An article in the Washington Post suggests that playing… er, studying… Everquest is a good way to develop strategies against terrorist networks:
The intellectual groundwork for this “netwar” analysis was laid out in a paper published on the Internet in October 2001 by two Rand Corp. analysts, David Ronfeldt and John Arquilla. “It takes networks to fight networks,” they argued. But it has been difficult to imagine what these anti-network networks might look like.
That’s why the massive online games are so intriguing. The ability to connect many hundreds of thousands of people simultaneously opens the possibility for sharing information, tasking both combatants and civilian rescue workers, and “pulsing” adversaries with diffuse but well-coordinated counterattacks.
Two responses. First: well, duh. We’ll leave that one there. Second, when did the US give up the propaganda war? How are we so bad at this? Folks are just now coming to terms with the idea that Al Quaeda may be more than just a new form of organization, it may not be an organization at all. There is something very powerful about a group of people who are goal-oriented and fighting for a cause, particularly when this is best accomplished via (to use the Randy term) “swarming.” Swarming does not require coordination.
We have an amazing marketing and PR machine in the US. You would think that we could sell the country a bit better. If we took half the defense budget and put it into educating (and “educating”) the world population about the values of democracy and liberty and, yes, progress, they would be on our side. As it is, we make ourselves targets and play neatly into an argument that we are the “big bad.”