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Submission + - Web 2.0 at War?

boulainvilliers writes: The internet is transforming business, retail, news, travel, dating, social networking, you name it. It is also transforming warfare — on both sides. Sure, Iraqi insurgents and militant Islamists didn't read "Coase's Penguin"; and America's soldiers are better at fiddling with M16s than with Linux updates. Yet both sides apply Web 2.0-lessons in the physical world, often with devastating effect.

Peer-production, the wisdom of crowds, open standards, and loose coupling have reached the battlefield, Thomas Rid argues in "War 2.0" (Policy Review, February 2007). Individual "users" take the initiative. If you're frustrated in Baghdad, you can easily find some fellows, buy a 152mm Russian artillery shell for about $100, download the bomb-design and shopping list on the internet, add some commercially available chemicals to enhance the bang, use a toy-car remote control as a trigger, watch the online-video of how to target Americans best, and you're in business. You might even post your own advice for fellow militants in, say, Afghanistan. Don't be surprised that the U.S. Army also embraces peer-to-peer networks, such as The troubling thing, says Rid, is that the wrong side is better at it. America's army faces probably its most entrepreneurial enemy ever (courtesy the

All power corrupts, but we need electricity.