The Wars of Today are Fought with Information as Well as Ordinance
The web is, truly, a great equalizer. Just as it can let someone armed with a great idea, a business plan and the drive to succeed, successfully challenge global corporations, it can also lend to individuals the kind of information and communication network that a regular army usually enjoys.
As Libya descends into what looks like a full-fledged civil war the ability of it to be waged successfully hinges on who controls the flow of information. On March 5th Libya, for the second time, cut internet access to the country. This placed a stranglehold on information getting around and handicapped the West from getting a clear picture of what’s going on (and thereby possibly applying pressure to prevent atrocities). It also prevented the rebels within its soil from freely communicating with each other and the outside world.
The value of the web in sustaining the flow of ideas and providing s common matric of synchronisation against which everything – anything – can happen also make it the first casualty of war.
Information, it seems, is necessary not just to work online and promote free trade but to also create an awareness of opportunities, receive an education about cultures, ideas and ways of life beyond our vicinity and, yes, to wage war.
This means that the very presence of the web is having an inevitable impact, acting like a catalyst which is changing people’s way of life. When the Berlin wall came down in 1989 many ascribed it to the fact that East Germany was exposed to a constant stream of information provided by West German television stations which were difficult to block.Continued on the next page