Blowback: Might It Spread Beyond Drones?

Steve Clemons has posted an Atlantic item just now on David Ignatius's timely novel Bloodmoney, which deals among other things with how much less appealing drone warfare will seem to most Americans when we no longer monopolize the technology. The Atlantic's Robert Wright made a similar point yesterday. There is another novel coming out this summer on the same theme, which I'll say more about as its publication date nears.

I have just five minutes at the computer now, but I wanted to say that in this vein it is worth reading a new story in Russia Today, concerning the leaks/reports about the U.S. and Israeli success in using the Stuxnet virus against Iran's nuclear labs. I am all in favor of unconventional means to dissuade or delay Iran from building a nuclear weapon, if the alternative is the Israeli leadership deciding to launch a (ruinous for all sides, including Israel) preemptive strike. But it is worth noting this paragraph far down in the Russian account, emphasis added:

The report says American cyber attacks are not limited to Iran, but the focus was overwhelmingly on Tehran's nuclear program. Obama reportedly was hesitant to expand the use of the new brand of weapon. In fact, the US is arguably the one country in the world most vulnerable to cyber attacks on its infrastructure. Pioneering such operations would give other countries and power groups a justification to target America.

For now I have to leave it at that. No weapon remains the unique property of any one country forever.

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James Fallows is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and has written for the magazine since the late 1970s. He has reported extensively from outside the United States and once worked as President Carter's chief speechwriter. His latest book is China Airborne. More

James Fallows is based in Washington as a national correspondent for The Atlantic. He has worked for the magazine for nearly 30 years and in that time has also lived in Seattle, Berkeley, Austin, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai, and Beijing. He was raised in Redlands, California, received his undergraduate degree in American history and literature from Harvard, and received a graduate degree in economics from Oxford as a Rhodes scholar. In addition to working for The Atlantic, he has spent two years as chief White House speechwriter for Jimmy Carter, two years as the editor of US News & World Report, and six months as a program designer at Microsoft. He is an instrument-rated private pilot. He is also now the chair in U.S. media at the U.S. Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, in Australia.

Fallows has been a finalist for the National Magazine Award five times and has won once; he has also won the American Book Award for nonfiction and a N.Y. Emmy award for the documentary series Doing Business in China. He was the founding chairman of the New America Foundation. His recent books Blind Into Baghdad (2006) and Postcards From Tomorrow Square (2009) are based on his writings for The Atlantic. His latest book is China Airborne. He is married to Deborah Fallows, author of the recent book Dreaming in Chinese. They have two married sons.

Fallows welcomes and frequently quotes from reader mail sent via the "Email" button below. Unless you specify otherwise, we consider any incoming mail available for possible quotation -- but not with the sender's real name unless you explicitly state that it may be used. If you are wondering why Fallows does not use a "Comments" field below his posts, please see previous explanations here and here.

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