Re: armed robots

Date: Thu Mar 01 2001 - 07:14:13 MST

I missed the beginning of this thread and agree at one level that the
projection of force against non-combatants is an ultimate THREAT in all kinds
of warfare. However, in practice, most "state-level" military activity stops
well short of the actual USE of force against non-combatants. Instead,
"formal" warfare usually involves the engagement of military forces against
each other until some decisive advantage is achieved by one side or the
other, at which point diplomatic and political resolution ensues. The
widespread use of "terror bombing" of civilians in the second World War as an
explicit policy of state/military policy by all of the combatants was
actually an aberration in this regard. (And, as a result has been widely and
deeply studied by military historians.) Of course, the actions of
"sub-state" civil combatants follows a different logic, and in that kind of
conflict, use of "paramilitary" force against non-combatants seems to be the
almost universal rule now and in the past.

At least in terms of warfighting doctrine, the US military has retreated
significantly from the idea of terrorizing civilian populations. An explicit
foundation of US military doctrine for the last 25 years has been the
revitalization of traditional ideas of "counterforce" through the use of
precision munitions and superiority of "C3I" (command, control,
communications and intelligence). Given the history of real military
conflicts over that period, I think this doctrinal shift has resulted in a
real change in both the planning and procurement of all "First World"
military organizations and in the conduct of actual warfare. Thus, I think
that Spike's original post (which I've reconstructed from quotations in
replies) is in fact largely correct, both as a reflection of the current
direction of military thinking and the realistic prospects for how military
activity (both in warfare and otherwise) may well be conducted over the next
few decades.

       Greg Burch <>----<>
      Attorney ::: Vice President, Extropy Institute ::: Wilderness Guide -or-
                                           ICQ # 61112550
        "We never stop investigating. We are never satisfied that we know
        enough to get by. Every question we answer leads on to another
       question. This has become the greatest survival trick of our species."
                                          -- Desmond Morris

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