

webword (82711) | more than 12 years ago | (#2406037)

Here are some interesting charts showing how war and technology are blood brothers [] . As technology advances, we increase our ability to kill more people, at a faster rate.

Indeed, this idea applies even to non-war machines and technology that is not directly tied to war. For example, with the World Trade Center and Pentagon terrorist attacks, the killing was made possible using a regular old plane. However, the plane is a technology exemplar. The plane, in many ways, defines so much technology. The commercial planes were not meant for war or killing, yet they did kill many people.

As technology increases, we will see more death. However, the death will come from humans using and abusing technology. That is always the way it has been. Humans kill other humans. Technology just helps.

Use Nukes (2, Interesting)

notestein (445412) | more than 12 years ago | (#2406040)

We should use nukes.

There is an article at wirednews titled "Nuke 'Em From On High",1282,47319,00 .h tml

A couple excerpts of note:
The most likely candidate is a tactical micro-nuke called the B61-11, an earth-penetrating nuclear device known as the "bunker buster."
The design directs the force of the B61-11's explosive energy downward, destroying everything buried beneath it to a depth of several hundred meters, according to a story in the March 2, 1997 issue of Defense News.
Any debate inside the corridors of power about using tactical nukes will be heightened by the intelligence buzz surrounding bin Laden's possible ownership of Russian nuclear "suitcase" bombs purchased from Chechen mafia.

Those weapons are said to be hidden in deep caves and fortified tunnels in remote regions of Afghanistan.

Re:Use Nukes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2406104)

You are a dipshit.

"There is an article at wirednews titled "Nuke 'Em From On High",1282,47319,00 .h tml"

Turn that shit into a link, you ignorant piece of crap...

Nuke 'Em From On High []

...and use a little bold to spice it up!

Nuke 'Em From On High []

Re:Use Nukes (0)

notestein (445412) | more than 12 years ago | (#2406134)

Your technical prowess astound and humble me.


But thanks anyway.

Re:Use Nukes (1)

sg_oneill (159032) | more than 12 years ago | (#2406146)

I won't make a fuss about this except that we certainly should NOT use nukes!. Just simply because we shouldn't and it's bad. bad bad bad.

What this brings us? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2406042)

Anything BUT peace will it bring us. It will ONLY bring pain, sorrow, hatred and more MISUNDERSTANDING.

The Western World should instead of retalliating the consquences do something about its origins. And those origins are not the terrorist fractions, but rather the way we treat them.

Violence creates more violence. Remember that.

Re:What this brings us? (0)

notestein (445412) | more than 12 years ago | (#2406084)

My, you are an Anonymous Coward.

Re:What this brings us? (-1)

Dead Fart Warrior (525970) | more than 12 years ago | (#2406124)

Yeah, we shoulda never attacked the nazi's. We woulda created peace instead of the violence we got after that.

Fscking Hippies!


japes (467237) | more than 12 years ago | (#2406044)

Three guys, a Canadian, Osama Bin Ladin and Uncle Sam are out walking
together one day. They come across a lantern and a Genie pops out of it.
"I will give each of you each one wish, that's three wishes total," says
the Genie.
The Canadian says, "I am a farmer, my dad was a farmer, and my son
will also farm. I want the land to be forever fertile in Canada."
With a blink of the Genie's eye, 'POOF' the land in Canada was
forever made fertile for farming.
Osama Bin Ladin was amazed, so he said, "I want a wall around
Afghanistan, so that no infidels, Jews or Americans can come into our
precious state."
Again, with a blink of the Genie's eye, 'POOF' there was a huge wall
around Afghanistan.

"Uncle Sam" (A former civil engineer), asks,
"I'm very curious. Please tell me more about this wall."
The Genie explains, "Well, it's about 15,000 feet high, 500 feet thick
and completely surrounds the country; nothing can get in or
out---virtually impenetrable."

"Uncle Sam" says, "Fill it with water."

Either that or when we do get OSL, give him a sex change operation and send him back a woman!

