The Resistance Always Increases
                                  by The Scalpel
       








Any president might violate the Law of War, but what president can
violate the Law of Gravity? Universal justice is blind, and the laws of
nature are its legal code. All life, all humanity is its subject. There are no
exemptions, and no violator is pardoned. The laws of nature apply to all
human endeavors – including war. A president or a prime minister may
avoid prosecution for war crimes if they have the power to do so, but no
person and no nation is mighty enough to flaunt the laws of nature
without suffering the consequences.

Perhaps the greatest military philosopher of all time, Charles Darwin first
described the Law of Natural Selection in his scientific treatise, "The
Origin of the Species." Commonly known as "the survival of the fittest,"
the Law of Natural Selection states that those creatures best adapted to
survival in their particular environment will be the ones most likely to
pass their traits on to others. The result is that over time, any species
that survives must constantly improve its ability to resist threats to its
existence. Hence, as it pertains to the battle for survival, the Law of
Natural Selection can be restated as follows: The resistance always
increases.

I am a commander in the War on Germs. Germs prey on the weak and
give no respect at all to the well intentioned. Every day, I issue orders to
have them killed and I feel no remorse in doing so. In fact, my feelings
toward germs fairly represent those of humanity in general. Everyone
hates germs. As a result, it is a simple matter to dispassionately study,
with double blind, placebo controlled scientific tests, the best ways to
defeat germs on the field of battle. Humans gain an additional benefit
from these studies when we recognize that the same laws of nature
apply to both men and germs. In other words, the War on Germs can
help us in the War on Terror.

Now one may rightfully argue that fighting germs and fighting humans is
not the same thing. For starters, humans are generally considered to be
smarter than germs. Germs develop resistance by dumb luck. Humans
do this too, but at least occasionally, intelligence also plays a role.
Germs have a hard time communicating their knowledge to other living
germs. Humans have cell phones not to mention other, more antiquated
modes of communication. Humans employ chemical weapons against
germs, but generally avoid using such weapons of mass destruction
against other humans. So when it comes to developing resistance, it is
safe to say that humans are at least on par with germs.

Returning to the scientific studies, we find that the Law of Natural
Selection, when applied to warfare, manifests itself as various practical
rules. These rules were discovered while studying germs, but again,
they apply equally to humans since the same laws of nature govern both
groups.

1. Fighting strengthens the resistance. Scientific studies have
proven that each time we order a particular antibiotic into battle, germs
develop greater resistance to that weapon. This is because those
creatures that best resist, survive to pass on knowledge of their superior
defenses to others. Eventually, even marvelous weapons such as the
"wonder drug" penicillin become impotent in many situations. In the
same manner, each time an army attacks its enemy, the survivors pass
their knowledge of how to resist that attack on to others. The weapons
that are used for these attacks eventually become impotent in many
situations. Hence this first rule has a logical corollary:
To maximize a
weapon’s effectiveness, avoid using it.
Pre-emptive, prophylactic
antibiotics invariably lead to greater resistance. Physicians are taught
that the best way to keep antibiotics effective is to avoid using them.
The most potent antibiotics are used the least. To do otherwise only
invites resistance and unnecessarily compromises our best weapons.
The same logic easily applies to military weaponry.

2. Fighting helps enemies overcome your defenses. Germs
become more virulent the more we fight them. If we fight them enough,
even germs that were relatively harmless become deadly. The most
deadly germs of all live in hospitals where we fight and kill them
constantly. Again, we can thank the Law of Natural Selection for this
reality. Those germs that are able to overcome our defenses in battle
are the ones that survive to pass on their abilities to others. We can
expect the same thing when we fight other humans. To survive, enemy
combatants improvise explosive devices and other weapons, change
tactics, and formulate new strategies until they find a weakness in our
defenses. They are then able to breach our defenses and tell anyone
else how to do the same. We can only guess what further evolution in
weapons and tactics await us. The corollary, then, to this second rule is:
To maintain a strong defense, avoid fighting.

