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The New Transparency of War and Lethality of Hatre

Hugh Pickens writes (1984118) writes | more than 2 years ago

The Military 0

Hugh Pickens writes writes "Robert Wright writes that if you had asked him a few days ago, before news broke that American soldiers had urinated on Taliban corpses if such a thing were possible he would have said "probably." After all if you send "young people into combat, people whose job is to kill the enemy and who watch as their friends are killed and maimed by the enemy, [.] the chances are that signs of disrespect for the enemy will surface — and that every once in a while those signs will assume grotesque form." War, presumably, has always been like that but something has changed that amounts to a powerful new argument against starting wars in the first place. First, there's the new transparency of war as battlefield details get recorded, and everyone has the tools to broadcast these details so "it's just a matter of time before some outrageous image goes viral — pictures from Abu Ghraib, video from Afghanistan" that will make you and your soldiers more hated by the enemy than ever. The second big change is that hatred is now a more dangerous thing. "New information technologies make it easier for people who share a hatred to organize around it," writes Wright. "And once hateful groups are organized, they stand a better chance than a few decades ago of getting their hands on massively lethal technologies." It used to be that national security consisted of making sure all foreign governments either liked you or feared you; now it requires that as few people as possible hate you. "I think we should reflect on that before we start another war.""

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