Strategy Page reads….

The Laws Of War And Cyber Warriors

Cyber War is confounding lawyers because attacks via the Internet can do enormous damage, and are sometimes carried out by civilians. How do you deal with that? There are rules for hackers in uniform, but not for the irregulars. One suggestion is to identify and seize hackers who have done damage and put them before a tribunal to determine if the hacker has rights as a POW under the Geneva Convention. Thus one has to determine if the hacker wore a military uniform? Was the hacker commanded by officers responsible for his conduct (that’s not what hacking is all about)? Did the hacker conduct his activities in accordance with the recognized rules of war? Definitely not. It used to be that if an armed civilian attacked you under these circumstances, you could kill them, even if they surrendered. But the 1949 Geneva Conventions prohibited this (but did allow your troops to shoot back at armed civilians). Thus if you can catch the hacker working a keyboard, you can open fire. But you can’t take him alive and later execute him. Not right away. If a hacker caused damage that killed people, a murder charge, and even the death penalty, could stick.

Soaring Admission Standards *

There are no more waivers. This was a practice that has been declining over the last three years. Waivers allow otherwise qualified (physically and mentally) applicants to enlist, despite having a police record. These are called "moral waivers”. In 2003, 4.6 percent of all recruits benefited from this. In 2006, it was 7.9 percent. Some journalists believed this would lead to an increase in criminal activity on army bases, especially involving young guys who were in gangs before they joined the military. That would make a great headline. This turned out to be the case. In 2006, 16 of 10,000 criminal investigations were gang related. That was up from ten in 2005, five in 2004 and four in 2003. In 2006, there were 61 gang related incidents in 18 army bases. There are believed to be several hundred soldiers who still maintain their gang affiliations. Not enough to be a real problem, but enough to get your editor off your back. But troops enlisted via waivers tend to have a more difficult time completing the training, or have discipline and self-control problems later on. Thus no more waivers.

* Note:  Standards have not actually changed.  Just as they were never lowered, they have not raised.  Its simply the effects of supply and demand–supply exceeds demand, the appearance is that standards go up because recruiters can be picky and vice versa.

Misunderstanding The Afghanistan Model

Any future war will involve smart bombs and Special Forces. But there is no "Afghanistan Model." What we saw in Afghanistan was what went on as a part of the Vietnam War. Against a determined enemy, expect hard fighting, and being on the receiving end of nasty surprises. In Libya, it’s unclear what the end of the war will really look like. The "Afghanistan Model" is wishful, and dangerous, thinking.

Feeding Civil War Fever In Afghanistan

Karzai also points out that Afghanistan cannot afford to maintain 300,000 soldiers and police by themselves. If the Americans and other Western countries cut off their aid, the Afghan government will have to disband most of the army and police units. He didn’t have to mention that much of the new equipment and weapons would then be stolen or sold off by corrupt officials. Maybe that’s why Karzai also complained that there should be more “ethnic balance” in the security forces. This is another way of saying that not enough Pushtuns are joining the security forces. Karzai is a Pushtun, as are about 40 percent of Afghans. There are twice as many Pushtuns across the border in Pakistan, where Pushtuns are 15 percent of a much larger population. While only a small minority of Afghan Pushtuns support the Taliban, all Pushtuns support their tribes, and the Pushtun people in general. In other words, the Pushtuns want their fair share of all the new weapons. Karzai, and many other Afghan leaders, fear that the flood of new weapons and military equipment will simply make another civil war more likely. That’s because the national government only exists because the tribal leaders and warlords allow it. If the massive foreign aid (which is funneled through the national government) disappears, there will be no reason to pay much attention to the central government.


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