Differential Theory of Special Operations Forces (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2406046)

The Differential Theory of Special Operations Forces (Snake Model)

Upon encountering a snake in the Area of Operation (AO):

  • Paratrooper: Kills the snake.
  • Armor: Runs over snake, giggles, and looks for more snakes.
  • Infantry: "Look, a putty cat. Come 'ere kitty . . . Ouch! Hey, that's not a kitty cat."
  • Infantry (alt): "Ugh! Me see snake. Me like snake. Ouch! Me no like snake."
  • Army Aviation: Has GPS grid to snake. Couldn't find snake. Back to base for crew rest and the club and some sort of drink called "The Snake"
  • Ranger: Plays with the snake, then eats it.
  • Ranger (alt): Assaults the snake's home and secures it for use by friendly snakes.
  • SEAL: Expends all ammunition, several grenades and calls for naval gunfire in a failed attempt to kill the snake. The snake bites the SEAL then retreats to safety.
  • AF Special Ops: Pulverizes snake from 15,000 feet with AC-130 gunship fire. Heads back to O-club for some shooters.
  • Corps Artillery: Kills snake, but in the process kills several hundred civilians with a massive TOT with three FA BDEs in support. Mission is considered a success and all participants are awarded Silver Stars. (Cooks, Mechanics, Legal Clerks etc.)
  • Marine Recon: Follows the snake and gets lost.
  • Combat Controller: Guides the snake elsewhere.
  • Pararescue: Wounds the snake in first encounter, then feverishly works to save the snake's life.
  • Special Forces: Makes contact with the snake, builds rapport, wins its heart and mind, then trains it to kill other snakes.

Surveillance... (1)

inc0gnito (443709) | more than 12 years ago | (#2406050)

It seems to me that the best way technology can assist us in this matter is improved surveillance... My friend was telling me about cheap un-manned spy planes that the U.S. has been using. The more we know about the targets, the more likely we are to only damage critical areas and drastically reduce the number of innocnet deaths.

Not Vietnam or Kuwait (4, Interesting)

Diabolical (2110) | more than 12 years ago | (#2406053)

This war will be neither. I'll wage that small teams of highly trained commando's will be used instead of large forces like in 'nam. America can and will not be trapped in another situation like that.

Besides.. this time they are after a terrorist and it's hosts not an entire country. And of course... it will not be the US alone. Don't forget that allmost half the entire world is standing behind the US. Off course.. if it takes too long support will weaken with the day...

In the end nothing will have changed though. Bin Laden will just be replaced by someone smarter. Smarter because he knows what he can expect. More intelligent because he will probably use more sophisticated means, not nescesarily technologically sophisticated but sophisticated nonetheless.

All our technology in spite we will never be able to root out all terrorism. Whatever kind of goggles we use...

Edge over Russians? (2)

wunderhorn1 (114559) | more than 12 years ago | (#2406065)

Will our soldiers' tech-equipped vehicles, equipment and weapons give them an edge over the the Russians, who were chewed to bits in their conflict with Afghanistan guerrillas, but whose equipment was comparatively primitive?

One point: The Russians were chewed to bits by the Afghan guerrillas because the Afgans had our support, first in the form of funding and Russian-made weapons to disguise or involvement, then we flat out gave them our tech-equipped weapons (the stinger missiles, which were deadly effective in neutralizing the Russian's helicopters).

Personally, I'm going to trust our military strategists and their technology and hope that they know what they're doing, because right now there's not much else I can do otherwise except for carry on with my life as best as I can.

this war (1)

Sanchi (192386) | more than 12 years ago | (#2406067)

We (Americans) has the best trained military the world has ever seen. But we will not mount a ground assult without air support. The bombs are being used to take out AA guns, SAM sites, Air fields, comunications and electricty. Air Power can not and will not win a war alone. It is a joint effort of all bratchs of the military.

