Sunday, June 24, 2012

Well-Meaning, But Entirely Missing the Point About Stuxnet and Flame

Mischa Glenny warns that the US is entering dangerous waters by conducting cyberwarfare against Iran.  What if the tables are turned, and these weapons are used against the US?
Technical superiority is not written in stone, and the United States is arguably more dependent on networked computer systems than any other country in the world. Washington must halt the spiral toward an arms race, which, in the long term, it is not guaranteed to win.
The reality, however, is that the US never worries about being the victims of its own weapons.  When the US mined the harbors of Nicaragua during the Contra war, did it worry about explosives in San Francisco Bay?  Today, when drones are launched to assassinate men who make the mistake of getting together in a house in Afghanistan or Yemen, whether to plan violence or celebrate a wedding, are there fears of retaliatory attacks on Super Bowl parties in Atlanta or Las Vegas?  Trying to explain that US military hegemony means that we don’t have to think about what it would mean for others to do to us as we do to them is like trying to explain water to a fish.

And just to be clear: if Iran launches a cyberweapon as damaging to US security as our viruses were to them, we’ll kill a few thousand of them to show who’s boss.  But there’s no need to even talk about it: they won’t and we won’t.  It’s the sea we all swim in.


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