When Hosni Mubarak shut down Egypt’s internet and cellphone communications, it seemed that all U.S. officials could do was ask him politely to change his mind. But the American military does have a second set of options, if it ever wants to force connectivity on a country against its ruler’s wishes.
There’s just one wrinkle. “It could be considered an act of war,” says John Arquilla, a leading military futurist.
The U.S. military has no shortage of devices — many of them classified — that could restore connectivity to a restive populace cut off from the outside world by its rulers. It’s an attractive option for policymakers who want an option for future Egypts, between doing nothing and sending in the Marines. And it might give teeth to the Obama administration’s demand that foreign governments consider internet access an inviolable human right.
Arquilla, a professor at the Naval Postgraduate School, spent years urging the military to logic-bomb adversary websites, disrupt hostile online presences, and even cause communications blackouts to separate warring factions before they go nuclear. What the military can turn off, he says, it can also turn on — or at least fill dead airspace.”
It’s tough to express unswerving loyalty to a country when so many of its citizens seem to have forgotten what this country is really all about.
So I stand for the flag. I put my hand over my heart and sing, tears in my eyes, for the country I want us to be. And I pray that the people who would see this country turned into a theocracy never, ever, gain control over it.”