That being said, this will not be an easy war. These are grizzled fighters, fighting for what they believe. We have made alies with the Northen Allience and most of the other countries in the world. The conscrips that the Talbin has forced into service have already started to desert to the north. These people know the land and will will this war for us.

nuf said


Well... (-1)

j0nkatz (315168) | more than 12 years ago | (#2406069)

You sir are a turd burgular.

Maybe one of these days technology can bring us a good movie review, untill then we have you.

It's up to the Poor Bloody Infantry (5, Insightful)

kaladorn (514293) | more than 12 years ago | (#2406071)

As usual, Katz incisive and thought provoking (NOT) analysis of the situation leaves one breathless...

What are laser-guided bombs, satellite guided missiles, penetrating sensor systems, stealth planes, etc?

Force Multipliers.

But anything times zero is still zero.

The core of this, and every other conflict, is the soldier. The core of any operation involving taking ground and holding it, or in denying that ground to an enemy, is the infantry. Poor, thankless, cold, and tired infantry. Some poor shmuck (possibly quite well educated nowadays) a long way from home, in a nasty situation, with some people out to kill him and maybe some friends he's trying to keep alive. And hoping he'll get out in one piece and hoping he'll have dry socks.

This isn't a _new_ kind of war. It's a very _old_ kind of war - what is going on in Afghanistan today is a conventional war - suppression of air defenses prior to ground action. This war (like many others back many millenia) will be fought by conventional and unconventional means.

Will technology make a difference? It'll help. Being able to see at night is a big plus. Having comms and fire support and airborne mobility are pretty big assets. But ultimately, it'll be skirmishers, light infantry and special operations forces that will go toe to toe with the terrorists in the hilly backcountry of Afghanistan. All the technology in the world won't change that reality.

And will the allied forces get their asses kicked? Maybe they'll take some hits (probably some boys will be dying... this is always the cost of fighting an implacable enemy such as the terrorists are...). But the allied military forces have learned a lot from the Russian experiences and they've learned a lot in conflicts around the world in the last 10 years (Kosovo, Sarajevo, Bosnia, The Gulf, etc.) about how new conflicts are fought, their horrors, and their risks.

Ultimately, they will prevail against a government that does not enjoy unified support from its people because it is corrupt and because it abuses its populace. But don't ever think they have prevailed because of some wazoo technology.

They will have prevailed because some farm boy from Iowa was willing to bust his ass training to be a Green Beret and because he's willing to lay that same ass on the line for what he believes in and to do what it takes, wherever in the world that may be, to get the job done and make the world a safer place for his fellow citizens. That farm boy's guts and training and sacrifice will be what carries the day, as always.

God Bless America (and I'm not even 'Merican!)

Tomb Raider

How Technology Can Win This War (2)

isa-kuruption (317695) | more than 12 years ago | (#2406072)

Microwaves! They will fry any electronics or living beings. If we have any idea bin laden is in a hill somewhere, just get a bunch of Microwave dishes and burn him to a crisp. Clean, cheap and no one will know any different because there is no crater. Sure, all the dead animals would be a sign *something* happened but there would be no crater!

There is no way we're going to be able to search every cave in Afghanistan, but we can use Microwaves to cook us some Taliban!

In the back of machines (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2406073)

Since the 1st world war the USA soldiers are addicts to be in the back of machines to avoid face-to-face combats. This has been envolving since then, and looking to the military actions made by the USA in the last century, it becomes clear that the only option for the USA is to use machines instead of brains and soldiers - most attacks suffer from bad intelligence and extreme disorganization (normandy, panama, vietnam, corea, japan and nicaragua, just to name a few, are some witnesses of the undoubtful USA military incompetence).

Tech is useful, to a point. (3, Interesting)

El_Smack (267329) | more than 12 years ago | (#2406074)

Our mighty technological superiority over Iraq was useful until we beat them down till we had no more targets large enough to justify using half million dollar missles on. At that point, you send in the ground troops, and incur casualties. Afghanistan is already at the point where ground troops are necessary, so our tech doesn't give that big of a percentage advantage. Look for 20 to 1 kill ratios (U.S. to Osama) when the fighting gets up close and personal, rather than the zero casualties we are used to.

