It's been a long time since the last war in ... where was it, Libya? Libya, yes. A good war. And like the iPhone, we apparently need a new version of this war every two years.
Unlike the iPhone, this is not a war we'll get to touch. Like all wars in the 21st Century, a handful of professional soldiers and pilots and remote-control drone operators will do the actual fighting, mostly from a safe distance, because the fighting mostly involves dropping things out of planes, especially from the popular robot planes.
Once the air strikes and drone strikes are done, the locals can fight amongst themselves for a couple of years. Several blogs will follow this action closely, from afar, and the rest of us can safely forget about it. You can always "like" a solidarity picture that goes with whatever side of the clash your friends or maybe relatives support, if they follow the news a little bit. Sometimes people have family members either from the country we're fighting or maybe just from that culture in general. Mentioning this on Twitter and Facebook and in the comments on this very page of the Internet are all very good ways to show your opposition or support—in fact, they're the only ways. What else are you going to do, vote for a president or Congress that doesn't start wars every 24 months? Good luck with that.
A current social media brand experiencing steady but undramatic growth in its user base will find, perhaps unexpectedly, that this war really puts the brand into the spotlight. Twitter had the Arab Spring, old-fashioned blogs had something with purple fingers, China had nothing really because all the U.S. social media companies have agreed not to annoy China's political leadership, and MySpace had pictures of U.S. troops pissing on murdered children.
What will it be, this time? Foursquare? Maybe we will all "check in" with Syria, see how it's going. Or, possibly more useful, the whimsical Twitter video clip service called Vine could be used to show chemical weapons attacks. Apple's mobile mapping software could bring some much needed humor to the nightmare, with funny broken images of buildings or bridges that appear to be floating or whatever, before they're hit by missiles.
The important thing is that a Silicon Valley company in cahoots with U.S. intelligence makes a name for itself during the troubling days to come.
Each 21st Century U.S. war is a little less reliant on any humans at all, which is intentional. People are messy. They shoot civilians, they burn Korans, they smoke opium, they listen to Kid Rock and sneak off base looking for the prostitutes. Afghanistan needed a lot of fighting people, and you may remember that Afghanistan is still going on, a dozen years later. Afghanistan has been a U.S. war for so long that it was the background war in the first of Robert Downey Jr.'s Iron Man movies. The U.S. Revolutionary War against rich people paying their taxes didn't last as long as whatever's happening in Afghanistan.
Iraq didn't go very well, either. Nobody really cared "on the home front" as long as there was some occasional video setup with locals slapping a Saddam Hussein statue with their shoes, but once the fun stopped and thousands of U.S. troops were getting blown to bits by homemade car bombs, well then the American people were upset. They even turned on beloved 9/11 president George W. Bush, even though he specifically told us Iraq was because of 9/11.
So, people are out. Our people, actually. Other people will be bombed. One day, perhaps, the playing field will be equalled and all nations will have the same drones and stealth bombers and cyberwar capability, and perhaps global peace and understanding will finally arrive, hopefully at Christmas when people are already saying that stuff.
What a wonderful Christmas present that would be, for the whole world and especially the Middle East part of the world we keep bombing all the time, if peace would finally come at Christmastime.
Meanwhile, any smaller country that decides to be our enemy has nothing but our old weapons to fight us with, and those old weapons are really of no more use than a Blackberry from 2003 or even a first generation iPad, which will not load the new Plants vs. Zombies game because it doesn't have an internal camera. Why do you need an internal camera to have video-game plants shoot things at the zombies? No-one knows. What we do know is that the advantage is always with the person (or global empire) that has the latest technology.
Ken Layne's American Journal appears on Gawker as circumstances warrant, which is basically every day. Image by Jim Cooke.