Best of the Week
Most Popular
1.Election Forecast 2015 - Opinion Polls Trending Towards Conservative Outright Win - Nadeem_Walayat
2.UK Solar Eclipse - End Time Sign, Judgement Day, Doomsday! - Nadeem_Walayat
3.Gold And Silver - When Will Precious Metals Rally? Not In 2015 - Michael_Noonan
4.Preparing for the Next Stocks Bear Market - Forecast 2015-2016 - Gary_Savage
5.Is a Stock Market Crash Imminent? - David Eifrig
6.Gold Price Slumps as US Dollar Soars, What's Next? - Nadeem_Walayat
7.US Dollar Forex Pairs and Gold Chartology - Rambus_Chartology
8.Election Forecast 2015: The Day Labour Lost the General Election - Nadeem_Walayat
9.The ECB Should End QE Next Month - EconMatters
10.Silver Price Poised to Surge - Zeal_LLC
Last 5 days
Election Forecast 2015 - Coalition Economic Recovery vs Labour Collapse - 1st Apr 15
Bitcoin Price Down Move Still in the Cards - 31st Mar 15
No Body Understands Debt - Living in a Free-Lunch World - 31st Mar 15
Will Gold Win Out Against the US Dollar? - 31st Mar 15
Middle East Balance of Power Matures - 31st Mar 15
Ed Miliband Debate Election 2015 Analysis - Labour Spending, Debt and Economic Collapse - 31st Mar 15
Gold and Misery, Strange Bedfellows - 31st Mar 15
Why are Interest Rates So Low? Ben Bernanke, Confused as Ever, Starts His Own Blog to Prove It - 31st Mar 15
Don’t Celebrate the U.S. Housing Market Recovery Yet - 30th Mar 15
A Middle East Nuclear Holocaust - 30th Mar 15
Peak Gold? – Goldman Sachs Research Warns of Peak Gold Production - 30th Mar 15
With Yemen Burning, Arab Spring II Is Underway - 30th Mar 15
No FED Bets From the BIS - 30th Mar 15
Election Forecast 2015 - Debates Boost Labour Into Opinion Polls Seats Lead - 30th Mar 15
Economic Recovery, Geopolitics and Detergents - 30th Mar 15
U.S. Dollar, Commodities and the Gold Miners GDXJ ETF Analysis - 30th Mar 15
Stock Market Short-term Downtrend - 30th Mar 15
David Cameron Election 2015 Debate Facts Check - Employment, Immigration, Debt & Deficit - 29th Mar 15
Stock Market About Ready to Crash! - 29th Mar 15
Reflections in a Golden Eye - Gold Market Rejection, Repatriation and Redemption - 28th Mar 15
Stock Market Inflection Point - 28th Mar 15
Gold And Silver - What Moved Price? Bab el-Mandeb And Uranus Square Pluto. What?! - 28th Mar 15
Stock Market Investment Parachutes; Do You Have Yours? - 28th Mar 15
Peak Gold Misunderstanding, is Gold About to Run Out? - 28th Mar 15
Deflation Watch: Key U.S. Economic Measures Turn South - 27th Mar 15
The Hard-Earned Truth About Recreational Real Estate - 27th Mar 15
Bitcoin Price Still in Important Territory - 27th Mar 15
Stocks Bear Market Conditions - Index Market Range Warning - 27th Mar 15
BEA Leaves Q4 2014 U.S. GDP Growth Essentially Unchanged at 2.22% - 27th Mar 15
Brazil Economy Victim of Vulgar Keynesianism - 27th Mar 15
Gold to Fuel Silver Price Upleg - 27th Mar 15
Gold and Silver Stocks Will Rise Again! - 27th Mar 15
Risk of ‘World War’ between NATO and Russia on Ukraine as Yemen Bombed - 27th Mar 15
FOMC Minutes Turned The Gold Tide - 27th Mar 15
Sheffield Hallam Election Battle 2015 - Lib Dems Go to War Whilst Labour Sleeps - 27th Mar 15
Gold Effect On Mining & Shale Wasteland - 27th Mar 15
How Stock Investors Should Play the 2016 Presidential Race - 26th Mar 15
MidEast Energy Alert: Why the Crisis in Yemen Could Get Ugly Very Fast - 26th Mar 15
Stock Market Downward Spiral of Dumbness - 26th Mar 15
The Monetary Approach Reigns Supreme - 26th Mar 15
Stock Market Large Gap Down, Despite the Algos' Push Back - 26th Mar 15
Crude Oil Surges, Gold price Spikes as Middle East Tensions Escalate - 26th Mar 15
The U.S. Housing Market Recovery Is Fabricated Optimism - 26th Mar 15
Why Yemen Is The Next Saudi-Iranian Battleground - 26th Mar 15
The Crude Oil Price Crash and China Economic Slow Down - 26th Mar 15
Global Financial Markets Are More Distorted Than Ever Before - 26th Mar 15
One More Stock Market Rally and Then a Huge Drop Expected - 26th Mar 15
Danger Will Robinson - Stock Market Crash Warning - 25th Mar 15
Learn the Basics of Corrective Elliott Waves - 25th Mar 15
Why CNBC Is Hazardous to Your Financial Health! - 25th Mar 15
Will Your Retirement Accounts Survive The Coming Tax Code "Revolution"? - 25th Mar 15
US Dollar - Americas Phoenix - 25th Mar 15
California’s Epic Drought: Only One Year of Water Left! - 25th Mar 15
What’s Wrong With Silver? - 25th Mar 15
SPX Futures Appear Weak. WTIC and Gold May Be at Max Retracement - 25th Mar 15
We’re at the Dawn of a “New Energy Age” - 25th Mar 15
A Very Weak U.S. Economic Recovery - 25th Mar 15
Zero UK CPI Inflation Rate Prompts Deflation Danger Propaganda For Fresh Money Printing - 25th Mar 15

