A New Kind of War?
A New Kind of War?
Dr. David F. Ingrassia // 03.19.2016 // Charlotte Awake
It’s rare that I have a lazy Saturday to sit and read, but such was the case this morning as I laid back the chair next to my dog who broke his leg last week and now hobbles like a pirate, and began to read articles from the New Yorker Magazine that were published in the 1940s. The Great War had not yet encompassed all of Europe; and the United States, still concerned with digging out of the Depression, sat insulated by 41 million square miles of blue ocean from the horrors about to be unleashed on the world.
Information at that time raveled at government bureaucratic speed, which created a continual and growing angst among those frantically surfing the analog radio waves for any bit of news concerning the westward move of Hitler toward Paris. For most, the newspaper regulated the daily digest of bad news. It became the morning dose of wartime castor oil.
WHAT PLANET ARE YOU FROM?
Unless you have most recently arrived on the planet from the distant world of your favorite superhero, or from North Korea, or from a journalism school that no longer includes any teaching in its packed syllabus of social protest, you will know that today information is not only transmitted globally and instantaneously, but there is so much of it that we need news services and self-ordained RSS news aggregators to filter, and ultimately produce the cud of global awareness through a digestive process of information rumination. Hey, it’s an ugly process to have someone chew our food for us, but without it we would quickly choke on the data.
War was different because information traveled slowly. The buzzing of planes, the popping, explosions, screams, cries, and splattering were all the same. But it happened slower. At least it appeared that way to those who, pre-Vietnam, didn’t see any of the images of naked children screaming from napalm burning villages. They had the movie newsreel–heavily edited–very patriotic. They had the newspaper–the same paper that the next day was used to wrap fish in the market.
Today information is different. War is different. Everything happens in cyberspace. The killing, explosions, popping, screams, cries, and splattering still happen beyond the matrix. Only now they come unannounced from somewhere in the stratosphere often controlled by a joystick from a compound in Nevada. But the war is fundamentally different. A new battlefield has opened in cyberspace where government hackers poke till they penetrate enemy weaknesses in their cyber security. Who really wants information on a million people’s medical records? No one knows? The problem is the war is so new, the enemy so invisible, and the cyber-attacks so nonhuman, that we are not yet sure what inhumane damage these cyber-bombs can cause.
The mistake we made is to think that war requires people to look each other in the eye and charge, or slash, bludgeon or shoot. Imagine the shock of the Iraqi soldier smoking a cigarette, standing next to his tank, and then suddenly the tank vaporizes from a bomb launched from nowhere, anywhere, unseen, invisible. Poof. “Don’t fire till you see the whites of their eyes” is the motto of those already defeated by technology.
We scold ourselves for being so naive about war, but we make the same mistake over and over. We think we understand the enemy. We think we understand the battle. We think we understand the war. We understand little. We are shocked when our tank mysteriously blows up. Poof!
The Real War
And while the Bible clearly indicates that our struggle is not human–not against flesh and blood, but is against Satan and his demonic host–we are nonetheless certain that the only enemy we face is human and political. It sounds hauntingly like our certainty that the next war is like the last. All we need is longer and deeper trenches. All we need is radar-elusive aircraft. All we need is Star Wars military technology. All we need it cyber-security and smarter geeks than the enemy.
Our struggle is not human and so our human weapons leave us defenseless. The Bible tells us that too. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of this world, but have divine power to demolish strongholds and every lofty pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God.
As it turns out, it’s not a new kind of war at all. It’s been this way all the time. The devil has been active all this time; and while human armies, nations, political enemies, and spouses fight each other to the death, the world spins daily dancing into icy night unaware of the icebergs lying beneath the mesmerizing stars.
We need different weapons to fight this kind of war. We need different information to understand the enemy’s strategies and battle tactics. But we are convinced still that we just need deeper trenches, better technology, different generals. We just need to go back to where we were and we will be safe. We are convinced beyond a shadow of that proverbial doubt that if we just fix the country, we will once again be safe. The enemy will be at bay. Our freedoms will be restored, protected, inviolable, and our unalienable rights secure. POOF! What just happened to my tank?
Sound a clarion call to the church. In truth, this is NOT a different war. This is not a different enemy. This is just a different time. Our struggle is not against flesh and blood. How did we forget? Remember what we have known all along. Turn back to what we have known all along. Do what we have done all along: pray, love, proclaim. Let those who have ears hear this clarion call.