February 20, 2009

Abu Muqawama Declares Jihad on Google Earth

When I was in Afghanistan and Iraq (between 2001 and 2004), I was so impressed with the satellite imagery we were always given of objectives and areas of interest. It was good, I thought at the time, to be in the service of a powerful nation-state capable of providing such resources to its lowly foot soldiers. Fast forward just a few years, then, to an era when -- thanks to Google Earth -- every Tom, Dick and Harry has access to similar technology. Hamas and Hizballah, for example, have been using Google Earth to plot rocket attacks on Israel for some time now. (And militants in Iraq and Afghanistan have used the program to attack U.S. and British bases.) As if that weren't bad enough, though, now Google Earth is putting both the United States and Pakistan under serious pressure by revealing the existence of our Predator bases in Pakistan, adding confirmation to Senator Feinstein's epic goof last week.

Despite the over-the-top subject line of this post, I'm not trying to blame technology -- lest the Google gods shut down my blogger.com account -- but damn it's both interesting and frustrating to see the speed with which technology super-secret just a few years back is now defused into the public domain.

P.S. Many thanks to the readers who have joined this blog over the past few days. We had over 21,000 visitors yesterday and more than 15,000 on Wednesday. The former is a one-day record.