Soulskill from the fighting-never-gets-cleaner dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "Michael Crowley writes that using drones rather than soldiers to kill bad guys is appealing for many reasons, including cost, relative precision and reduction of risk to American troops. But there's plenty of evidence that drones antagonize local populations and create more enemies over the long term than we kill in the short term. The failed 2010 Times Square bomber, Faisal Shahzad, has said that about the U.S. drone campaign in Pakistan, and the Washington Post has described how drone strikes may be breeding sympathy for al-Qaeda in Yemen. 'It is the politically advantageous thing to do — low cost, no U.S. casualties, gives the appearance of toughness. It plays well domestically and it is unpopular only in other countries,' says Dennis Blair, director of national intelligence until May of 2010. 'Any damage it does to the national interest only shows up over the long term.' Now there's another component to the new warfare that threatens blowback: cyberwar. Like drones, cyberweapons are relatively cheap and do their work without putting American troops in harm's way. The blowback comes when those viruses get loose and inflict unintended damage or provide templates to terrorists or enemy nations that some experts think could lead to disaster and argue that cyberweapons are like bioweapons, demanding international treaties to govern their use. 'We may indeed be at a critical moment in history, when the planet's prospects could be markedly improved by an international treaty on cyberweapons, and the cultivation of an attendant norm against cyberwar,' writes Richard Wright. 'The ideal nation to lead the world toward this goal would be the most powerful nation on earth, especially if that nation had a pretty clean record on the cyberweapons front. A few years ago, America seemed to fit that description. But it doesn't now.'"
"The algorithm to do that is extremely nasty. You might want to mug
someone with it."
-- M. Devine, Computer Science 340