Smart mobs, armed
: Dan Hon discovers that the Rand Corporation puts its nonclassified docs online and he discovers a fascinating one that looks at the positive and negative sides of the network society and the advent of “netwar.” I’ll quote the same nut graph that Dan gives you but the full text is interesting:
The fight for the future is not between the armies of leading states, nor are its weapons those of traditional armed forces. Rather, the combatants come from bomb-making terrorist groups like Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda, or drug smuggling cartels like those in Colombia and Mexico. On the positive side are civil-society activists fighting for the environment, democracy and human rights. What all have in common is that they operate in small, dispersed units that can deploy anywhere, anytime to penetrate and disrupt. They all feature network forms of organization, doctrine, strategy, and technology attuned to the information age. And, from the Intifadah to the drug war, they are proving very hard to beat.
And here’s another fascinating piece of Randthink — relevant, of course, to the current game of Iraqi chicken — that investigates America’s new (or revisited) ability to use conventional military forces as a coercive tool: