The development of cheap, small, and high-quality cameras has changed the nature of war. To understand the changing face of conflict, everyone - not just Americans - relied upon journalists. And journalists relied upon artists renderings until the mid-1800s; upon photographers until the 1950s; upon video cameras until recently. Now we have no need for journalists. The future war is streaming live from the very men and women who fight it.
The Iraq War was one of the first major conflicts when we did away with typical journalists. Sure, we put plenty of journalists in kevlar body armor and out in the fields, but the military also permitted soldiers to mount head cameras to capture their footage. On the other side, Islamic radicals captured footage with hand-held cameras as well. Now Youtube and Liveleak and other websites are chock full of real combat footage made by real combatants, capturing moments as trivial as a cup of tea in base to as gruesome as people dying before your eyes.
The recent Ukrainian conflict - or standoff, or whatever you want to call it - is taking it a notch higher. Now you don't have to wait for the soldiers to get to a computer to upload their footage (which is contingent upon their survival). For one of the first times, you can watch the conflict unfold live. Cameras are shooting footage from every angle and it's being streamed via satellite.
The Belbek Airbase Standoff, where a large force of unmarked Russian military held a Ukrainian army force of 300 hostage inside their own base, was broadcast live from several different witnesses. I personally watched Commander Mamchur lead the 300 in the Ukrainian anthem as they marched against the Russian military, demanding their freedom. It wasn't a day, an hour, or even ten minutes late. It was real and unfolding before my eyes. If a soldier had gotten nervous, if a bullet struck a soldier instead of flying above their heads in warning, a humanitarian crisis would have emerged in front of the world.
This is a great moment for all future wars because there is no journalist to execute to cover your war crime nor any jungle to hide in. The future war will be livestreamed before the world and you are welcome to see it.