How About We Bomb the Undersea Cables?

 

I’m thinking about Tom Bethell’s comment:

But our military seems to be organized to deal with the Hitler scenario rather than the Islamist threat. Germans took orders, Islamist terrorists are self starters.

And I’m thinking about Peter’s question:

Even if we had a president utterly determined to destroy ISIS — posit, for the sake of argument, that Ted Cruz will take office a year from January — just how would he instruct the Pentagon to go about doing so?

I’m trying to think outside the box a bit. Undersea fiber optic cables carry 99 percent of transoceanic digital communication. The military is accustomed to thinking in terms of protecting them:

Russian submarines and spy ships are aggressively operating near the vital undersea cables that carry almost all global Internet communications, raising concerns among some American military and intelligence officials that the Russians might be planning to attack those lines in times of tension or conflict.

Perhaps we should think about this entirely differently. What would happen if we destroyed the cables?

 

Published in Islamist Terrorism, Military
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  1. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHill
    @EJHill

    Rule #1. There is no such thing as waging a “humane” war that protects innocent lives. The only military solution to any armed action against the United States is complete, utter destruction of the enemy, their infrastructure, their people and unconditional surrender. The military wins the war first, and then you win the peace.

    Rule #2. See Rule #1.

    • #1
  2. Robert McReynolds Inactive
    Robert McReynolds
    @RobertMcReynolds

    To destroy ISIL we need to present a culture that is up to the task of countering their arguments, particularly for recruitment. ISIL’s biggest source of soldiers comes from the West, why? Destroying underwater cables will not do one thing to stop that. It might slow it down, but it won’t stop it because they will figure out a whole different way to recruit. What we need is a leader who will present the leader of the Western World as the Moral Leader of the Western World. We need to someone who can explain to and maintain the People’s inherent belief that the US is a force for good on the planet. We need a leader who will be willing to also call out all those–especially those who we would consider our fellow countrymen–who seek to besmirch the good name of the United States and the West.

    We need to realize that our culture is great because of the works of Mozart, Monet, and Disraeli, not Lady Gaga, Maplethorp, or Obama. Our ways empower the individual to reach the highest highs. Their ways empower the forces of evil to trample on the backs of the people.

    • #2
  3. Lazy_Millennial Inactive
    Lazy_Millennial
    @LazyMillennial

    If we bombed all of them, all internet communications between continents would immediately be significantly throttled, as only satellite communications would connect them. This would cripple much of the world economy.

    If you’re thinking only bomb the cables used by ISIS, I’m guessing these cables include much of the internet traffic from the broader Middle East. ISIS could still use satellites, though their capacity for information sharing would be significantly reduced. This would, again, have a huge impact on the world economy.

    • #3
  4. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.
    @Claire

    Lazy_Millennial: ISIS could still use satellites, though their capacity for information sharing would be significantly reduced. This would, again, have a huge impact on the world economy.

    Unquestionably it would. But it would make an impressive point about the degree to which the 7th century can’t compete with the 21st. By the time they figure out how to rebuild those, I’m sure they’ll have caught up in all the important ways.

    • #4
  5. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    John Gilmore, one of the founders of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, once said “The Net interprets censorship as damage and routes around it.”

    The Net interprets damage as damage and routes around that as well.

    Lazy_Millenial called it. The Internet was originally designed to allow continued communications if the Cold War went hot. The other routes will be stressed, international response time will skyrocket, but, to paraphrase Stanley Baldwin, the packet will always get through.

    • #5
  6. James Gawron Inactive
    James Gawron
    @JamesGawron

    Claire,

    First, we have the best hunter killer submarines and we should deploy them against the Russians. Second, I am sure we have counter measures for the internet that we have as yet not employed, provided the idiots haven’t given away U.S. control of the internet.

    However, I certainly can “feel your pain”. Often, I find myself identifying with Commander Shears. He’s the one dying in the water. It’s Colonel Nicolson that just keeps building his bridge, oblivious to the implications until the very end when a sudden spark of enlightenment hits him.

    “You!”

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #6
  7. Marion Evans Inactive
    Marion Evans
    @MarionEvans

    Intelligence people are probably using ISIS internet accounts to locate targets.

    • #7
  8. Duane Oyen Member
    Duane Oyen
    @DuaneOyen

    The same information would flow by wireless, optical, and other digital means, via satellite, etc. within an extremely short time.  You can compress and piggyback, and anything that reflects can be used to redundantly reproduce streams of information.  Hard cable simply is not a big deal now in a world of Li-Fi.

    • #8
  9. Duane Oyen Member
    Duane Oyen
    @DuaneOyen

    EJHill:Rule #1. There is no such thing as waging a “humane” war that protects innocent lives. The only military solution to any armed action against the United States is complete, utter destruction of the enemy, their infrastructure, their people and unconditional surrender. The military wins the war first, and then you win the peace.

    Rule #2. See Rule #1.

    Back to the book of Joshua as the only solution, EJ?  I tend not to believe that genocide is acceptable to liberal societies, especially in the days of instant video communication.

