Thursday, December 28, 2006


We face enemies who draw support from traditional states but do not rely on them. Waging war by private groups has been made more lethal by modern technology. Cheap and readily available weapons, modern communications gear (Internet and satellite phones), and WMD--from poison gas to Anthrax to dirty bombs to perhaps nuclear weapons--are no longer state monopolies. Warfare is being privatized by our enemies.

And if our Western governments fail to wage war effectively, will private Western warfare be far behind? Much as vigilantes arise when police and courts cannot provide security, will private groups strike back at whatever target they believe responsible for jihadis?

So if warfare is being privatized, how long will it be before groups arise to profit from this unmet need?

We speak of online private cyber-warfare (as I did here in regard to what I called cyber-booters), but real warfare requires more than hacking. Where will such refined skills be found?

With so many private security outfits around, how long before they need to drum up business when contracts start to peter out or too many competitors eat at the profit margin?

And so perhaps a need to match potential warmakers with potential war fighters will be met with an online service. Call it warBay. Need a bridge blown up somewhere? Sign on to warBay and choose from local insurgents out to make a profit, renegade pilots from a poor Third World air force willing to drop a bomb for cash, or ex-SAS members who formed a company without current government contracts in need of some money. Or assassinate a leader. Or just kill a bunch of people who are of the designated race or religion. Or hire some special ops types to intercept another group you read on an Internet board are planning to hit your side's headquarters (church or whatever). Freelancers and idiots could hire themselves out like the Shoe Bomber or like Timothy McVeigh to ply their particular skill for money.

Whatever your war needs, there are people out there who can provide the service. More bang for the buck, to turn a phrase. And warBay will be there.

The longer this Long War drags on without the West winning, the more likely that private entities will wage war and the more likely some form of supporting infrastructure will arise to use the surplus fighting talent out there.

So some time in the future, potential warmakers will turn on their computers to hear the soft voice say, "Hello. You've got war." The ability to right click to destroy won't be our military's sole domain forever.

I think warBay isn't as ridiculous as it sounds. Not nearly as ridiculous as the idea that you could make money by letting people sell that dreck in their basement for money.