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Thursday, December 21, 2006

Limits of the Information Economy

The information economy has been touted as an excuse not to focus on reality: War crimes.

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Information cannot be dropped on an enemy. Every computer-controlled bomb creates more enemies.

Computers cannot be employed against forces which recognize that use is illegal. Each computer used creates more enemies.

Information Technology engineers cannot be loaded to the bomb bays of B-2. IT engineers are useless when waging war in physical space. Each illegal support for unlawful warfare creates new enemies.

Data and software programs cannot be loaded into a missile as a weapon. The missile is what is doing the work. The missile is illegally used to support illegal warfare and abuse. Missiles do nothing; the explosion is the illegal abuse of power.

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The error is to put a focus on the information economy, but ignore the physical resource requirements to wage warfare in 3-dimensional space.

The error of the commanders is to fight at their keyboards, while they remain silent about the maladministration, Geneva violations, and sit silently while the laws of war are ignored.

Combat is in physical space. Competition is in the information economy. Combat and competition are not the same. The error is to use illegal combat where only competition is allowed; and to wage illegal warfare, where only the rule of law can be asserted.

The error is to define success in terms of how many software lines of code have been written, how many software programs have been written, or how much data is being processed. This is not success. Success is the assertion of the rule of law; and controlling the systems, data, and other information support systems to ensure they are lawfully used.

Illegal use of data includes the destruction of that data to avoid accountability; and using data to assert compliance with the law, while engaging in war crimes. Data does not mean anything on the battlefield: The only issue is whether you are asserting the rule of law with lawful use of force; or whether you are not.

The enemy is empowered when you rationalize your power, and pretend that information will dominate. Every technical tool used to wage illegal war is the justification for the enemy to prevail, find a weakness, and impose like abuses.

Technology has not demonstrated anything. America has demonstrated contempt for the rule of law. No American commander trained at any Senior Leadership institution should fail to comprehend what is happening: The American people are on the right side of the law; and the US government and the Joint Staff commanders are on the wrong side of the law.

America’s military personnel must decide whether you are going to assert your oath; or whether you are going to have the law imposed on you. Geneva permits foreign fighters to make like retaliation against those who violate the laws of war.

Contractors who provide data supporting illegal operations cannot rely on any immunity or promise. You are either going to withdraw from illegal support for war crimes; or you are going to face the prospect that you may be lawfully hunted.

Contractors providing logistics support for illegal warfare cannot rely on a promise of immunity or claim you are doing this for national defense. Your argument fails. You know your weapons, tools, and other physical objects are being illegally used. US forces have targeted illegally civilians; US civilians may not be lawfully targeted. However, the instruments of illegal war -- including contractor systems, management databases, and all resources used to convert dirt into weapons can lawfully be targeted.

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A nation that is arrogant will pretend it has the magic answer. The answer is the Constitution. Once the US chooses to stray from that requirement, all those who march with that illegal activity are complicit with the original abuses.

America is limited. It is not all powerful. The American people can see the abuse and illegal warfare. Until the illegal warfare ends, American citizens should accept that their employment choices may be considered as having stripped themselves of protections they might have enjoyed under Geneva.

Foreign fighters may lawfully target objects in physical space. Infrastructure may be lawfully destroyed to end illegal warfare. American citizens are not the objects of attack; the illegal support for war crimes is the only object of the attack.

War crimes can either end through court oversight, voluntarily compliance with the law, by command direction, or through a lawful defeat and destruction on the battlefield. Where the war crimes continue, and the contractors refuse to end support for what is illegal, then all contractor-supported activity, data, warehouses, places of physical support for illegal warfare become legitimate military targets.

America must decide whether it wants to voluntarily end what is illegal; or have the physical infrastructure connected with illegal warfare lawfully targeted, destroyed, and denied as a resource. If you claim that data systems are enabling your commanders to do something, those systems become legitimate military targets.

American citizens are not the object of these attacks. The object of the attacks are the illegal contracting operations which have unlawfully supported war crimes, have not assented to the rule of law, and have refused to cooperate with reasonable requests to withdraw from unlawful support.

The way forward is for the State officials and citizens to ensure all illegal operations supporting unlawful warfare are ended. If the American leadership, state officials, and local governments are not willing to end unlawful combat operations, then foreign fighters may lawfully expand direct combat operations against all US-based facilities, contractors, and anything remotely connected with this illegal warfare.

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America's leaders can choose the rule of law, and freely surrender. The way forward is to accept the big picture: US government officials have defied the law of war, mislead the world about a threat, and have waged illegal combat operations. The enemy has not been defeated. The US government has been defeated.

The resolution to this conflict is for US troops to be withdrawn from illegal combat operations; and permit the lawful organization of forces which will fully assert and enforce the Geneva Conventions. America’s civilians have no obligation to do anything, however, they have been unreasonably burdened with the hardships of this illegal warfare: The stress, strain, and confusion wondering whether their leadership will or will not do what is required. American citizens deserve leadership, not excuses; they deserve a way forward that is lawful, not excuses to muddle along; they deserve decisive, lawful action to end illegal warfare, not excuses to continue making appropriations for what is known, or should be known, to be illegal things.

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Warfare will always depend on physical space. Warfare of the mind may occur in the sphere of the information world. However, we live in physical space, not on the internet, nor in the desktop computers. Physical space is what matters. Warfare, until it is lawfully waged in physical space, cannot lawfully require anything else to support it.

The information economy, although it support warfare in physical space, cannot credibly be shown to be something that will dominate warfare. In the end, physical space -- boots on the ground, security, and physical control of real objects -- is what decides who has won or who has lost. Despite using illegal warfare methods prior to Sept 2001, this US government has failed to prevail lawfully on the battlefield. Despite illegally using the full range of combat weapons, except nuclear weapons, the US government has failed to adequately organize, manage, employ, resource, and train combat forces to lawfully wage warfare.

The issue is not competence of the Senior Executive Service, or Members of Congress; nor is it a question of whether Commanders in the Joint Staff are or are not able to do their job. The issue is subtle: Despite promising one thing, they did the opposite. This was their free choice. They chose to spend money on data systems, but failed to ensure those data systems were lawfully employed.

America has finite resources, power, personnel, and time. The question is whether the American leadership is interesting in rising above the non-sense and doing what it should; or pretending that the non-sense is going to prevail, despite the self-evident losses in physical space. You cannot do what you cannot do; and you cannot lawfully do what is illegal. The more the US attempts to do the impossible -- compel people living in physical space, to assent to war crimes and illegal occupation -- the more America will be reminded there are consequences for attempting to do the impossible. The laws of war cannot be credibly imposed when they have been denied; nor can the US enforce the laws of war where the US has violated those laws of war.

Combat must be lawful. Combat is in physical space. The information economy is a tool of leadership. It is not a forum, but a means to prevail. Where the outcome is illegal, the means to achieve that outcome are not lawful.

America can talk all day long about the information economy, but this means nothing when we look at the results on the ground and in the halls of US government: Illegal warfare.