I was reading over this typically excellent QandO post, Israel and Qana and “net wars,” and pondering some ways to counter Hezbollah’s advantage. (That advantage being, of course, that they can kill civilians whenever they want without any consequences.) It’s looking more and more like brute force isn’t going to work in a modern war with Islamic terrorists, thanks to the ever-present international media scrutiny.
The media is one of the biggest weapons the terrorists have… a terrorist “offensive” basically consists of killing or kidnapping someone, hiding among civilian women and children, and then just staying alive until the enemy is forced to stop fighting back because of international pressure against excessive collateral damage. Without someone around to cheerfully broadcast images of each and every unintended civilian death, they wouldn’t be able to get away with that so easily. So step one in my strategy would be to neutralize the 24/7 media, and that means knocking out phone lines, cell phone towers, Internet, and satellite transmissions of any kind in the region. It would force journalists to send their stories back the old fashioned way: By mail. Preferably through a censor.
Now offhand I’m not precisely sure how one would accomplish all that without setting off a giant EMP (Electromagnetic Pulse) bomb a la The Matrix or blowing up a bunch of satellites in orbit and inconveniencing a huge region of the planet. I’m not even sure we have the technology to do that. If I were a military strategist, a satellite-killer and an EMP bomb would be pretty high on my list of cool weapons I’d want. It might be nice to install a government-controlled “kill switch” on any satellite launched into orbit from now on, too. That way satellites wouldn’t have to be physically destroyed, so they could be activated again after the war is over.
And yes, I’m saying that freedom of the press is a dangerous weapon in the hands of irresponsible photo/journalists. It’s great if the population is wise and thoughtful, because it shows us how Hezbollah is manipulating the press and the civilians for their benefit, but it’s kind of a major obstacle when the population is complacent and naive and doesn’t want to look beyond the nice, shiny pictures.