Leadership: December 11, 2001


: The war in Afghanistan was yet another step towards "voyeur war," where commanders can view a computer screen showing all the units and vehicles moving about in real time. The fear has always been that commanders, and even senior politicians, would try to micromanage troops half way around the world. This did not happen in Afghanistan, but that may have been because most of the troops on the ground were highly professional commandoes. These lads are an intimidating lot, giving even the most senior officials pause when it comes to providing unsolicited advice. But the communications and monitoring technology that makes this monitoring possible becomes cheaper, more reliable and much more common. The reconnaissance UAVs that can circle battlefields for 24 hours or more are making wars another form of televised entertainment, at least for the brass looking on from a great distance. For the troops on the spot, it's still a life or death struggle. And with all those big shots looking over your shoulder, the troops face yet another danger when facing an armed foe.