05.24.10

Cult of Cyberwar: Cult Chieftain’s book gets lukewarm reviews

Posted in Cyberterrorism, Extremism at 12:08 pm by George Smith

Finally, there’s blood in the water. And it’s the Cult of Cyberwar’s.

DD got enough cuts in over the last few months that even those most inclined to blind endorsement of whatever some celebrity voice of authority has to say can’t overlook it.

So recent reviews of Richard Clarke’s Cyberwar tell a story of waning enthusiasm.

Sure, the standard scripts and memes of cyberwar doom are deployed, but they’re just on display for show. Everyone has written them and the overkill has squeezed all the zip fresh out. The reviewers realizes they’re getting a hot and canned delivery of something, not necessarily the truth, more likely a sales pitch.

From the Financial Times:

Poison gas clouds over Wilmington and Houston. Serial crashes on the New York subway and the Washington Metro. Aircraft plunging to the ground. The president of the United States clueless as to what to do next.

This scenario belongs not to Hollywood but to Richard Clarke, who has served four presidents, from Ronald Reagan to George W. Bush, as national security adviser. In short, his startling new book, Cyber War, argues that the sky is about to fall on our heads.

“Cyber War will strengthen Clarke’s claims as one of the founding fathers of cybersecurocracy,” it continues.

“While enjoying the verve of his writing, the question must still be asked: is he right? Because if so, he and his fellow securocrats will be the recipients of huge sums of taxpayers’ cash … Take Clarke’s warnings with a pinch of salt but do not dismiss them out of hand.”

Coming from a well-known establishment publication, it’s the equivalent of someone saying, “Run along now.”

And from the Washington Post:

Still, few seem too worked up about [cyberwar]. On a recent “Real Time With Bill Maher” episode, for instance, Clarke’s cyber-scare stories fell flat.

Even backward North Korea is exercising its cyber-muscles. Last year, on July 4, the hermit kingdom reportedly sent a virus to attack commercial and government Web sites in the United States, including those of the New York Stock Exchange and the White House, as well as sites in South Korea. Little damage seems to have been done …

Not nearly as much as one torpedo, I might add.

“It will probably take ‘an electronic Pearl Harbor’ to wake us up, Clarke says,” adds the reviewer.

Clarke ought to know, he was one of the founding fathers of ‘electronic Pearl Harbor’ scare stories more than ten years ago.

And he’s flogged it in the media big time. To a seemingly endless number of reporters willing to be nothing more than stenographers.

However, you can’t Google it anymore without running into a few dissenting voices.


The Richard Clarke publicity circus — from the archives.

More on the Cult of Cyberwar.

1 Comment

  1. Dick Destiny » Conflating WikiLeaks and Cyberwar said,

    December 15, 2010 at 1:12 pm

    […] covered it, most notably here and […]