War has many faces... (2)

Rackemup (160230) | more than 12 years ago | (#2406075)

Is it possible that war is a necessary evil? Many of the technological advancements over the past 100 years have been made because they filled a need during war-time... it was only after the war was over that these devices found uses in the commercial market (ie radar in car bumpers, GPS units for hikers). War creates as well as it destroys.

The use of technology in warfare means that the days of drop-and-pray bombing are over, precision GPS and laser guided missles mean that targets can be singled out and destroyed without needing to destroy the whole area so there are going to be fewer civillian casualties.

A lot of people died in the Sept. 11 attacks and the retaliation attacks will cause more deaths no matter how accurate the weapons are. The only reason we can sit here and debate these issues is because the bombs aren't targetting our buildings.

The only way to achieve the same level of technological advancement without the war-driven invention craze is for everyone to work together on a common goal, but given the track-record of human interaction that's not likely to happen anytime soon is it?

Think about it, we'd probably have clean-burning fuel and personal aircraft now if people worked together instead of fighting all the time.

Bomb em with Books (4, Funny)

wbtittle (456702) | more than 12 years ago | (#2406082)

Here is how technology can really help. If we combine current e-book technology with high density storage like C-3D [] we can create a device that can store lots of books in a small space.

Make millions of them. Get every text possible stored onto the media. Drop them all over the middle east, but most importantly Pakistan and Afghanistan. It would probably be useful to dump them all over the "stan's".

There are a few logistical problems (like how to power them consistently), but a small device can be easily hidden. Libraries are more difficult to hide. An e-book and its media could be stuffed under a brick, behind a stove, in the rafters easily.

Saturate them with knowledge. Send the good with the bad.

Hey, if we are clever, we can even make the e-books play video. Then we can send really subversive stuff, like episodes of "Friends!," "Soap," "All in the Family," "Days of Our Lives," "The OJ Trial."

Bringing the perpetrators of this crime to justice is important, but educating the world is more important. In the long run, enabling education will help us more than destroying infrastructure.


Brad Tittle

Tech as a liability (2)

Zara2 (160595) | more than 12 years ago | (#2406083)

Personally I think that in many ways our technology could be a liability in this war. This was already shown by using our own airplane/jet technology as a weapon. Also during the flight our cell phone technology was used as a weapon of terror by having the hostages call thier families. In the future I personally am expecting a lot more technology centered attacks. Imagine the effects to a lagre city (here in austin for instance) if all of the cell phone towers were taken out followed immediately by a propane delivery truck slamming into an office building. Hell even just cutting under-water cableing using depth charges would bring the entire world banking industry to a halt in 3 seconds flat and could be done using reletively cheap parts.

I guess the point that I am making is that most of our communications tech (at least the civilian stuff) was not made with wartime in mind. Hell I can just imagine what kind of information could be garnered by a good hacker with a portable with boosted up wireless card on it. Hell even a van with jamming equipent driving through most major cities cutting off cell phone calls would create massive havoc. And these are just some ideas I had on the spur of the moment wihtout knowing the ins and outs of a lot of these system.

Technology solves all given enough time... (2, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 12 years ago | (#2406090)

Whether or not technology is going to be the deciding factor in this particular conflict is debatable. It does seem likely, though.

Consider the weapons which we have which (as far as we know) no other nation can even touch; The highly engineered fuel-air bombs with kiloton yield, stealth fighters, 2,000 mile range cruise missiles which can follow roads, flying low, and pop through your bedroom window... literally. When they get there (and I'm talking about tomahawks here) they can deliver a nuke, EMP, high explosive, antipersonnel, et cetera. How's that to really put the cap on your bad day?

