War in the Internet Age
Came across an interesting blurb on Yahoo:
There's a disputed swath of land on the Indian/Pakistan border called Kashmir. What do I know about Kashmir off of the top of my head? Not much, but I do know it causes a ton o' trouble.
I had a friend named Taufique and he was one of the kindest men I had ever met. Taufique was from Bangladesh and was in America going to graduate school. Taufique taught me many things, but these are the 3 things that stuck in my head thinking about him today.
Tigers are to be Feared: I don't know how the subject kept coming up, but Taufique warned me on multiple occasions not to take the dangers of Tigers for granted. Taufique personally knew people who had been eaten by tigers. I told him that tigers weren't a problem in the United States, he said there were still tigers in zoos that could escape and cause carnage. I often said 'let's agree to disagree on the tiger danger....in Minnesota.'
The Quran is a Book of Peace: Taufique took a rug with him everywhere he went and prayed 5 times a day. He was a devoted Muslim and always knew which way Mecca was no matter where we were. Because I was a Religious Studies Minor, he often offered to let me read one of his extra Qurans. He often spoke of the beautiful and poetic truths in the Quran and he often spoke of how radicals bastardized one of the most powerful works in all of literature.
Pakistanis are Evil: The most evil people on the planet were the Pakistanis. They committed unspeakable atrocities during Bangladesh's war for independence in 1971. His parents lived through that genocide. He also encouraged me to read about the Bangladesh Liberation War, but he didn't want to talk about it. He wanted Americans to know about history outside of the United States.
With that in mind, I know the region of Kashmir is a disputed land area in Northern India. I know that both India & Pakistan (and China) claim the land as their own. And I know this situation has been going on for a while. (72 years, to be exact.)
With only remedial research, I learned:
Kashmir is one of the most militarized land areas in the entire world.
India is a mostly Hindu nation, while the Kashmir region is a mostly Muslim region.
And, most importantly, that both India and Pakistan hate each other.
(Don't forget that both countries also have nukes.)
Would India use a nuke? I don't think they would.
Pakistan? Oh, hell yeah. Especially if they were losing a war.
[I also thought the song Kashmir by Led Zeppelin was about an extended road trip across the vast expanses of India. It wasn't. Kashmir was actually about an extended road trip across the vast expanses of...Morocco?]
I know, I know, I'm meandering again. My whole point is the India-Pakistan conflict is a potentially catastrophic powder keg. Syria's population at its peak was around 20 million. India's population is around 1.4 billion, about 70 times larger in population than Syria. Add in the population of Pakistan (200 million), and you could could be dealing with a Syrian situation x100.
The shear numbers of participants in a future military action could potentially challenge carnage not seen since World War II. And you've seen pictures of the devastation of World War II, but you didn't see many videos of the actual fighting. What you saw was some bombing footage and some kamikazees caught on camera, but what you mostly saw from World War II was the RESULTS of fighting. Is the world ready for massive war footage in the age of the cell phone? Everyone has a camera. What if someone captures a real detonation of a nuclear weapon? Is the world ready to see the results of a nuclear weapon from ground level?
I know there's been many wars since World War II. You could argue with me that you watched the Vietnam War on the nightly news. Heck, my late Grandfather taped most of Operation Iraqi Freedom on his VCR. But I think a Pakistani-Indian War could create mountains of war footage, uncensored from governments, for worldwide consumption. (Meaning worldwide backlash.) Almost all war footage, with the exception of the past 10 years years or so, has been edited footage. Back to the Vietnam Example, you'd watch your 8 minutes of War Footage with Walter Cronkite, then sit around digesting dinner until Archie Bunker came on.
Let's say Pakistan moved troops into Kashmir today. I guarantee you that by the end of the day, there would be a thousand short videos on YouTube. Mass troop movements would surely be caught by the citizens of Kashmir.
Is the world ready for a World War in Real Time on the Internet?
You don't think a Pakistani-Indian Conflict would lead to a World War? How 'bout answering this one last question: Can you imagine an immense war on the Asian Continent and the United States is sitting on the sidelines?