Monday, December 08, 2008

SO MANY WARS: And we're losing them all

US Losing Global Cyberwar! That's the headline on a mostly ignorable story by Businessweek and others here.

Last week, a catastrophic bioterror attack was guaranteed by 2013, courtesy of another report from a bipartisan blue ribbon commission made up of annoying people.

And the war against obesity? Boy, every week, another thrashing. It's getting so one almost can't get out of bed in the morning.

Almost exactly one decade ago DD wrote about "electronic Pearl Harbor" for Issues in Science and Technology, a publication of the National Academy of Science. It is truly astonishing that so little has changed.

And when your host speaks of change, he doesn't mean the kind advocated by such reports. Rather, there's been little change in the nature of the professional expert business of issuing regular reports on threats, often greatly exaggerated or totally imaginary, which the nation is said to face.

"We need to begin to deal with this cancer," it is claimed in the Businessweek story.

Unintentionally funny, that.

However, the one thing preventing such stories from having the same impact they did in 1998 is this: The upside down economy, on the frontpage everyday. Nothing so focuses the mind as the potential collapse of Detroit and surging unemployment rolls.

One reader astutely notes that this particular report seemed timed to coincide with December 7. (Go ahead, browse this mind-numbing collection of stuff. I dare you.)

Some laughers -- sorry, we mean excerpts from the story:

"The U.S. faces a cybersecurity threat of such magnitude that the next President should move quickly to create a Center for Cybersecurity Operations and appoint a special White House advisor to oversee it. Those are among the recommendations in a 44-page report by the U.S. Commission on Cybersecurity, a version of which will be made public today. The bipartisan panel includes executives, high-ranking military officers and intelligence officials, leading specialists in computer security, and two members of Congress.

"[Someone named] Kellermann describes a behind-the-scenes effort by several members of the commission, five of whom are advisers on President-elect Barack Obama's transition team, to convince him of the need for action "to stop the hemorrhaging of national secrets, proprietary information, and personal data. We need to begin to deal with this cancer."


"The report mentions some of the most severe threats, such as those being faced by U.S. war fighters in Iraq and Afghanistan, only hypothetically. It notes, for instance, that 'the U.S. has a 'blue-force tracking' that tells commanders where friendly forces are located, and then goes on to posit a scenario under which an opponent could turn some of the blue signals to red, a color used to flag adversaries' forces. The implication is that an intruder might, for instance, provoke a so-called friendly-fire incident in which U.S. fighters mistakenly target U.S. personnel.

"Kellermann and other computer security consultants declined to discuss the threat to the U.S. military, though several said they were intimately familiar with it. But Kellermann said it was yet another example of how 'the cyber security threat has really gotten out of control. But it's not only a national security threat. It's an economic security threat.' "


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wait, what about the
"war on carbon"

Or have we not reached
that level of abuse of
the term "war"

8:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Google "war on"

179,469,100 hits

The answer is YES to the last question.

11:43 PM  
Blogger Jay@Soob said...

Or the war on drugs.

7:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't forget the War on Christmas...we are losing it every year according to Fox News.

7:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just a moment, what about the war on war. Oh, that's right - for the U.S. to have a war on war would mean it's fighting itself.

12:20 PM  

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