Now, this is the technology that we know about. Some of it we know about because it became inconvenient to hide, and some of it we know about because the military wants to brag about how big its stones are. But think about how long some of this stuff was around before we really knew anything about it, or in some cases, anything. Think about what the military must have that they're not even telling us about.

On the other hand, Bin Laden lives a fairly low-tech life. Many of the methods we would ordinarily employ to locate someone will not work because of this. Ultimately, however, I think the pressure we're putting on the nation will lead us to him. Whether or not he's actually the one responsible for the attacks is a seperate issue. I personally don't care; He's a known (and admitted) terrorist, responsible for the deaths of [relative] innocents, and he should be killed. While I'm against the death penalty in most situations, sometimes someone is just too dangerous to be allowed to live. Better thee than me.

On top of all this; We trained most of these people, either directly or indirectly. We know how they operate, and we know just what level of technology they posess, and in most cases exactly what kind of gear they have, because they got it from us. We have both the technological and information edges on these people. You can further bet your ass that there's a significant number of "spy" satellites hanging out over these areas right now, just checking out anything that looks interesting. It might take us a while, but it is only a matter of time. Also, as a final point, consider that the US government, or at least influential pieces of it, is/are completely ruthless. This is merely something it has in common with almost every other government. While perhaps not a Good Thing (tm), it is occasionally useful.

Like the mounties...

Not conventional combat (5, Insightful)

Chris_Pugrud (16615) | more than 12 years ago | (#2406091)

One thing I really hope we learned first from Vietnam and second from the Russian attack on Afghanastan is that you cannot fight unconventional forces with conventional forces. The Afghans have a very well oiled guerilla force. The Soviets spent 6 years fruitlessly trying to fight an army that wasn't really there.

It wasn't until 1986 when the soviets realized they needed to match their forces and began sending in Spetznatz (Special Forces) units instead of traditional forces. They were tremendously sucessful, and by some accounts pretty much had the war won. At that point Reagan stepped in and gave the Afghan forces American Technology, principally lots of Stinger missles. New weapons were enough to turn the tide of the war and the Soviets spent the next two years in a somewhat controlled retreat.

Be careful who you think your friends are, as our own Stinger missles are currently considered the biggest threat to the safety of American planes in Afghanastan.

Our targeted strikes are merely to knock out known defenses and to destabilize the infrastructure. The only way we can flush out their military will be with on the ground special forces.

The biggest thing that I fear is that the US will renig on their commitment to rebuild Afghanastan once we are done blowing it up. If we do not make the investment to rebuild Afghanastan to a stable and capable society, then we will merely be back where we began.

Remember that's how the Taliban came to power. Afghanastan was obliterated by the Soviets. It was an Anarchistic country dominated by local warlords, and ripe for a unifying force to take brutal control. Starving and desperate populations are the breeding ground for violent dictators: Witness numerous 20th Century european countries (names withheld to avoid invoking net flame degredation rules :).



Lets not get ahead of ourselves... (0)

Massive.Hex (213270) | more than 12 years ago | (#2406096)

In this conflict there has already been over 5,000+ casualties all taken with arguably tow tech weapons (never thought I'd consider a 767 a weapon.) IMHO, if you depend on tech solely you venture into dangerous territory. You must also cary resolve.

Nothing beats strategy (1)

Red Aardvark House (523181) | more than 12 years ago | (#2406101)

It worked for Saddam in the Gulf conflict, using dummy bases so the allied coalition would attack them instead of hidden, real missile sites.

We should not let technology be a substitute for sound strategy and planning.

News Flash: Katz questions technology (0, Flamebait)

(nil) (140773) | more than 12 years ago | (#2406107)


Readers were stunned to learn that Jon Katz, "controversial" columnist at the declining website, posted an article that questioned the use of technology.

The article in question, titled "War: What Can Technology Do for Us?" shocked any remaining readers by suggesting that technology may, in fact, not be a panacea for the ills that plague humanity. refused to comment when contacted. A reply was received by Katz, however the text of Katz's reply is unfortunately too lengthy to reprint.

