A few days back I used Curtis’ Dreaming 5th Generation War blog to call for the scientific analysis of the so-called “generations” of war:
We need to safeguard 5GW Theory against these twin evils of academic theosophy and marketing buzzwordspeak. This can be accomplished by defining “generation,” or even better its symbol “G,” as a scale. It seems to be that “G” measures the kinetic intensity of conflict, which every new G being approximately 20 times less intense than the one below it.
This holds up under a first analysis. Pre-Modern Warfare (the Zeroth Generation of Modern Warfare, “0GW,” about 0Gs) is unremittingly genocidal. If the AD 1900s had the same fatality-from-war rate as the 6000s BC, we should have seen something like two billion war deaths. We might say that form the dawn of man to the dawn of agriculture war meant from measuring around 0.1 Gs on the kinetic intensity scale to .9 Gs.
Or think of it another way: 0G Warfare focuses on ending an enemy’s ability to fight by killing their men. By the time we get to 4G Warfare almost none of the battle is in the field, but in the mind’s of men who will live regardless. This 5GW we talk of seems to be even more mental and less physical, seeking to leave the men, material, and even will of the enemy essentially unchanged. If kinetic intensity is seen as morally bad, then every new G is a moral improvement. 5GW may truly be “moral war,” compared to everything that has come before.
- Curtis waxes philosophy
- Isaac is practical
- John Robb ducks a substantive response
- RevG agrees
- Shlocky attacks science