Can Anyone Declare War Now?

Wars used to be the exclusive preserve of nations struggling for dominance, or of two parties struggling for control of a nation. Not any more.
Carl Phillipp Gottfried Von Clausewitz

“War is not merely a political act, but also a real political instrument, a continuation of political commerce, a carrying out of the same by other means.” Clausewitz – On War

Recent history has produced some interesting innovations in the concept of war.

First there was the war on inanimate objects — the War On Drugs.

Then there was the war on abstract ideas — the War On Terror.

Now we have the concept that an act of hacking a computer may be considered an Act Of War.*

Perhaps we should be happy that war is finally being democratised. No longer will you need to be a nation-state with an army to declare war: just a person with a cheap laptop and an Internet connection.

War is about intimidating and killing people to achieve political ends. We let people pretend otherwise at our peril.

* Does this also open up the possibility of your insurance company deying a computer hacking related claim because it was an Act of War?
26 September 2011

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