Friday, June 01, 2007

Hugo Chavez Versus YouTube

Ars Technica notes that opposition television stations shut down by the Venezuelan strongman have sought refuge on the Internet where they have their own channel on Youtube. (Hat tip: Glenn Reynolds)

And so it is proved that the networked insurgency can operate against the Left as well. And probably against al-Qaeda too, once they get enough Buddhist monks stirred up against them. The diffusion of technology is never limited to one side or the other. Why is it impossible, in principle, for some shadowy group to fly hijacked jets into Mecca at the height of the pilgrim season? Where is it written that non-Muslim extremists cannot attack Teheran with a weapons of mass destruction? Nowhere. And for that reason it is important for civilization to get a grip on things and ensure that the 21st century does not become the era of chaotic mass murder.


Speak of the devil, Power Line has a post related to this very subject.

Yesterday, we noted an uprising against al Qaeda by Sunni residents of west Baghdad who were fed up with the terrorists. Today, a follow-up from the Associated Press as the revolt spreads; it's an interesting story, and maybe an important one: "An al-Qaida-linked suicide bomber struck a safehouse occupied by an insurgent group that has turned against the terror network. Friday's attack northeast of Baghdad killed two other militants, police said, the latest sign that an internal Sunni power struggle is spreading."

In the revolt of the Anbar tribes and the internecine fighting that has become a feature of any space where "militant" groups start to form, we see the strengths and weaknesses of the terrorist mode of warfare. As I argued in the Three Conjectures, once nuclear weapons become available to this battlefield an extremely unstable situation will arise because deterrence has no point of leverage. It will just go on and on. There is no stable plateau where an exchange of nuclear car bombs will level off. There is no one to even negotiate surrender with. Not even a sure way to know who is attacking who. The only thing left to do under those circumstances is to finish off anything which might remotely be a threat. And therefore -- therefore -- we should do everything possible to keep things from deteriorating to this point. Calling Mohammed El Baradei, Mohammed El Baradei. Never mind.


Blogger Whiskey said...

Wretchard --

It is already too late. It's done.

Dems, Media, the Left, Europeans have all decided to surrender. Because, hey, anything is better than those awful lumpen proletariat. The average person. Who elites despise most.

So yeah, we'll have nuclear car bombs going off, and we'll respond with a good bit of strategic nuclear response. But it's already set in stone. Too late to change. Too late to do anything other than watch.

Pakistan is as good as a lock for AQ, just read Bill Roggio's site. Iran's nukes are a fait accompli, with Seymour Hersh and others carrying their water.

What the elites dream of, is abolishing the ordinary person, who's upward mobility threatens them the most. Thus any effort at all to get rid of them is welcomed, including nuclear car bombs.

When Bill Kristol was a guest on John Stewart's the Daily Show, he was asked why Conservatives made a big deal of 9/11 when the people in the Audience and those who live there did not. Kristol couldn't really answer, but the answer was obvious (and it's clear WHY Kristol a fellow elitist like Stewart could not ever get it).

The people who died on 9/11 were not elites. No one from the Upper East Side, from Central Park West, worked in the WTC, or was a fireman or police officer or Port Authority worker. Those people, who did the back office accounting, window washing, clerical work, fireman and police service, and all the other things that kept the city running did not and could not afford to live in Manhattan. They were the derisively named "bridge and tunnel" crowd, who commuted in from New Jersey, Long Island, or Queens to make things run.

They were one with the other little guy conservatives so that's why they tried to do what they could to avenge them.

I am quite sure that the elites will view nuclear car bombs with a certain sangfroid, a very relaxed attitude. No one THEY care about would die. And it's good for us "rabble" to be reminded of our place in life. How many squares of toilet paper we are allowed, and the triviality of our lives.

And I am just as certain that the average person will turn to whoever embodies their angry nationalism and populism and their desire to put a stop to it. By decisively killing the enemy so completely that there aren't any left to fight.

This much is already certain. The die has already been cast.

6/01/2007 08:41:00 PM  
Blogger Captain USpace said...

Very interesting, a bad scene, Communists are either deluded or outright thieves.
Chavez is truly a cockroach and an enemy of freedom.

absurd thought -
God of the Universe thinks
don't argue with critics

just steal their corporations
put poor people out of work

6/01/2007 08:43:00 PM  
Blogger wretchardthecat said...

One of the reasons why Ward Churchill's "Little Eichmanns" trope was so obscene was that he was actually talking about a lot of poor people. Filipino waiters and cooks at Windows of the World who were buried alive, the photos of their kids still in their pockets. And look who was talking: a fake, plagiarizing, sneering, sanctimonious POS.

But don't be too down. It's never over until the Fat Lady sings. The world today can change very rapidly. Look what has happened to the media. How the mighty have fallen. The foundations are moving underneath our feet. Practically all aspects of our world -- the way we earn, defend ourselves and even relate -- are changing. The important thing, I think, to realize is that not all the changes are negative.

But I agree that many of our public intellectuals and opinion leaders live in the bubble of consciousness spawned about thirty years ago. They see the world through that prism. They are pulling the same old levers, talking the same old, same old. And while some of those levers still work, many of them are no longer connected to any of the control surfaces.