Free Instant Analysis

Free Instant Technical Analysis


Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

US Economy Still on Life Support

The Mayans Have Competition, Mutant War Future

Politics / Social Issues Jan 06, 2013 - 08:57 AM GMT

By: Andrew_McKillop

Politics

Mayans believed that robot-like warriors, linked to their alphabet soup of sombre and deadly gods with names like Yum Cimil and Ah Puke (sic), were prowling on dark nights and inauspicious days: about 9 out of 10 days and nights, that is. In the USA of today, bionic warfare is rapidly emerging from the shadows of the imagination and with it, the fear of robot soldiers. Under a gripping photo of a US Army soldier testing the Lockheed Martin HULCE or HUman Load Carrier Exoskeleton, 'Wired Magazine', on January 1st, told its readers they have a mutant future coming - defined as a robot military future.


This military future however totally ignores the fact that large scale international war, today, like global warming, happens almost exclusively in the imagination: wars now operate at a small, local scale. The future of war is mostly civil - and that is not an oxymoron. International and continental sized wars with setpiece 'theatre' infantry battles, outside town or in town are still found in Think Tank musing, but they do not work anymore, for basic technological reasons. Weapons of mass destruction have been intensely democratized as the number of vulnerable economic targets has exploded - but Bionic Warrior business hopefuls do not seem to know this.

The 'Wired Mag' article said the US military, like others is targeting the faster deployment and faster upstream development of technical fixes designed to give ground troops "mutant powers", including "superior cognition and fearlessness". Drawing not indirectly but directly from video games and Hollywood new tech war movies like Kathryn Bigelow's 'Zero Dark Thirty', the US DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) says that its Avatar programme:  "seeks to develop interfaces and algorithms to enable a soldier to effectively partner with a semi-autonomous bi-pedal machine and allow it to act as the soldier's surrogate”.

