The Future of War 2014-09-04, 01:47:54 More than four years ago Jerry Pournelle responded to this NYT article "detailing" the Obama administration's new policy:QuoteDiscussing his approach to nuclear security the day before formally releasing his new strategy, Mr. Obama described his policy as part of a broader effort to edge the world toward making nuclear weapons obsolete, and to create incentives for countries to give up any nuclear ambitions. To set an example, the new strategy renounces the development of any new nuclear weapons, overruling the initial position of his own defense secretary. Mr. Obama’s strategy is a sharp shift from those of his predecessors and seeks to revamp the nation’s nuclear posture for a new age in which rogue states and terrorist organizations are greater threats than traditional powers like Russia and China. It eliminates much of the ambiguity that has deliberately existed in American nuclear policy since the opening days of the cold war. For the first time, the United States is explicitly committing not to use nuclear weapons against nonnuclear states that are in compliance with the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, even if they attacked the United States with biological or chemical weapons or launched a crippling cyberattack. Those threats, Mr. Obama argued, could be deterred with “a series of graded options,” a combination of old and new conventional weapons. “I’m going to preserve all the tools that are necessary in order to make sure that the American people are safe and secure,” he said in the interview in the Oval Office.(from the NYT article)Dr. Pournelle's take is short; the link is still active…The point -for this thread- is that conceptions of war have changed… Or have they?One of our esteemed members (Belfrager) thinks that technology will eliminate the human costs of war, both psychological and physical… Drones and robots will vie, when vie we must, in our stead; and General Sherman's "War is Hell" comment will seem quaint.When I was young, many people I knew thought that ridding the world of nuclear weapons was a noble and responsible cause.But -just as Woodrow Wilson's League failed to obviate war- the post-WW II United Nations has failed. And our various treaties involving nuclear proliferation, testing and defensive technologies have accomplished —on their own or in their own right— next to nothing.We've simply got so used to the possibility of a nuclear apocalypse that we hardly ever think about it anymore…So: Will the human costs of "conventional" war be subsumed by mere economics and technology?I don't see it happening… (For some of the reasons hinted at, above.)Do you?