US AirForce panned for DDoS proposal

Wired has a hilarious critique of an Air Force proposal to counter DDoS attacks with…DDoS attacks.

I’m sure that DDoS attacks could be useful to the military under certain circumstances. So could sending our enemies a bunch of unwanted magazine subscriptions, or ordering them dozens of pizzas with anchovies and pineapple (blech). But adults don’t do that sort of thing.

The internet is a community venture, and DDoS is vandalism against the community. There’s no such thing as pinpoint targeting in a DDoS attack; innocent civilian infrastructure is impacted every time.

Basically, Col. Williamson has noticed that there are bad guys in the swimming pool, and his solution is to piss in their general direction. That’s the kind of behavior that rightly gets you kicked out of the pool and sent home for the summer.

Funny stuff. The only problem is that the US Air Force is already infamous for use of excessive force that destroys civilian life, let alone lifestyle. Carpet bombing and nuclear attacks have been their heritage so the Wired critique will surely fall on deaf ears.

Although nicely written, the critique seems disconnected from history. It also has a logical loophole: with the intent and capability to disable or destroy all infrastructure, who exactly would be kicking whom out of the pool?

The Air Force has been used for exactly what the author complains about — excessive force that harms civilians. Examples by the US military alone include Dresden, Tokyo, Hiroshima and much of Cambodia (e.g. 600K deaths from 3,500 sorties in 1969 alone, with 2,756,941 total tons dropped in 230,516 sorties on 113,716 sites until 1973)

This all hearkens back to strategists in WWI who saw fighting by air as just another way to completely obliterate civilian infrastructure to achieve victory. I’ve seen it blamed on the Italians, but you can be certain every military has a high ranking official who thinks like general Sherman did in his 1864 four-month “scorched earth” march of destruction. I guess you could say he was literally pissing in the pool, but as nobody could manage to send him home that summer he instead garnered the surrender of armies from the Carolinas, Georgia and Florida.

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