Microsoft Workers Demand It Drop $450M U.S. Army Contract (reuters.com)
202 points by petethomas 13 hours ago | cached | flag | hide | past | web | favorite | 260 comments
Windows, Microsoft Office and other Software is used "for war" all the time, and not just by the US.
And I don't necessarily have a problem with that in a relatively sane jurisdiction, either. The only good reason to have a powerful military force run by a democratic government is to guard against powerful military forces run by someone else.
Just refusing to arm your own country and your allies can't be the perfect answer, either.
We can refine from there.
Did France antagonize Germany in the 1930’s? Or did Germany have something they want to do and just went and did it?
We can dream of a utopia where the military is not necessary. But that is not the reality of this world.
Similarly, criminals and non-criminals alike use public roads and internet, but only one of those groups would have need of a weapon with a ground-off serial number, for example.
So is the point the buyer, or the purpose?
While Windows might be used by the military, that doesn't mean it was built to enhance warfare, the same way if the military used Ubuntu you wouldn't expect Canonical employees to protest about it.
I find it unrefreshing to see employees warping something benign to achieve personal attention. This is a fight in search of a subject.
Who you sell to can always be an ethical consideration, even if the product isn't "unethical" in itself.
> to achieve personal attention.
What makes you think these people would want "personal attention"? Isn't the attention here mostly a risk?
I am thinking this matter is about personal attention because the complaint is absurd. It simply isn’t rational.
No group of educated people can seriously think this would have any effect...
I'd further like to emphasize that the idea that the inequality in strength between our military and various 3rd world warlords is a form of injustice is absurd and childlike and anyone who thinks this way deserves to have their opinions discounted like children.
Then there's the other counter-argument with respect to Russia and China - and it's the same argument that was used against Reagan's SDI (when a few still thought some of it might work) and any meaningful ABM system. Namely, that inducing too much asymmetry in specific areas provides incentives for the potential opponents to engage in much riskier behavior, develop asymmetrical first strike measures, etc. Less relevant now than it was 30-40 years ago, but not without any merit (recall the recent Russian announcements regarding their new missile programs).
Increasing warfare precision is always beneficial. It isn't about the belligerents in the conflict, but the civilians in the crossfire and potentials for collateral damage. If technology advances coupled with training reduce rules of engagement violations the people on the ground are the biggest winners.
Even if China does not do it, does anyone else should do it anyway to be on top of China. Do you draw a line anywhere? like should everyone research weapons forever to try to get/remain on top?
My second point is even if you go ahead and do weapons let the people speak and have a debate, telling us that having more weapons is good is dogma IMO, debating this dogma and respecting the people that don't want to create weapons
should be a given in a free society.
Although I agree with your general sentiment, there's no need for ad hominem attacks like this.
This isn't a theoretical discussion, because people are already selling combat technology based on HoloLens outside of the US.
Yes it would be better for the world if the US took a more collaborative approach with other regional powers that it disagrees with
HoloLens maybe, but the hypothetical repackaged FreedomLens could simply be based off of it.
When is the last time the US military actually "defended" its own territory/country, heck even just its own continent? How does droning people in Pakistan, and having troops stationed in Syria "help" with "defending" the US?
Even worse: This kind of logic is then used by NATO allies to justify their own partaking in US foreign military adventures. That's how the Germans "protective military" ended up "Protecting freedom at the Hindukush" .
Almost invariably, to provide the american military with hardware is to arm an offensive force.
As for improving military training and tactical hardware, yes it will most likely be used for offensive purposes. The absence of the technology wouldn't stop those offensives though; the absence would just result in less-well-trained less-well-equipped troops in the same situation. As has been pointed out elsewhere, bad training and lack of information is likely to lead to more deaths.
While I think it's wonderful employees of major tech companies are trying to drive more ethical choices, this was an odd choice for a line in the sand.
That's a bold statement to make, particularly in the context of the US pulling out of INF and JCPA (Iran deal), especially when accounting for the reality that nuclear weapons "modernization" is still steadily going on . That's not something you'd expect to see in the "post-nuclear era".
Particularly not with a US president who clearly does not understand nuclear weapons and would just love to sell and use them.
Also fear to be millitary contractor for your own country seems pathologic to me.