Technology is as good as the humans... (1)

Kruemelmo (21012) | more than 12 years ago | (#2406109)

...who develop and use it.

For example, it obviously does not prevent the US forces from bombing the wrong target, e.g. Chinese embassy in Belgrad or the pharmaceutical factory in Sudan.

Just a side note (from a European point of view).

like being in "1984" (5, Insightful)

peter303 (12292) | more than 12 years ago | (#2406116)

The media onslaught is just like the "number" movies '1984' or 'Fahrenheit 451'. The media brags about some high-tech onslaught against some evil external threat. You see very little diverse opinion in the media, and the people who have offered some have paid (e.g. Bill Maher). Ironically, Orwell and Bradbury predicted that a dictatorial state would be necessary to impose such a uniform view, whereas in the present case the "silo-vision" seems to be emerging from all levels- the viewers, the media providers and the government.

On the other hand, the beauty of the net is that I can see the analysis almost totally absent from US media by reading European and Asian web papers.

Yea Technology (1)

Hassman (320786) | more than 12 years ago | (#2406117)

I personally can't wait for the US to develop Power Armor. Then when all the oil reserves are dried up and there is a big struggle to get the last oil we can totally kick ass. It'll be great. We'll invade China. Then they'll launch their nuclear missles against us. Our missle shield will fail miserablely so we'll launch back. The world will turn into a vast wastland of backward technology, mutants, crashed whales, aliens, and "jet". But its ok because the government will have set up vaults, and later we'll have the Brotherhood of Steel slowly reintroduce technology. Of course we'll have to deal with the Enclave then to. Anyway, I'll be in Vault wait...Vault 13!! But then our water chip will break so we'll have to find a new one and then......

Smells like trolls (1)

Nf1nk (443791) | more than 12 years ago | (#2406122)

I feel like I am replying to a troll here, but iwill go ahead anyways.

I forsee that in the next few weeks we will have eliminated most of the decent military targets that the Taliban have, and to be fair there aren't that many.

once that is done the only tech edge we will have left is in intelligance. It is important to monitor radio traffic (and triangulate positions of the transmitters) watch troop movements etc. What it sounds like the game planfrom there is from theree is to continue to seed destablization in the country (read: Fund northern alliance).

the fallicy here is will deposing the Taliban give us Osama, hard to say but it should make other rogue states think twice before harbouring a known terrorist

Technology neither the problem nor the solution (3, Flamebait)

Zen Mastuh (456254) | more than 12 years ago | (#2406125)

When Hussein invaded Kuwait in 1990, we responded not by becoming independent from fossil fuels but by establishing a permanent military presence in Islamic holy lands. Even then we were warned by ibn Laden of the consequences of our actions. Even now he is saying that America will not be safe until we leave their holy lands. He has factually and impassionately stated both the problem and the only acceptable solution. He hasn't even the slightest fantasy of taking over America. He just wants us to leave them alone. Sounds simple to me. However, both Papa Bear Bush and Little Bear Bush are oilmen whose pockets are lined by the richest corporations. How many more Americans will these two gentlemen (a term I use loosely) sacrifice with their greed-driven ideologies?

I am disappointed in Little Bear Bush for lying to us once again. During his speech (9/11 or 9/12), he stated that we will use every tool at our disposal, including diplomacy. Time and again, the leaders of the Taleban have stated their desire to speak with us, which fits the dictionary definition of diplomacy. Time and again, Bush and company have rejected the Taleban's proposals. Bush's idea of diplomacy is apparently as screwy as his handle on compassion.

On a side note, we may be witnessing the beginning of an Anthrax outbreak. This is poetic, considering that most Americans are "following the flock" with meaningless flag-waving and spouting of rhetoric.

Technology (1)

snoozerdss (303165) | more than 12 years ago | (#2406126)

If anything technology will save a few American (military) lives in battle. It's not 100% but what is?

