[iwar] when back alley fights really hurt

From: Dan Ellis (ellisd@cs.ucsb.edu)
Date: 2001-05-10 13:37:35

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From: Dan Ellis <ellisd@cs.ucsb.edu>
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Date: Thu, 10 May 2001 13:37:35 -0700 (PDT)
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Subject: [iwar] when back alley fights really hurt
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	We have all witnessed the pathetic reports of the nature of the
'cyber war' between Chinese Honkers and American teenagers.  (Aside: I am
glad that it was a pathetic engagement.)  It seems that nothing happened
that couldn't just be shrugged off as harmless but annoying.  What happens
when these teenagers (or other uebercrackers) do something more than just
deface webpages?  What I mean by 'more' is something substantial, like
disrupt EMS, effectivly disrupt a power grid, or disrupt our economy
through psyops, etc.  Although not necessarily sanctioned or launched by
the PRC, would the US consider this a military offensive?  Would they
consider the PRC responsible for the engagement?  Is the PRC responsible
to make sure that its citizens are not engaging in warfare operations?  
If the US did deem such an attack a military offensive and if (a big if)
the US could isolate the attacks as coming from the Honker Union or some
other subset of Chinese nationalists (other than the Chinese military),
does the US declare war against the Honkers, simply engage in information
operations against the Honkers, or do they pull the PRC into the mix?  Is
there some other alternative?  The US has, in the past, taken action
against a government or regime (Saddam Hussein) but made it clear that we
were not warring with 'the people of Iraq', just their leader.  Could the
opposite be true?  Would the US ever declare war or initiate operations
against a (subset of the) people but not the government of that people?

	It appears that escalation may be provided, not just by nation
states (or their militaries), but by individuals from either nation, or,
because of the lack of authentication over our communication media, some
third party (eg, Taiwa--to beat the PRC with a big American stick).

	Comments on any of the following are requested:  

1) Does a nation have the responsibility to keep its own in check?

2) How does a nation respond to a threat that is projected by a proper
subset of another nation's population?  Is this just another case of

3) How substantial does an attack (from somebody other than a nation
state) need to be before it justifies/demands/etc. some sort of

Dan Ellis, PhD student, UCSB
Home: (805) 971-6183
Work: (805) 893-4394
Fax:  (805) 893-8553


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