Friday, July 06, 2007

The Taliban Versus the Jawa Report

"No joke, the Taliban have posted a message on a well-known Islamic forum addressing me, Rusty Shackleford, indirectly. In it, they gloat that their website is back online." And they challenge the Jawa Report to shut them down again. Rusty says:

The new website has a few more sophisticated safeguards, some of which we've already thwarted, but getting this new website shut down should not be that hard to do--with your help. The gauntlet has been thrown. The Taliban are practically begging for their website to be PWN3D once again. If you could please direct your readers to this post and to the complaint e-mails at the bottom of the post, I would be grateful.

Here's one more indication that the Internet is allowing, albeit in a desultory way, ordinary citizens to wage a "people's war" against the terror leaders. Without the blogosphere and people like Rusty Shackleford or Baron Boddissey, it is doubtful that "public diplomacy" and al-Hurrah TV could effectively wage information warfare.

But of course the Internet has empowered the Jihad too. For example ...

The Small Wars Journal thinks that the most avid users of forthcoming FabLab technology will be people from the Third World, some of whom will be terrorists. This technology, already bruited about under various names on the Internet, will allow hooked up computer controlled machine shops to produce machinery straight from a desktop design. Like an industrial version of Amazon.

A few years ago, a bunch of smart guys at MIT's Center for Bits and Atoms decided to teach a new course ... called "How To Make (Almost) Anything" The instructors had developed a suite of off-the-shelf equipment that, when worked by those with a modicum of training, could enable students to quite literally make almost anything. They called it a "FabLab." The equipment and materials for one such Fablab cost around $20,000, and included such capabilities as the ability to print circuit boards, injection-mold plastic, and cut and fashion materials to exact tolerances. One of the professors, Neil Gershenfeld, went on to describe how the phenomenon played out in a book entitled FAB: The Coming Revolution on Your Desktop: From Personal Computers to Personal Fabrication. Essentially, the professors were surprised to find that a large number of those interested in the course had nothing to do with traditional disciplines involved in designing and making stuff. Gershenfeld took his Fablabs on the road to a variety of settings -- a low-income neighborhood in Boston, developing areas in South Africa, Costa Rica, and India, and other places such as Norway. He discovered that with a tiny bit of instruction, even people with no engineering backgrounds were able to conceive of and create a number of devices and contraptions to enhance their lives in one way or another.

Ultimately, Gershenfeld envisions not a roomful of equipment, but a single machine that might sit on your desktop and be able to "print" complex objects in 3D. But this is far down the road and far removed from our concerns here ...

Who might be able to use such a setup? ... Seems like any of the following might have good use for a "Fablab" as described by Gershenfeld

  • military engineers, such as Marine Combat Engineers or Navy Seabees 
  • Civil Affairs folks regular infantry and other combat units deployed to austere environments at the end of a long supply chain 
  • Special Operations Forces personnel who frequently have to fend for themselves in underdeveloped locales.

And of course, terrorists. Looks like the "people's war" has just gotten started. And it may  be waged with weapons that nobody has yet imagined.


Blogger PierreLegrand said...

Rusty will win this fight...after all how can a culture bent on recreating the 7th Century hope to compete with those of us who have been looking forward to the 21st century all of our lives? If we have the willpower they will lose...

Will power is the secret. That coupled with our knowledge on war means that one of these days the Jihadists, their families and the countries that harbor them will have a very very bad day. They are picking on the wrong people. One need only read about how we fought them off on Malta to know how strong we truly are in a pinch.

7/06/2007 06:37:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

Which is cooler, the FabLab or the Implode-O-Meter?

What if predicting something could make it happen? Tigerhawk notes the awesome power of the Implode-O-Meter, "which has tracked the demise of dozens of companies connected to the mortgage lending business. ... Apparently the influence and market power of the Implode-O-Meter is so vast that it can send an otherwise well functioning company to its demise simply by putting it on its implosion list, or at least so claims the law suit by Loan Center of California."

What happens when the planning-implementation cycle is so shortened that stuff happens before you can do it? (Just kidding)

7/06/2007 07:10:00 PM  
Blogger whiskey_199 said...

Pierre -- I don't think Willpower is the secret. Rather it's related, the willingness to fight for central issues.

Wretchard wondered how the 300 were able to fight and die at Thermopylae. VDH suggests it was for freedom. I dissent, I think it was for family. I.E. the ability of each man, down to the lowest hoplite, to have his own family, and his own wife secure from the King, even. Meanwhile slaves won't fight to the death for the Sultan's harem.

I wondered for a long time why Cho Seung-Hui was able to kill with impunity and why those young men did not jump him. Well, I finally get it. No matter even if they succeeded, and stopped Cho Seung-Hui, what would they get? The "sultans" already had their harems. The young men figured that their classmates, male and female, were not worthy of dying for. Of even risking dying for.

Meanwhile the will seems all on the Jihad side.

Hotair notes that the London Police have 8 suspected jihadis who apparently tipped of the Doctors to both the assembly points for first responders so they could position the second car bomb there, and also called them with the news that they would be shortly arrested. Even now they can't even be sacked much less charged because of political correctness.

Against this we have ... a few cabbies and baggage handlers (the police were useless at Glasgow, hampered no doubt by PC fears of lawsuits). And more ominously the BNP and other organizations that have no problem overthrowing the sultans.

7/06/2007 08:48:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

"What happens when the planning-implementation cycle is so shortened that stuff happens before you can do it?"

This is like the guy who said he put instant coffee in the microwave and went back in time.

VDH likes to point out that those who copy the Western way of war - but without the underpinnings of the innovation and spirit that accompanies it - do just well enough to get their clock cleaned big time.

There are some that think the personal computer doomed the USSR. I think it was Jerry Pournelle who said in the early 80's that if you have one society that throws people in jail for possession of an unlicensed mimeograph machine and another society in which people are free to compute and communicate to the limit of their pocketbooks that it does not take a rocket scientist to figure out who will end up owning who. Faced with this challenge the Soviets could either be smothered or change their society in such a manner that would destroy it.

7/07/2007 05:27:00 PM  

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