The DARPA program warns of the risks of its own techno fantasy, including ethical and policy issues, and plain simple military ineffectiveness arising from  “military human enhancements” — including drug dependence, special nutrition needs, electroshock and gene therapy effects, robotic implants and prostheses which cannot be removed, and soldiers increasingly fearing the basic act of fighting, man to man, and being "unprepared" for this type of antique combat. Current human US soldiers certainly have 'cognition' of the risks of fighting determined enemies, whenever it is man to man, helping account for the high rate of suicides in the US Army, now running at about 20-per-day:
http://www.jcs.mil/speech.aspx?ID=1314

KEEP PLAYING
The risk of high priced Robo Grunts being wiped out en masse by cheaply produced and deployed weapons of mass destruction of course does not figure in the business plans of "bionic warfare" promoters and equipment providers, who argue "we have to keep on playing", but if they do we could find ourselves in big trouble down the road. Among the nightmare scenarios the business plans feel able to include, we find botched enhancements which harm the very soldiers they were meant to help and spawn pricey lawsuits. Tweaked Troopers could also run afoul of international law, potentially sparking diplomatic crises every time the Robo Grunts are deployed overseas and take out "friendly locals". To be sure, exactly like the dirty drone war, bionic troopers could trigger Me Too reaction from enemies, driving a potentially devastating arms race.

Drugged on tech, and anxious to sell tech goodies to fight baddies, promoters of Bionic Warfare borrow from the already successful, officially-clean drone war program of the USA and argue that the genie is already out of the bottle: "the benefits are too irresistible, and the military-industrial complex still has too much industrial momentum,” is one typical comment.

Typical "friendly fire" accidents are also already frequent, and an opportunity area for lawyers in certain cases, sunch as the recurring incidents of US Air Force pilots "responding to inferred ground fire threats', for example flashes on the ground 4 miles below them, and dropping laser-guided bombs 'to clean things up on the ground'. When this concerns US or allied troops in Afghanistan, presently the largest theater for the grim comedy of "enhanced warfare", and when this results in friendly troops suffering unfriendly death and maiming, they can sue the US government. This can be expensive.

Court cases are held outside the public domain and reporting is forbidden but the most usual defense line is that the "human operative" who decided to drop a bomb on his own troops or on allied troops was using drugs, especially the old time discotheque favorite stimulant Dexedrine, that the US Air Force routinely prescribes for pilots flying long missions. Mixed with newer and "more enhancing" drugs this produces what the US Air Force calls “new or worse aggressive behavior or hostility.” In turn this sets a simple question with heavy legal implications over and above any ethical or military effectiveness issues: when "bionic war operatives', pilots or soldiers, make a mistake is this due to the drugs, the technology, or the human beings? Are there now overwhelming legal, ethical, psycho-social or military operational limits on the extent to which a warfighter may be "enhanced"?

RAMPING UP
We could imagine a future battlefield overflown by amphetamine-fueled pilots, with cyborg commanders running the 'ground ops' and slugging it out, robotically, but confronted by neurological and cognitive disorders due to the chemical, bionic, electronic and other shock treatment that their troops received to provide them "otherwise impossible levels of tactical cunning". To be absolutely certain nobody would be churlish enough to use a nuclear, biological or chemical weapon, or weapons, to clear away the rats and vermin from the vidgame playingfield, quicktime! Nobody would do a nasty thing like that!

Exactly like that World War 2 invention, the atom bomb, deadly organophosphate insecticides like TEPP originated as nerve gases developed by Nazi Germany during World War 2. To be sure the insecticide is a lot less effective than its nerve gas-only military equivalent Sarin, which has a lethal dose of about 12 milligrams for an average-size soldier, but TEPP is above all in large-scale worldwide industrial production. There is no shortage. Even Khadafi was almost able to produce it, proving that any grunt, only slightly more "enhanced' than Khadafi can produce it.

