They asked me to think about how war would change over the next 150 years for the eXile's anniversary issue. Weird to think about it: wars going on when you're dead. My doctor told me it's maybe 15 more years for me...I've got every cardiovascular symptom you get when you're fat and bitter and pretty much hate life. So whatever happens, I won't have to worry. I kinda like that. It'd be nice to think that all you fuckers'll just wipe each other out. Serve you all right.
More expensive bluff stuff
rusting in the rain
But you're in luck, all you thin healthy smiley bastards: I don't think it'll happen like that. It's going to be weirder, slower, and a lot less Star-Wars-ey than people think.
It's easy to get all excited about blasters, space battles, lasers and all that Luke Skywalker stuff. But my job is to give you my best guess on what's really gonna happen. And you know, I'm not even sure war will survive. War seems too good for people like you: you beach volleyball people. You've made getting healthy and thin a religion, so why would you want war? Well, one thing: it won't be the cool sci-fi war you like to think about, you saving Carrie Fisher from Jabba with your Jedi mind crap....
Spacewar -- Killer satellites, orbital lasers...won't happen. Nothing but lame NASA fundraising ideas, cooked up by corrupt lobbyists and corporations that make a living off the federal budget. Never convinced anybody this side of Newsweek. 150 years from now there'll be nobody on the moon, nobody on Mars -- just some fragile, expensive tools floating up there, not worth blasting, far too expensive to risk.
Down here, everything will go on getting smaller and smarter, like a math class full of Chinese transfers. It's easy to come up with a future war scenario based on that steady tech advance: no more manned fighters, for example. Lots of RPVs, doing everything from surveillance to ground attack. That's not really even futuristic; the Israelis have been doing it that way since they used RPVs to help destroy the Syrian AF in three days in 1982 without losing a single plane.
The damn things worked so well for the IDF that the USAF finally got dragged along. By now we can keep a Predator RPV hovering week after week, waiting for a target. When they finally persuaded the USAF to give the Predator RPVs a chance in Afghanistan, they had to admit the damn things worked even better than their advocates were promising. They're amazing: too small to spot, damned hard to shoot down, and cheap enough that we don't lose much even if it does get hit. And you know the best thing about RPVs? They don't react to torture. No pilot to go on Iraqi TV looking like Jake LaMotta after twelve rounds with Sugar Ray Robinson and start apologizing for disturbing Baghdaders' beauty sleep.
The trouble with this nice clean automated-war scenario is that nobody wants to play with us. The US can play that game, but who else can? The Israelis? They're the only real combat-tested RPV-using army. And if it came to a US vs. Israel war, let's face it: the US Congress would back Israel all the way, and the US'd have to surrender before a shot was fired.
Try plugging the hi-tech, RPV-heavy war plan to a more even-sided war: say, an all-out struggle for world domination between the US and China ten years from now. The first thing you realize is that it'll come down to production rates. You're gonna lose a lot of hardware in a hurry. Like aircraft in the early days of WW I, RPVs will go from surveillance to attack, and that will lead to interceptor models designed to destroy enemy RPVs. There'll be unmanned dogfights, and since these things are easy to make, the dogfights will be unbelievably massive, maybe hundreds of thousands of individual combats in the sky over the battlefield. It comes down to our factories vs. theirs. If you can replace it faster than they do, maybe you win. It'll all be as harmless as a nerd picnic on the school field Saturday afternoon, with the Asian kids and the pasty white kids each piloting their little remote-controlled MiG's and F-16s and arguing about who killed who, then going off for pizza.