Posted by: Calmseas (Mike) | June 3, 2009

Virtual War

In 1967, during the height of the Vietnam War, a fascinating episode of Star Trek was presented to TV viewers.  Writer Gene L. Coon, in an article published recently on the website denofgeek.com, provides this description of that episode:

. . . “A Taste Of Armageddon” makes a general and thought provoking critique on the futility of war and the loss of people and cultures within those conflicts.

The Enterprise turns up at the planet Eminiar VII with Ambassador Robert Fox onboard despite being told to stay away, looking to establish diplomatic relations. Kirk, Spock, Yeoman Tamura and two guards beam down to the planet to be met by the attractive Mea 3. She takes them to the High Council where they’re told that they’ve beamed into a war zone and they should leave. It turns out that Eminiar VII and its sister planet Vendikar have been at war for 500 years, although Kirk can see no obvious signs of destruction in their cities.

It turns out that in many respects the war they’re fighting is virtual, in that the attacks are calculated, WarGames-like, by computers, and then those people who are determined to have been killed in each attack then have 24 hours to turn themselves in for disintegration. This conveniently leaves the infrastructure intact, even if thinning out the population.

In so many ways, Star Trek—as corny as it can be—was ahead of its time.  It is uncanny just how often this science fiction TV series accurately pointed the way toward the future.  Take cell phones, for one example; flip open your cell phone, and tell me that your action doesn’t appear to the person across the street like you are calling to Scotty to “beam you up.”

Well, today I read an article that indicates that the fictional virtual war of Star Trek fame has actually arrived in our own “real” world.  It seems that the United States has developed a weapon that leaves people and infrastructure intact, while effectively neutralizing an enemy’s weapons systems.   This new weapon is apparently a high-powered microwave system that fries the electronics in any target that it is used against.  Go to the article here to read more.

Upon reading about this new system, my first thought was, “Whoa!  We can do that?”  What an amazing “brave new world” we live in.

While this technology is certainly amazing, it is also a very scary thing.  From my perspective, a weapon such as this has the potential to lower the threshold at which nations will opt in favor of war.  Because a nation will no longer need to calculate the human toll when deciding to go to war, this futuristic weapon could very well make possible—and make acceptable to many nations—the reality of perpetual warfare.  The thinking of a belligerent nation might go something like this: “Why not just go to war with anyone and everyone over anything and everything.  The worst that will happen is that we might need to replace a bunch of circuit boards.”

And, of course, if the United States is the only country to possess this technology, then our role as “policeman of the world”—a role that many Americans greatly dislike as it is—will be greatly amplified.   A “brave new world” indeed!

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Responses

  1. Aaaaacckkkk! MY EYES! I can’t see….OMG the pain!

    What kind of horrific, brave new weapon is this? Luring an unsuspecting bleeding-heart liberal to a FOX News website?! That’s just WRONG! Eeeeeeeee!

    I’M MELTING….Melting… melti…

  2. There must be a way to wean folks off state-run media and move them over to something more . . . shall we say . . . “fair and balanced.” I may have found a way to do that through surreptitious links in otherwise benign media.


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