    • #9
  10. Dean Murphy Member
    Dean Murphy
    @DeanMurphy

    Duane Oyen:

    EJHill:Rule #1. There is no such thing as waging a “humane” war that protects innocent lives. The only military solution to any armed action against the United States is complete, utter destruction of the enemy, their infrastructure, their people and unconditional surrender. The military wins the war first, and then you win the peace.

    Rule #2. See Rule #1.

    Back to the book of Joshua as the only solution, EJ? I tend not to believe that genocide is acceptable to liberal societies, especially in the days of instant video communication.

    Who said *anything* about genocide?

    We take the fight to ISIS, not some mythical “Arab Race” or whatever you are talking about.

    • #10
  11. Casey Inactive
    Casey
    @Casey

    Marion Evans:Intelligence people are probably using ISIS internet accounts to locate targets.

    And cat videos.

    • #11
  12. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHill
    @EJHill

    Since the end of WWII there has never been another truly successful US military solution. By not accepting the fact that innocents get killed and that war is messy we have created a succession of problems that made the original pale by comparison.

    The only thing I’m saying is that if you want to involve the military just don’t do it in a half-assed manner.

    • #12
  13. Ross C Inactive
    Ross C
    @RossC

    As far as targeting communications that seems like a good idea.  I suspect it is as easy as getting whatever company(ies) operate the cables to isolate Syria.

    You may recollect that before the internet, jihadis circulated cassette tapes of radical imams and their sermons to inspire foreigners.  Ultimately the offending videos can be saved on thumb drives and transported to a nation with internet access.

    • #13
  14. Terry Mott Member
    Terry Mott
    @TerryMott

    EJHill:Since the end of WWII there has never been another truly successful US military solution. By not accepting the fact that innocents get killed and that war is messy we have created a succession of problems that made the original pale by comparison.

    The only thing I’m saying is that if you want to involve the military just don’t do it in a half-assed manner.

    Hear, hear!

    Perhaps a poor analogy, but I find our half-hearted military excursions in the Middle East akin to treating an infection with antibiotics.  You need to complete the course of medication, else you not only risk a recurrence, but the surviving bacteria will be more resistant to the antibiotic from then on.

    • #14
  15. Richard Finlay Inactive
    Richard Finlay
    @RichardFinlay

    EJHill: The only thing I’m saying is that if you want to involve the military just don’t do it in a half-assed manner.

    Amen.  The idea of “proportional response” just means giving the enemy an even (or, as it turns out, much better) chance of winning.  When we commit our forces to combat, we should not want the enemy to have any avoidable advantages.  A brief, brutal war is less destructive of life than a long, drawn-out, “kinder” conflict.

    • #15
  16. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.
    @Claire

    Duane Oyen:The same information would flow by wireless, optical, and other digital means, via satellite, etc. within an extremely short time. You can compress and piggyback, and anything that reflects can be used to redundantly reproduce streams of information. Hard cable simply is not a big deal now in a world of Li-Fi.

    Would it? How long would it take?

    • #16
  17. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.
    @Claire

    Ross C: You may recollect that before the internet, jihadis circulated cassette tapes of radical imams and their sermons to inspire foreigners.  Ultimately the offending videos can be saved on thumb drives and transported to a nation with internet access.

    Very inefficient and time-consuming, by comparison.

    I feel sad that more of you don’t see the genius of the idea. The total shock and awe value it would have. No carpet bombing, no nukes, no grounds troops, no coffins, no invasion and endless occupation — just one swift gesture and the world goes silent. In a stroke absolutely no one expected, ever. The US says: “Afraid we won’t let you communicate your plans to destroy us on the technology we built. You don’t seem to be mature enough to use it wisely. Wake us up when you primitives figure out how to build your own a global communication system. Until then, go back to sending your messages by carrier pigeon.”

    • #17
  18. Doug Watt Moderator
    Doug Watt
    @DougWatt

    This is an interesting idea might be a good way to deal with a group that does not know how to build a passenger jet. They only know how to destroy one.

    It is unfortunate that President Obama did not give the order to destroy the airport in Damascus as well as all other airfields in Syria when Assad crossed over the Obama line in the sand. If he had Ivan the Alawite might not be flying over Syria today.

    • #18
  19. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.
    @Claire

    Dean Murphy: Who said *anything* about genocide?

    My suggestion didn’t involve killing a fly. That’s the brilliance of it. Absolutely morally unproblematic, except for the economic damage — but face it, war creates plenty of economic damage, too. Not a single human life lost.

    You may recall Morse’s words when he sent his first message over the telegraph wire from DC to Baltimore: “What has God wrought?”

    Well, that was us, not God, though admittedly we had some divine help.

    And what he wrought, I reckon, we can undo — quickly.

    Perhaps humanity just wasn’t ready for this invention. We’d all be inconvenienced, for sure, but isn’t it better that we all be inconvenienced than that our troops get killed?

