War No Longer Exists

I continue to see interesting points raised by information technology security professionals getting dragged into traditional themes of power and politics, especially as they relate to war and cyberwar.

The BSides Denver conference, for example, led to a heated exchange between a military lawyer and his audience when he tried to differentiate between Cyber Attack and War. The Economist stoked things to a much wider audience with their latest issue. The Economist, for what it is worth as a conservative voice, has less concern than the Denver audience and essentially agrees with David Willson’s presentation.

It just occurred to me, however, to search my own blog for things I have written on war and cyberwar. Perhaps this is a good time to confess that I studied International History at the London School of Economics before I started working full time on information security. My research focused on post-WWII international relations, which to most people seems to mean war.

Thus it has been hard for me to avoid peppering this blog with the occasional thought on politics and wars. That is my excuse anyway.

Here is a fine example I posted in 2005 regarding a book by General Sir Rupert Smith called “The Utility of Force: The Art of War in the Modern World”:

Battles just don’t work any more. War is now waged not in the field but the street, so victory is possible only with the people’s consent

His book should have been titled The Art of Waging an Act Formerly Known as War. But seriously the term War has its own definition that is separate and distinct from modifiers. Civil War means something different from just War, in other words. Likewise Cyber War should be held to mean something different from War. In that sense, I can see how the case could be made that War alone may no longer exist.

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