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Microsurgical Warfare Trends

The gradual progression
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Consider a classic analogy: old world warfare is to an amputation as the new style of war is to surgery, ie. surgical strikes, precision weapons, etc. Just as medicine progressed from hacking off limbs in bloody tents to ER clean rooms, Western warfare has gone from geopolitically messy with 10s of millions in losses to an appearance of being a bit tidier, (while still an incredible nightmare, don't get me wrong).

There are huge ramifications.

1. What shall be the reaction of the US and allies when visible countries without such-and-such types of precision weapons and bloodier techniques fight? If their cause is largely just, but we don't wish to get involved, how shall we be seen? How should we react? Will it always be us fighting now? Because of demonstrated capabilities, will we now be ever cast as the world's police force? Is that a good thing or not? Because we *might* have gotten involved an used a more precise method of resolving the crisis than the big sledge hammer a neighbor might choose, should we?

2. If going from amputation to selective surgery represents one step, What then is next?

Answer? The immune system. Continuously fighting on microscopic levels, here, there, and everywhere. As the capability for ever 'neater' warfare develops, instances of deployment will slowly rise, as the risks go down.

My predictions: "we" shall be called upon again and again, in smaller and smaller actions, until the very ideas of our nation being 'at war,' or 'at peace' become lost in the muddled 'ongoing police activity.' In fact, I suspect that we're already there.

RayfordSteele, May 01 2003

Hussein owed *how much*? http://www.thegoods...php3?articleID=1515
Well, gosh-darn, *that's* why Russia, Germany, France... (Note:$70 Billion owed Russia is including interest. $7 Billion is the oft-cited figure, but that's principal only) [thumbwax, Oct 05 2004]

Baked http://www.thirdwor...ensity_Warfare.html
It's called "Low Intensity Warfare" and has been baked since at least the Reagan Administration... [dbsousa, Oct 05 2004]

"Most Wanted Iraqis" Playing Cards--at better prices! http://www.greatusaflags.com/
Only $5.95! [Guncrazy, Oct 05 2004, last modified Oct 21 2004]


       (1) If less developed countries want to fight, and the US has no vital national interest in the region, let them fight. Open immigration for the best and brightest of the region's refugees, and profit from that region's brain drain. Geopolitical instability has historically been very good for the United States, and is in large part responsible for our present level of prosperity.   

       (2) We have neither the ability nor, I think, the will to play Globocop for every corner of the globe, and any attempt to do so would be foolish.   

       Prediction: We are not going to get caught up by local conflicts in which we have no national interest (like the massacres in Rwanda or Indonesia) unless another President gets caught with his pants down. Nor can I imagine how at any time in our nation's future, the concept of merging military and police forces will ever seem like a good idea to any significant number of politicians or citizens.   

       BTW...what was the idea here again?
Guncrazy, May 02 2003

       toejam. See link. And the Canucks don't stand a chance.   

       Ray, the whole global police attitude of the US government really bothers me a lot. I believe the Iraq action was wrong, regardless of the outcome. I think that if the US attempts to continue this campaign in other Middle Eastern countries, some other powerful nation, possibly Russia or maybe China, will step up and call them on it. They let Bush have Iraq - they'll stop him if he tries to push it further.   

       This is already happening. I believe that China is making it clear through private channels that it will not allow North Korea to get the same treatment that Iraq just did, and that is why there will be no US military action in North Korea.   

       Anyway, I'm not sure what your halfbaked idea is.
waugsqueke, May 02 2003

       //The Canucks don't stand a chance.//   

       <tongue-in-cheek>Gosh, I didn't think US / Canadian relations had soured *that* badly. But maybe a 'liberation' of Montreal is in order...</tic>   

       The idea: observation and prediction of the shift of warfare. Mostly speculative theory on my part over the next century that the development of more precision 'surgical warfare techniques' will result in its being a more-oft considered tool of foreign policy. Not that I'm condoning it. Combine that with the continuous 'war on terrorism,' and, well, there you have it. Just as your immune system is always engaged in limited skirmishes, we will be as well.   

       Will there be a point at which given an assumed increased capability, we will be the primary parties blamed for *not* getting involved in places like Rwanda, because we could reduce the bloodshed by shortening the conflict?
RayfordSteele, May 02 2003

       It's an interesting idea. One problem is that all the international law on the subject of warfare was written with the old, messy kind in mind. In order to carry out microsurgical wars, you'd have to be completely covert. Otherwise you'd immediately run afoul of the U.N. and so on. (Of course, Mr. Bush and company don't seem to mind doing that, do they?) Are you proposing we go back to the days when the CIA and the KGB were assassinating politicians in various countries, and so on?
krelnik, May 02 2003

       // Just as your immune system is always engaged in limited skirmishes, we will be as well. //   

       But that's not really anything new, is it? Hasn't the US always been sticking nose into other business? At least since WWII. Korea, Viet Nam, Grenada, Panama, Kuwait, Somalia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq... and all I left out.
waugsqueke, May 02 2003

       It's an echo of the British Empire - but far removed from Genghis Khan. Would you rather (continual) genocide occurred in each of those countries?
thumbwax, May 02 2003

       The US was rather dragged into WWII, if I recall.   

       I guess the biggest news is that it will no longer make the news.   

       [krelnik], that's probably what it will filter into.   

       I suspect there are more reasons why the US won't go into North Korea other than a sideways glance from China.
RayfordSteele, May 02 2003

       // Would you rather (continual) genocide occurred in each of those countries? //   

       That's an unfair question, presuming blame where there is inaction. It does not necessarily follow. You could just as easily ask that of the people of Mozambique or Ecuador or New Zealand. They are not responsible for what happens in other countries, and neither should the US be.
waugsqueke, May 02 2003

       [thumbwax]: What [waugsqueke] said. Also, there is a vast difference between the old British Empire and the United States of the last 60 years.   

       [waugsqueke]: While, yes, the US did poke its nose into a lot of places during the Cold War, let's also remember that the Soviet Union was poking its nose into those same places as well, and then some. I believe that our intentions during all of those conflicts were more noble than the Russkies'.
Guncrazy, May 02 2003

       Yes, hence: *far removed from Genghis Khan*
thumbwax, May 02 2003

       ...and what would medicine call a self-proclaimed immune system with it's own agenda?
apanap, Dec 15 2003

       When I read the title, I had an interesting scifi thought: If warfare keeps getting more and more surgical eventually it will BE surgery. The progression from full-scale invasions to tactical strikes to smart bombs to assassins may well end with targeting those specific brain cells that do damage: forced lobotomies for dictators!
TerranFury, Feb 15 2004


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