Monday, 26 OCT 2015 :: war and weapons

As I was sorting through my piles of papers this weekend, I found a note I had made recently.  I can't recall where the information came from, but I listen to a lot of PBS documentary and news programs.  It's possible I noted it while listening to one of them.  I also listen to public TV news programs like 60 Minutes, so it may have come from one of them.

The note said that in 14 years of war in Afghanistan, there were only 2200 military deaths... on our side.  This number says a lot about the direction of our weapons development, our military interventions, and our ground and air forces.

For some time I have been noticing news facts about war casualties, and the weapons used.  In places with less military might, the amount of deaths in wars and other forms of conflict are huge... in the hundreds of thousands for larger uprisings, like the Arab Spring. I also noticed references to the Civil War dead, to those who died in WWII and Vietnam, and more current issues like the Middle East conflicts, ISIS, Al-Qaida, Ukraine, Iran, Syria, etc.  The numbers of American dead are always miniscule in comparison to those countries and groups with traditional weapons.  It seemed to me that as our weapons become more technological, they become more precise, and less people seem to die. 

I recently heard a program on military drones being developed to carry out important military tasks, including enemy strikes with sophisticated weapons.  I heard another program showing that robotics are being used to find land mines left over from other wars, or newly planted in some countries without the ability to possess new weaponry.

It is true that fewer humans may die with the use of modern technology in military weapons, but there are other perspectives to consider as well.  As we all get "up to speed" with technology, which is relatively cheap, money will be less of a factor.  We will all be attached to the internet.  Anyone will have the capability to infiltrate safety measures we think will protect us. 

All the measures we take to be stronger than our enemies will dissolve into their ability to use our weapons against us.  It is already becoming evident that our power grids are as much of a threat to our safety as our enemies possessing nuclear bombs and the will to use them.  Chemical and germ warfare are become weapons of choice for those who cannot buy drones, or are kept from creating their own military strength.  Overcoming America becomes the goal, and nothing else seems to matter.

I remember reading that Obama let the Chinese have the manufacturing plans for the Humvee.  I wondered why.  I have always thought it was a military vehicle, and part of the protections we have for our soldiers.  The Chinese are technologically our enemies... philosophically our enemies... and potentially our military enemies.  Should they own anything that is related to our military equipment?  Should they even own our debt?  It makes us vulnerable in ways we don't need to be.

For many years, I have read Christian articles or listened to Christian programs about services like OnStar, the satellite protection system.  It has been noted that from way out in space, this satellite program has the capacity to stop your engine, to lock your doors, to find you wherever you are, and intervene on your behalf if there is a problem.  I suppose there are video capabilities by now.  My point of view has always been that, if someone can lock your doors to keep intruders out, they can also lock your doors to keep you in...  they have the capacity to make you a prisoner as easily as they can rescue you. 

I think it was 60 Minutes segment I watched that reported on hackers being able to take control of your driving functions because our cars are now deeply integrated with technology.  Wireless services are convenient for us, but they also are convenient for those who wish us harm.  It will be years before we develop ways to protect against the misuse of our technology.

Our factories are being connected to the internet.  Our homes are increasingly connected to the internet.  If we can afford them, we have phones that are connected to the internet. 

Smartphones are becoming our primary pivot point in life. They have our memories, our personal data, our music, our books, our schedules, our apps, our sense of safety, and our connection to those we love, including our houses, our work, and everything about our existence.  If we somehow lose them, we don't just lose a phone.

Military weapons and the definition of "war" are changing faster than we can keep track of them.  The internet is creating a global environment.  We are all going to be connected to it one of these days...  what will happen to freedom, education, safety, and war when all our lives can be controlled by our access to the internet?

It's a scary thought... especially when we don't know who is going to be in charge of all that power.