    • #19
  20. Sabrdance Member
    Sabrdance
    @Sabrdance

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.:

    Ross C: Y

    Very inefficient and time-consuming, by comparison.

    I feel sad that more of you don’t see the genius of the idea. The total shock and awe value it would have. No carpet bombing, no nukes, no grounds troops, no coffins, no invasion and endless occupation — just one swift gesture and the world goes silent. In a stroke absolutely no one expected, ever. The US says: “Afraid we won’t let you communicate your plans to destroy us on the technology we built. You don’t seem to be mature enough to use it wisely. Wake us up when you primitives figure out how to build your own a global communication system. Until then, go back to sending your messages by carrier pigeon.”

    I can’t tell if I’m being had.  By this logic, we should just nuke the moon.  Same effect and we wouldn’t be spiting our own face to do it.

    • #20
  21. Kozak Member
    Kozak
    @Kozak

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.:

    Lazy_Millennial: ISIS could still use satellites, though their capacity for information sharing would be significantly reduced. This would, again, have a huge impact on the world economy.

    Unquestionably it would. But it would make an impressive point about the degree to which the 7th century can’t compete with the 21st. By the time they figure out how to rebuild those, I’m sure they’ll have caught up in all the important ways.

    Don’t cut the cables.  Take out all the cell phone providers in the Middle East and North Africa.  They will get the message.

    • #21
  22. Casey Inactive
    Casey
    @Casey

    Kozak: They will get the message.

    How?

    • #22
  23. Kozak Member
    Kozak
    @Kozak

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.:

    Ross C: You may recollect that before the internet, jihadis circulated cassette tapes of radical imams and their sermons to inspire foreigners. Ultimately the offending videos can be saved on thumb drives and transported to a nation with internet access.

    Very inefficient and time-consuming, by comparison.

    I feel sad that more of you don’t see the genius of the idea. The total shock and awe value it would have. No carpet bombing, no nukes, no grounds troops, no coffins, no invasion and endless occupation — just one swift gesture and the world goes silent. In a stroke absolutely no one expected, ever. The US says: “Afraid we won’t let you communicate your plans to destroy us on the technology we built. You don’t seem to be mature enough to use it wisely. Wake us up when you primitives figure out how to build your own a global communication system. Until then, go back to sending your messages by carrier pigeon.”

    Actually, a nice air burst nuke centered over the ME for an EMP would really send them back to the 7th century.  If not we could do it retail with Big Blue

    • #23
  24. Kozak Member
    Kozak
    @Kozak

    Casey:

    Kozak: They will get the message.

    How?

    By divine inspiration.

    • #24
  25. Casey Inactive
    Casey
    @Casey

    Kozak:

    Casey:

    Kozak: They will get the message.

    How?

    By divine inspiration.

    How many minutes do you get on that plan?

    • #25
  26. RyanFalcone Member
    RyanFalcone
    @RyanFalcone

    Bombing the cables would unleash hundreds of millions of internet zombies from their parents’ basements into the general populace. That is pretty much like crossing the streams in Ghostbusters! I think we’ve lost Claire. She’s gone full “self destruct mode” on us!

    • #26
  27. carcat74 Member
    carcat74
    @carcat74

    #9. Instant video images should have been used to show the aftermath of ISIS in villages on a 24/7 loop. Vietnam became ‘unpopular’ because of television. People back home became outraged at the atrocities by our side (where was the same for the other side?). Pictures brought the horrors home.

    • #27
  28. Fricosis Guy Listener
    Fricosis Guy
    @FricosisGuy

    Kozak:

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.:

    Very inefficient and time-consuming, by comparison.

    I feel sad that more of you don’t see the genius of the idea. The total shock and awe value it would have. No carpet bombing, no nukes, no grounds troops, no coffins, no invasion and endless occupation — just one swift gesture and the world goes silent. In a stroke absolutely no one expected, ever. The US says: “Afraid we won’t let you communicate your plans to destroy us on the technology we built. You don’t seem to be mature enough to use it wisely. Wake us up when you primitives figure out how to build your own a global communication system. Until then, go back to sending your messages by carrier pigeon.”

    Actually, a nice air burst nuke centered over the ME for an EMP would really send them back to the 7th century. If not we could do it retail with Big Blue

    Bringing in IBM would indeed collapse their infrastructure.

    • #28
  29. Addiction Is A Choice Member
    Addiction Is A Choice
    @AddictionIsAChoice

    Their mastery of Twitter and Facebook notwithstanding, the terrorists are probably back to using messenger pigeons.

    • #29
  30. Tenacious D Inactive
    Tenacious D
    @TenaciousD

    “You don’t seem to be mature enough to use it wisely. Wake us up when you primitives figure out how to build your own a global communication system. Until then, go back to sending your messages by carrier pigeon.””

    Don’t they frown on carrier pigeon technology?

    http://nypost.com/2015/01/21/isis-rounds-up-pigeon-breeders-for-un-islamic-past-time/

    • #30
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