Columbia International Affairs Online: Working Papers

CIAO DATE: 01/2010

YouTube War: Fighting in a World of Cameras in Every Cell Phone and Photoshop on Every Computer

Cori E. Dauber

November 2009

The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College


Terrorist attacks today are often media events in a second sense: information and communication technologies have developed to such a point that these groups can film, edit, and upload their own attacks within minutes of staging them, whether the Western media are present or not. In this radically new information environment, the enemy no longer depends on traditional media. This is the "YouTube War." This monograph methodically lays out the nature of this new environment in terms of its implications for a war against media-savvy insurgents, and then considers possible courses of action for the Army and the U.S. military as they seek to respond to an enemy that has proven enormously adaptive to this new environment and the new type of warfare it enables.