Crumpton’s picks (8): Our leaders need to learn more about the future of violence
In their recently published book, The Future of Violence: Robots and Germs, Hackers and Drones – Confronting a New Age of Threat, Benjamin Wittes and Gabriella Blum urge our leaders and citizens to understand and prepare for new types of risk and war.
By Henry A. Crumpton
Best Defense guest columnist
8. The Homefront. In their recently published book, The Future of Violence: Robots and Germs, Hackers and Drones – Confronting a New Age of Threat, Benjamin Wittes and Gabriella Blum urge our leaders and citizens to understand and prepare for new types of risk and war. Ignorance, apathy, naivety and hope, wrapped around archaic views of conflict, can feed self-delusion of our leaders and citizens.
Less than one percent of the U.S. population has any role in this war against al Qaeda and ISIS, and almost no knowledge of it. Yet, we face more varied, unique, direct, and random types of threats than ever, even while the odds of a terrorist attack are remote — 100 times less than dying from hunger in the US, according to the Center for Disease Control. In 1991, strategist Martin van Creveld wrote, “As new forms of armed conflict multiply and spread, they will cause the lines between public and private, government and people, military and civilian, to become as blurred as they were before 1648.”
Since that prescient comment, many factors, including the worldwide web, have accelerated this trend. The FBI now has almost 1000 investigations of ISIS in all 50 states, with 82 arrests of ISIS supporters/operatives.
As Wittes and Blum teach, our homefront is increasingly integrated into a global battlefield populated with cyber-bugs, robots, germs, and weapons we cannot imagine. They argue that our leaders must educate themselves to these new risks, and craft not just operational responses but new, far-reaching policies and laws that deal with the threat and also protect our civil liberties.
(To be continued)
Image credit: 1lluminati/Flickr (cropped)
Thomas E. Ricks is a former contributing editor to Foreign Policy. Twitter: @tomricks1
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