Network is the engine of liberation

The Frisco paper ran an interesting story on the role of networking in the execution of Operation Iraqi Freedom:

In network centric warfare, U.S. forces are held together by a global communications grid. Ships, aircraft and land vehicles are all plugged in and can exchange information with each other — just like PCs and servers on the Internet.

One advantage of this approach is that forces can disperse, so they are less likely to be spotted and can maneuver with more agility. Because everyone on the net can share battle data with everyone else, each unit has a better picture of the battlefield.

Up to now the United States has had a clear edge in these kinds of military operations. Indeed, the British army may be the only other military force in the world that can operate with U.S. forces.

That last point underscores why the support of nations other than Britain is tactically irrelevant, even if it is politically desirable.

On the question of unilateralism, there’s an interesting exchange of e-mails between Andrew Sullivan and Tom Friedman on Sully’s blog.