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Robotics The Military Hardware Politics

Afghanistan Called First "Robotic War" 288

retroworks writes "Fareed Zakaria (Editor of Time, CNN GPS) writes that one in 50 USA combatants in Afghanistan is now a robot. There are more fighting robots than elevators in the country. Article has links to film of robots in action, allusions to Terminator films."
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Afghanistan Called First "Robotic War"

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 05, 2011 @09:10AM (#35719370)

    ...who does not think that the USA is an evil empire, and take consolation only in knowing that it is also a dying empire?

    Get the hell out of the Middle East, USA. Stop killing people. Sort out your shit at home for your own sake.

    That's an interesting comment considering the Taliban in Afghanistan dictates half the population should be treated as property (women) and tramples on the rights of the Afghanis to the greatest degree of any society on the planet.

    I would say to you - who doesn't think the Taliban is an evil empire and take consolation only in knowing it is also a dying political movement? Get the hell out of the lives of your citizens, stop sending terrorists across the globe to kill innocents, stop killing your own citizens for minor infractions of your "laws". Go read your Koran in peace.

  • by Hazel Bergeron ( 2015538 ) on Tuesday April 05, 2011 @09:18AM (#35719450) Journal

    What does any of this have to do with the US thinking it has the right to act as world policeman?

    The US is not in Afghanistan to liberate the people any more than the Soviets were there to liberate it from Western Capitalist Imperialists[tm]. And the US didn't support religious fundamentalism after (and before) that to liberate Afghanistan from Godless Communist Interantionalists[tm]. Such wars are about one superpower or another fighting for control of resources and strategic locations, as well as securing funding for the corporations of which politicians and their donors are shareholders. You know it; I know it.

    Be a soldier on the offensive if you want, but don't be such a damn coward about your reasons. I'd hoped hypocrisy died with the setting of the sun on the British empire, but it seems much of the US are no better.

  • tools, not robots (Score:5, Insightful)

    by circletimessquare ( 444983 ) <circletimessquare&gmail,com> on Tuesday April 05, 2011 @09:20AM (#35719478) Homepage Journal

    tools have always been used in war. when we have autonomous decision making mechanisms engaging enemies, then we can talk about robotic warfare. otherwise, the bar is being set too low for what constitutes robotic warfare

  • by Hazel Bergeron ( 2015538 ) on Tuesday April 05, 2011 @09:54AM (#35719832) Journal

    I agree. Have you seen the pictures of the women disfigured because someone accused them of cheating or stealing? Or heard stories of the families now left without a husband because the Taliban either killed or forcefully recruited him?

    Try absorbing less knowledge via propaganda and walk around your country a bit. Firstly, spousal abuse happens everywhere, including on your street right now. Next, put less emphasis on the tourist spots and more on the poverty spots. Gang violence, while always more prevalent when there is a perceived oppressor to fight, produces life expectancies even in the US which you may have already exceeded. "But it's a choice in the US to join!" I hear you cry - just as the cry of America has always been that failure is a choice, and everyone has the freedom to succeed if only they try and dream just a little more. What bullshit. Yes, every genius and every atlas has the choice to defeat someone who dares to try to oppress him. But not everyone is either genius or atlas - you and I rely on good fortune.

    I'm sure the little kid in Africa who no longer has AIDS or Malaria doesn't mind us being there.

    Educating people to prepare malaria vaccines or HIV medication (essentially: not imposing the artificial construction that is intellectual property law) is so far removed from a military invasion that I can only assume you yourself know how difficult it is to justify US military behaviour and are clutching at straws out of some sense of guilt.

    Dude, it's OK. You're not being blamed personally. Use what freedom you have to speak out against your government where it does wrong.

  • by bluefoxlucid ( 723572 ) on Tuesday April 05, 2011 @10:19AM (#35720156) Homepage Journal

    Yes and we destroyed their entire society and their entire culture doing it. Japan was a more mature, but still errant culture: they understood things like honor and dignity, they took up arms as a mode of philosophy. Japanese warriors (samurai) spend their time meditating on life, which is why you see them wandering around tending their gardens and watching cherry blossoms bloom (how's that for manly?). Warriors are engaged in a struggle for life, and when they stop fighting they may as well lay down and die; they fight to protect themselves and those who cannot or who simply want to live their lives.

    Japan's cultural error was one of a disconnect between philosophy and behavior--a common problem seen in all cultures. They were vicious on the battlefield, and they didn't spare non-combatants as a rule. You were greatly fortunate to be occupied by Japanese forces, because as long as you behaved they would probably treat you with respect, although they would definitely assume dictatorial command. Unfortunately, often times Japanese forces simply entered a town and killed every man, woman, and child they encountered with no discrimination; this was a great cultural failing.