Is it ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2406131)

Fremen vs Harkonian

Oh, great. (2)

tomknight (190939) | more than 12 years ago | (#2406132)

One thing technology helps us do is distance ourselves from the fact we're killing innocent people. But it's okay, 'cos we can all tune in and catch the latest glory news of how we're all doing so well.

Excuse me, but this whole thing, from beginning to every minute of every day that this continues makes me sick.

Goodbye karma, but what's the good of it anyway?

Loss of some life, not militarily significant (3, Insightful)

DickBreath (207180) | more than 12 years ago | (#2406133)

While we may loose some lives, and I don't intend to downplay the seriousness of this, it is probably not going to be militarily significant. That is, it won't change the real outcome.

The plain simple fact is that not only do we have vastly more and better equipment, but we also have vastly more and better trained people. Some of them will be lost, the the outcome is not in doubt.

The only thing in doubt is our will to see this through. In the past we have not had the will. After the first few body bags, we run home with our tail between our legs. And that is partly why Sept 11 occured. There is no credible belief that we'll do really very much about it. We'll drop a few bombs, and then when the first few body bags arrive, we'll run home.

After the Sept 11 outrange, we may now have the will. And this, I believe, is Osama's miscalculation.

Another one is this. He may grasp how to use PR to spin his side. But it seems to me that each PR bit he has released has stired our side to even more anger. And we may be able to counter spin his own remarks in front of the Arab world. That remains to be seen.

The Art of War (1)

GunnarR (161157) | more than 12 years ago | (#2406137)

The greatest "technology" about war was written
by Sun Tzu about 2000 years ago. It is very much
up to date and definitive reading for anybody
serious about waging war.

What are the aims of this war ? Will we really
manage to wipe out the murderers or will we be looked up on as murderers and just increase the
risk of more bloodshed ?

Maybe this war could have been won without using
bombs at all ? By addressing the real issues instead. It is worrying to see that Osama bin Laden actually is gaining new supporters these days, it seems to be me that the US is doing exactly what he wanted them to do.

Food for thought. Maybe bin Laden is the guy who
is using technology to his advantage in this war ?

It's the straw men again . . . (4, Interesting)

raresilk (100418) | more than 12 years ago | (#2406141)

I know, I know, it's just Katz rabble-rousing and I should lower my expectations, but what is the basis for this statement:

"Most Americans are convinced that technology -- GPS targeting systems, thermal imaging, new intelligence retrieval systems, pilotless drone reconnaisance aircraft, high-altitude bombers, special forces equipped with goggles than can see into caves -- will carry the day for us. Will it? What can technology really do for us in this new war?"

Everything I have read, viewed or heard in the media, every poll I have seen, and every live human I have spoken with in the weeks since September 11 supports precisely the opposite proposition - the general public DOES NOT BELIEVE that technology gives the US/Allies the advantage in this war; it will be won, if at all, by traditional human intelligence, gritty casualty-producing ground combat, determination, and patience. And I don't hear anyone underestimating the low-tech Afghan mujahedeen.

Where are the "most Americans" who believe this is a magic tech silver bullet war? I don't see or hear them anywhere.

We'll soon find out (2)

cryptochrome (303529) | more than 12 years ago | (#2406142)

The most distinctive feature of American-style warfare in the recent past was our extreme aversion to casualties, which developed during Viet Nam. Our development of high-tech warfare was motivated at least in part by this. In the wake of 9-11 that fear has become irrelevant, and we're going to be applying miltech in new and interesting ways.

Tactically (thanks to the elusive nature of the enemy), the war we're in now is all about intelligence gathering, which we have developed to a high degree technologically while leaving more conventional man-on-the-scene methods behind. The question is whether technology alone can compensate. I suspect that it can to a much higher degree than people might suspect, especially in the mountains of Afghanistan, but in order for it to be really effective (especially in populated areas), we'll need the new capability to put a bug/bot-on-the-scene.

Of course I don't really know how effective our tech will be in this war, but one thing is for sure - we'll soon find out.
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