With supreme irony, so-called "bionic" warfare technology draws heavily on biomedical research, with a dose of robotics thrown in. Despite the dirty drone war - which is a success for American war planners because it enables Americans to kill other people with no short term risk of retribution - the stated goal of Robo Grunt supplier company business plans is to produce " perfect future warfighters". These are ground troops, and by definition are vulnerable to any scale or type of ground combat weapon and of course aerial attack of any kind, from drones and planes, to missiles.

To be sure, liberal scribblers wring their hands in anguish about proliferation threats and urge that human soldier "enhancements" should be regulated by international law, or possibly banned outright.  Typical questions are: If an implant malfunctions or a drug causes unexpected side effects, who is responsible? If returning demobilized "cyborg fighters' go lobo and take out consumer cyborgs in a supermarket, or kill cyborg consumers in a film theatre watching robo film products like "Avatar", are we confronted with an "unethical result" of military progress?

As we know, the laws of armed conflict like the Geneva Convention, and weapons limiting attempts like the NPT (nuclear nonproliferation treaty) are joined by the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention, but their reach is very weak. For military deciders, over and above the clouded question of the "legitimate military purpose" of bionic enhancement, the simple question of is it necessary is however not possible to avoid.

COMIC BOOKS AND SCIENCE FICTION
Most commentators from inside the emerging and amorphous "military enhancement industry" in the US say that the Pentagon should start figuring out a framework for military human enhancement now, because these interested parties claim that "fantastical technologies and capabilities" have now slipped out of the magic bottle and "mutant military power" really is changing the world.

They can, whenever they want, take a look at the meltdown sequence of nuclear reactors at Fukushima and check out the economic damage caused by the Fukushima disaster. Taking the count at a mimimum of 3 reactors "confirmed meltdown" and 1 "probable meltdown" the same economic damage - about $500 billion over 10 years - could be attained by 3 or 4 not very high tech missiles or drones with totally conventional high explosive warheads. The goal of modern war is economic damage -  even if the new business class of Robo Grunt weapons suppliers didn't know it. Cost-benefit analysis shows that doing the maximum credible economic damage to your enemy has never been cheaper than today, also explaining why gung-ho traditional international or continental scale warfare is terminated.

In 2012, India became the latest member of the highly-restricted club of nations with full ICBM long-range missile capability - defined as missiles with a range over 5000 kilometres and very high precision guidance capabilities. At the same time, dating from long before 2012 high precision short-range missiles with a capability of 2 - 7 kilometres, either shoulder launched or ground launched, have also proliferated, but club membership is already high and always growing. Almost any of the world's 440 nuclear reactors are "accessible" to attack, from a large range of increasingly sophisticated but ever cheaper ordnance.When or if the nuclear reactors or nuclear waste centres were not available as targets, we have pesticide factories, LNG terminals, oil refineries, power plants and other smaller, but high economic damage potential targets available. In profusion.

This itself explains why international war is now a museum piece - mutual assured destruction would be exactly that - assured. Playing with the idea of setpiece infantry battles, 1914-1918 style but operated by Robo Grunts today is the ultimate in outdated thinking, even if business is business. ***

By Andrew McKillop

Contact: xtran9@gmail.com

Former chief policy analyst, Division A Policy, DG XVII Energy, European Commission. Andrew McKillop Biographic Highlights

Co-author 'The Doomsday Machine', Palgrave Macmillan USA, 2012

Andrew McKillop has more than 30 years experience in the energy, economic and finance domains. Trained at London UK’s University College, he has had specially long experience of energy policy, project administration and the development and financing of alternate energy. This included his role of in-house Expert on Policy and Programming at the DG XVII-Energy of the European Commission, Director of Information of the OAPEC technology transfer subsidiary, AREC and researcher for UN agencies including the ILO.

© 2012 Copyright Andrew McKillop - All Rights Reserved Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilising methods believed to be reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any losses you may incur as a result of this analysis. Individuals should consult with their personal financial advisor.

Andrew McKillop Archive

© 2005-2015 http://www.MarketOracle.co.uk - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.


Post Comment

Only logged in users are allowed to post comments. Register/ Log in

Free Report - Financial Markets 2014