    If we ignore the actual implementation, the Japanese seem like they were rather perfect at the time: they had strong respect for life and a strong sense of honor, which is a fancy word for "accountability to yourself for your actions." They needed to unify this philosophy with their behavior. We instead took this philosophy away from them entirely, and made a horrific mess out of their society by forcing Western merchant culture into it. So much damage....

    Look at the rest of the world. Power-mad leaders, self-righteous pompous bastards in the streets. We want to loudly proclaim our strong sense of right and wrong, we want to trample over everyone around us and force them to bend to our system of beliefs, and we'll use any method necessary. Our leaders will manipulate the political sphere and let innocents suffer to further our goals; they'll hire terrorists while proclaiming their vehement stance against terrorism. Accountability is only to the public eye: they only care about saving their own political face, and have no guilt over their actions.

    And yet we claim we can somehow make the world a perfect place, force everyone to play nice, we have all these high ideals. We constantly talk about how "war should never exist," while starting tons of wars. There are countries where weapons and even basic self defense skills are banned--you cannot teach martial arts in some places, it is criminal, and these are "advanced" and "enlightened" countries like New Zealand or Australia (there are a few cities in Australia that ban the teaching of martial arts because they don't want to "encourage" violence). The children believe they can remove the teeth and claws from the rabbit and tell the wolf to play nice.

    And the people. Look at the people. No philosophy, no honor. A culture of consumerism everywhere, buy buy buy, show off your flashy new stuff for social status. The bystander effect is everywhere: people are honorless cowards who won't stand up for anyone else, they will walk away from fights and from rape because it's "not my problem" and "I don't want to get involved," and to hell with the victim. We want the government to tax us and pay poor people so we never have to take personal responsibility for helping any individual, so we can look at them beg in the street and say, "It's not my problem, I pay my taxes, the government should take care of them." And when we fall to their level, we believe the same thing: people pay taxes, we're entitled to the government just taking care of us.

    We took something that wasn't perfect and made it worse. The opposite of spirituality is materialism, a culture of buy-buy-buy everything you see and money is your god. Religion is spirituality turned outward (responsibility offloaded to some deity you must follow), vanity is materialism turned inward; philosophy is spirituality turned inward (responsibility loaded squarely onto yourself), consumerism is materialism turned outward.

  • by arkenian ( 1560563 ) on Tuesday April 05, 2011 @10:27AM (#35720248)

    The US is in Afghanistan for the plunder.. be it oil, pipes, women, whatever. It's no different than one gang of chimpanzees attacking another. The flowery language and 'morality' is pure BS

    If there was anything to plunder in Afghanistan, this might actually be a valid argument.... but there's not, and pretty much never has been, which is why most invaders eventually give up.

  • by ToadProphet ( 1148333 ) on Tuesday April 05, 2011 @10:35AM (#35720366)

    If there was anything to plunder in Afghanistan, this might actually be a valid argument

    There's a trillion in resources, apparently 'found' after the invasion.

    But more importantly, Afghanistan is the key strategic jewel in the New Great Game [] shaped around oil politics.

  • by ElectricTurtle ( 1171201 ) on Tuesday April 05, 2011 @10:39AM (#35720426)
    Oh FFS. I just accidentally deleted a very detailed essay in response, but I still want it said so here is the abridged version:

    The US did not change Japan insofar as introducing much that was extrinsic, they simply promoted the aspect of Japanese culture they preferred. Japan had been at war with itself culturally for centuries, and could be metaphorically represented by Toyotomi Hideyoshi and Sen no Rikyu. The former was a ruthless bloodthirsty tyrant willing to use bushido as the means to put the world under his feet. The latter was a serene, pacifistic and wise aesthete who wanted nothing more than enjoy the subtleties of life. On the eve of the Imjin War (almost three centuries before WW2) Toyotomi Hideyoshi ordered Sen no Rikyu to commit suicide for (what several historians believe was) his insolence in failing to support the imminent conflict. For the next several centuries, the warrior-oriented mode of Japanese culture and identity would be dominant through the end of the Second World War. (The internal cultural conflict even went so far as the outright persecution [] of Japanese Buddhists/pacifists.)

    Then, due to both the rapid demographic shift caused by so many bushido-bound warriors dieing in the war as well as the pressures exerted by the American occupation, the cultural pendulum swung the opposite direction. The Americans were smart enough not to try to change the Japanese into something non-Japanese, that would never have worked, instead they picked the most useful (to their purpose) aspect of Japanese culture and essentially channeled the Japanese into themselves. A very, very wise and effective strategy. The demographics are striking, the Soka Gakkai sect of Buddhism (which was the only sect in Japan to staunchly oppose militarism) saw an increase in membership [] of 2500% in less than a decade. A massive and rapid cultural shift indeed, but not inside out, rather one side to another internally.

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