Saturday, June 06, 2009

The Underground, Underwater

From the Washington Post this morning:

When anti-narcotics agents first heard that drug cartels were building an armada of submarines to transport cocaine, they thought it was a joke. Now U.S. law enforcement officials say that more than a third of the cocaine smuggled into the United States from Colombia travels in submersibles.

An experimental oddity just two years ago, these strange semi-submarines are the cutting edge of drug trafficking today. They ferry hundreds of tons of cocaine for powerful Mexican cartels that are taking over the Pacific Ocean route for most northbound shipments, according to the Colombian navy.

The sub-builders are even trying to develop a remote-controlled model, officials say.

"That means no crew. That means just cocaine, or whatever, inside the boat," said Michael Braun, a former chief of operations at the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration..."This is definitely the next generation of smuggling conveyance," said Joseph Ruddy, an assistant U.S. attorney in Tampa who prosecutes narco-mariners.

I am in the middle of reading a book called "Wired for War" which looks at the evolution of armed and autonomous robots in military operations. The author, mostly, looks at it from the perspective of established armed forces, but one can hardly ignore the more criminal possibilities. I know that martyrdom is portrayed as a virtue in reporting of terrorist operations, but that has to be a tough recruiting pitch. The assault on Islam by neo-cons was a failure, but I wonder if --when personal sacrifice is no longer a barrier to entry-- our current policy of peace through understanding will turn out to be yet another example of “fighting the last war.”

No comments: