Subtle Culture Shifts in Perceptions as Critical to War 2.0 and to Domestic Policing

My class is studying irregular warfare and we have begun reading Thomas Rid and Marc Hecker’s book War 2.0: Irregular Warfare in the Information Age. I also highly recommend James Der Derian’s work. Particularly his book Virtuous Wars and his essay collection Critical Practices in International Theory. Professor Der Derian is the Director of the Centre for International Security Studies at the University of Sydney http://sydney.edu.au/arts/ciss/people/index.shtml His work and the work by Rid and Hecker remind us that in addition to “hard measures of force and power” we ignore more subtle shifts in the perception of the population at our peril.

This is something I believe the domestic police in the United States have lost touch with and the US military, until reminded by an insurgency and people like David Petraeus and David Kilcullen, had lost touch with in the cases of Iraq and Afghanistan. Population Centric conflict requires the players to be attuned to the affect of culture and these subtle shifts in language, images etc. and how they will make or break the legitimacy of a cause. Modern Warfare, and I mean the game, and Grand Thief Auto, do not include these communications systems as part of the new omni-directional unrestricted nature of conflict and warfare. If you dress and act, as the police are now doing in our country, like para-military forces you need to be prepared for the cultural image blow back. Clearly the US Military is trying to play catch-up. The police have not even realized yet that they are in LAW AND ORDER 2.0.

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