The face of 22nd century warfare… happening today
According to the American military, 23 Afghan civilians were killed in February by a group of people sitting at a console in Creech Air Force Base in Nevada. How could that happen? Because these people were operating the Predator drones that have caused such controversy in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Look out,world… this is the way warfare is going to be conducted in the future as increasingly advanced technology allows more sophisticated interfaces to be developed. The logic is powerful. Why should you risk the lives of your own people when you can accomplish the same ends by technology? It’s the same logic that leads to the use of robots when possible in examining and disarming suspected terrorist bombs.
But, sensible as the logic may be, we’re going to enter a world where the lives and deaths of civilians will ultimately be decided by the cost/benefit trade-offs of programmers working away in the abstract world of mathematics, completely divorced from the reality of the ground.
In my book, Requiem of the Human Soul, there’s a scene that portrays the face of 22nd century warfare. The troops fighting the terrorists are called GE troopers, (standing for GALT Enforcement – a 22nd century global treaty to limit human aggression by genetic means). They’re fighting the Rejectionists, people who reject this global treaty on religious grounds. And, plus ca change, the fighting is still going in the Pakistan/Afghanistan border, this time in a little community called Pannakot, in the Chitral Valley. But the GE troopers aren’t really there – they use virtual reality units (or VRUs) which they’re operating from the comfort of Nashville, Tennessee.
And it’s a lot more comfortable when you’re fighting from your home town. As one of the troopers tells the book’s hero, Eusebio:
Sure, pal, that’s where the whole 4-21 regiment is located. We have a giant virtual reality center outside Nashville. We’re all there right now, in our skins, hunting down Rejos in the Chitral Valley. It sure beats doing it in person. At the end of the day, we go have a drink with the guys, enjoy our kids at home. I’ve got a six-year old. I wouldn’t miss him growing up for anything.
Eusebio, is there with the GE troopers in the Chitral Valley virtually, wearing a VRU himself. He’s on a mission to see what is really going on in the sanitized world of genetically enhanced humans. And what he sees disgusts him. It’s the face of warfare in the 22nd century.