They will lay siege to financial and social operations instead of doing it to cities.
For a very long time, I have been a fan of films. I will watch pretty much anything, from chick flicks to action packed productions. My brain is filled with information, quotes, music scores and images. But when I saw the news about Megaupload being taken offline by the FBI, the moment in which Jonathan Pryce, whilst portraying the fictional media mogul Elliot Carver in Tomorrow Never Dies, utters that “Satellites are the new artillery”. Pryce´s character was referring to the new way of waging war, which has shamefully reduced tanks, bullets and knives to mere consequences to the psychological contest “won before being fought”.
What happened, then? Not too long ago, wars used to be largely about the fighting itself. Only in WWII there is one of my favorite examples of good strategic warfare: Rommel vs. Montgomery. There used to be a meaning for soldiers to train for combat. Now, armies do not take to the great fields to fight. Now, there are no more Utah Beaches or Baltimores or Gettysburgs.
Instead, we have something more powerful: computers.
The closing of Megaupload and its sister sites, along with the looming ghost of SOPA and PIPA in the horizon, which is closer than many will accept, represents the first aggressive call of war stemming from an official institution. It is an act of war, should one begin already to use the term. Those who profess freedom will cry treason and fight back by taking down sites instead of walls. They will capture people´s information instead of prisoners. They will lay siege to financial and social operations instead of doing it to cities.
However, those who will find themselves truly affected will the same who always have been affected by war. They, the peaceful bystanders who simply observe the battle from the sidelines or those who try not to become involved are normally the ones who take the worst of the battles. And, ironically enough, they are also the ones who get asked for sacrifices, “blood and toils” to win the war. Meanwhile, the fighters from both sides will do what they do best: fight. Comfortably, strong, from the peace of their homes knowing the ways in and out of every corner and turn point, and claiming they are all fighting for higher interests.
In sum, I am not saying there should not be a war. There needs to be, for many reasons. But the public must prepare, much like the civilians of old, to withstand the combats and sustain the wounded.