Thursday, August 13, 2009

When You Twitter a King, Kill Him

In the past I've noted that we can't get so caught up in the mystique of cyber-warfare that we forget that a JDAM dropped on an office building filled with enemy hackers is probably a more straightforward way of dealing with their offensive efforts than equivalent hacking back at them.

So I'm all on board this critique of the Iran protests snuffed out by the mullah regime:

Looking back on it, it's hard to understand how the recent Iranian revolution failed. Sure, the mullahs had guns, tanks, an air force, police, the Revolutionary Guard, the Basij, and imported terrorist thugs on their side. But the Iranian protestors had Twitter. Who could have predicted that an authoritarian regime, in control of its military and willing to spill blood, would triumph over the power of social networking?

It is no criticism of the Iranian dissidents to note that in the West there was a wave of absurd, and disquieting, Twitter triumphalism connected with Iran's June post-election protests. And the praise of Twitter was, like Twitter itself, more about narcissism than sympathy with Iran.

Twitter is surely a great tool for overthrowing a regime. But in the end, high-drama meetups don't defeat despots--killing despots defeats despots. You have to take the next step and actually kill the king.

UPDATE: Thank you, Instapundit, for the link.