However the fact that we are having this conversation suggests that this discontinuity has been perceived by many people. And that fact is going to make a difference in a crisis. People will be alert to the dangers of over or under-reaction. People's expectations will have been moulded by anticipation. We'll have a chance. It's not over yet.

Consider that we have as yet paid very little for the wisdom of the last six years. Every night I thank God that in every direction the loss has been as low as it has been. Grateful too that those of other nations have suffered comparatively little. I do not dream of a Damascus or a Teheran in ruins. Conceive it may happen yes; but desire it, no.

We have a chance. Whether we will make use of our opportunities and use our hard-won knowledge with wisdom remains to be seen. She may be warming up her tonsils, but the Lady has not yet sung.

6/01/2007 09:07:00 PM  
Blogger Pax Federatica said...

So what's the over/under on how long it takes before Chavez has his minions start trolling YouTube for these opposition videos, then flagging them en masse to get them taken down? That strategy seems to be working for Islamists.

6/02/2007 07:32:00 AM  
Blogger Fausta said...

The people who died on 9/11 were not elites. No one from the Upper East Side, from Central Park West, worked in the WTC,
Bond brokerage firm Cantor Fitzgerald lost 650+ employees that day.

Most of them could afford to live very comfortably in Manhattan.

6/02/2007 08:56:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"And so it is proved that the networked insurgency can operate against the Left as well."

Yes, but it really does seem as if the tension between state control of information and underground counter-truth has stayed at a similar level of tautness pre-Internet and post. Even though we are hooking-up with an increasingly advancing tech, the tug-o-war between officially sanctioned mass communications and independent coms hasn’t slacked off any. Totalitarian govs still impose black-outs by busting satellite dishes in Iran and censoring with Google’s cooperation in China and killing journos and maverick writers and netters in Russia. Even the UK has cams on every street corner and hate speech sanctions. Free societies such as ours have partisan corporate communication interests fighting with indies and oppo partisans with no real clear winner, given the metrics of our voter issue factoid-based awareness and mixed election results.

Our bio-tech globalized future could very well be one of world citizens subject to ubiquitous surveillance and with communication receivers in their heads or on their shirts, which will be controlled by governmental, corporate, and supra-org UN-like authorities… unless they wear really good tin-foil hats, preferably available in more flattering colors.

6/02/2007 09:15:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

6/02/2007 11:09:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hacking and net disruption aren't just loner/independent activities, anymore. Corps, countries and gang-terrorist interests are doing the cyber warfare thing now (Russia attacking Estonia, China cyber and satellite aggression vs. the US, alQaeda tech-jihad against the west, our own DoD cyberwar planning, etc.)

IOW, our dependence on the net for economic and social infrastructure and for political information retrieval and sharing is not necessarily going to be our salvation. The tendency toward centralization and consolidation for efficiencies and greater profit margins can make systems more vulnerable to manipulation, disinformation and disruption, and the even the Internet made up of a bunch of independent cats hasn’t been immune to governmental controls, corporatization, sabotage and propaganda. Where the net critters can’t be herded or at least into a good direction, they can be diverted and dogged out of action for critical periods. I see the web as just a new battleground and not necessarily our strongest weapon.

My point is that self-interested authorities (totalitarian and leftist western), corporate entities and criminal mafia-terrorist groups will not only stay tech savvy, they are more prone to using it to the point of abuse in order to gain profit and power over others. Free-minded men are more apt to counter where needed, but usually only to the level of mitigating any grossly damaging or negative interference and rarely to impose a stronger order over what they prefer to remain a relatively unfettered system, as in the Net, or as weapons of deterrence and ultimate defense, rather than offense, as in our nukes. We won't even fight our wars to the extent of our ability, electing instead to handicap ourselves and fight and rebuild with our hands tied behind our back and standing on one leg. Sure, we hop pretty well, as far as it goes.

"The diffusion of technology is never limited to one side or the other."

Certainly, but might there be a political-psychological difference in motivation and willingness on the part of classic liberals and most western conservatives that inhibits us from using/abusing/misusing this tech and counter as strongly as might be necessary?

6/02/2007 12:05:00 PM  
Blogger DaMav said...

I cannot help but wonder how long it will take for a private group to form to oppose the Islamists. The West seems at this point to act by default through governments, but that will only last as long as the response by governments is deemed to be adequate. While governmental response is obviously better funded, there are also all kinds of restrictions that would not be there for a private group.

For example the US government is, as I understand it, legally constrained from assassinating foreign leaders such as the head of Iran. One might envision various covert operations, but in this day and age the government leaks like a sieve, and it is unlikely to stay covert for long.

A private group on the other hand, well funded, and with top talent recruited, might do some serious damage to the enemy. More importantly, it could lower the degree of assymetry in the war. For example, it could target various leaders as they traipsed through Europe and the Middle East. Or, perhaps, destroy the Iranian gas refinery. Less constructively, civilian targets could be hit as well.

While there have been isolated incidents, to my knowledge there has been no serious coordinated effort against Islamists from the private sector.

To make it clear, I'm not advocating this. I'm just not sure what is stopping it from developing.

6/02/2007 05:28:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here are two things that would harden our technological civilization from this chaos in the future. But they would also increase the killing-power of private groups relative to the killing-power of the government.

Of course, these two developements will probably ensure the ultimate failure of gun control in the twenty-first century.

6/03/2007 10:42:00 PM  

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