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Cyberwar: When We Do It, It's OK; If They Do It, It's War | The Nation

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Robert Dreyfuss

Bob Dreyfuss

News of America’s misadventures in foreign policy and defense.

Cyberwar: When We Do It, It's OK; If They Do It, It's War

The ultimate, perhaps, in hypocrisy? Though it’s widely been reported that the United States and Israel worked together to sabotage Iran’s nuclear program by means of a cyberattack, one using a computer worm called Stuxnet that wrecked as many as a thousand of Iran’s centrifuges, now the Pentagon says that if anyone does anything like that to us, it’s an act of war—and the United States might feel free to retaliate using military means.

Reported the New York Times yesterday:

“The Pentagon, trying to create a formal strategy to deter cyberattacks on the United States, plans to issue a new strategy soon declaring that a computer attack from a foreign nation can be considered an act of war that may result in a military response.”

 It’s a policy under development by the Obama administration for two years, as the article points out:

“In May 2009…the head of the United States Strategic Command, Gen. Kevin P. Chilton, told reporters that in the event of a cyberattack ‘the law of armed conflict will apply,’ and warned that ‘I don’t think you take anything off the table’ ” in considering a response. ‘Why would we constrain ourselves?’ he asked, according to an article about his comments that appeared in Stars and Stripes."

And if Iran had not “constrained itself” after the US-Israeli sabotage campaign, which is ongoing and which, apparently, involves the kidnapping and assassination of Iranian scientists, too? Don’t ask.

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