3. Fighting creates enemies.
The weapons that we use against
germs invariably affect bacteria that pose us no threat. Exposure to
antibiotics causes these formerly innocent bystanders to develop
resistance to our weapons and the means to overcome our defenses.
Once harmless bacteria are transformed into lethal enemies. The
unintended consequences of our fighting cause new enemies to appear
where we once had none.

To summarize, the Law of Natural Selection tells us that the best way to
maintain military superiority and to retain strong defenses is to avoid
fighting. We do this not because it might be the most moral course of
action and not because it is perhaps the choice of the majority of those
polled. We do this even if our enemy is a universally hated, inhuman,
and amoral germ. We do this, quite simply, because it is the best way to
survive.

The War on Terror provides us an excellent case study on the effects of
the Law of Natural Selection as it relates to armed conflict. US armed
forces quickly rolled over their opposition in both Afghanistan and Iraq,
but instead of disengaging, they continued the conflict as an occupying
force. As the Law of Natural Selection predicted, these protracted
hostilities have been accompanied by a steady increase in the strength
and sophistication of the resistance. Resistance forces within each of
these countries are increasingly able to withstand attacks and penetrate
US defenses. In addition, the US has created new, unforeseen enemies
in each area of operations.

The Taliban in Afghanistan have steadily regrouped to the extent that
they now move freely about the country and have virtual control over
large swaths of the Afghan countryside. They are able to forcefully take
control of provincial government offices for limited periods of time. US
forces, once virtually unopposed throughout the country, are largely
confined to Kabul and a few small military bases. Even there, they are
increasingly subject to rocket attacks, car bombs, and improvised
explosive devices. Warlords who were once staunch US allies now run
their own fiefdoms within Afghanistan’s borders – often at cross-
purposes with US efforts. The frontier provinces of neighboring ally
Pakistan have become such a Taliban stronghold that US officials talk of
the possibility of the United States invading Pakistan in an upcoming
"spring offensive."

In Iraq, US troops initially browsed the open-air markets and strolled the
campuses in relative safety. Now they have been forced, for their own
safety, to withdraw from bases of operations in Falluja and several other
cities in the "Sunni Triangle" to areas on the outskirts of these places. A
similar tactical retreat is underway in Baghdad. Everywhere in Iraq,
American soldiers are increasingly at risk on the ground, on the water,
and in the air. They are not safe in any of their compounds; not even in
the "green zone," the heart of the occupation, where rocket and mortar
rounds strike on an almost daily basis. The resistance is obtaining more
sophisticated weapons, improving the ones they already have, and
learning how to use both more effectively against the United States. US
aircraft and armored vehicles are being destroyed with increasing
frequency. The world is watching and learning as the resistance to the
US occupation perfects tactics and strategies that are increasingly able
to neutralize the United States Armed Forces. Mujahadeen from all over
the Muslim world and beyond are entering Iraq to join the resistance to
the US occupation. Al-Qaeda, essentially nonexistent in most of Iraq
prior to the US occupation, is now present throughout the country and
plays an expanding role in the resistance.

George Bush might be able to fool the American public when he says,
"We are safer now because of our ongoing efforts in the War on
Terror." In making such claims, President Bush might violate the public
trust, but he cannot violate the laws of nature. Because the enemy has
learned to adapt, US strategy, tactics, and weapons systems are all less
effective now than they were before the start of the "War on Terror."
Our enemies in Afghanistan and Iraq, on the other hand, through
practice, have been able to improve their ability to penetrate US
defenses and are teaching others how to do the same. While the world
demonstrated its allegiance and friendship to the United States on
September 11th, 2001, we now see increasing anti-American sentiment
– even in nations that are our allies. Each day we continue to be actively
engaged in hostilities in Afghanistan and Iraq the situation further
deteriorates.

As a physician, I am awed when I witness how, when we use antibiotics
inappropriately, the Law of Natural Selection may allow what starts as a
tiny infection, a few microscopic germs, to overwhelm an entire body’s
defenses and to devastate it. Strong, seemingly invulnerable, towering
physical specimens are ravaged and sometimes killed. When this
happens, physicians deny responsibility. "It is all the germs fault," we
say. "Those vile creatures!" But deep down inside, in an unspoken
place, we know that we bear some of the responsibility. In response, our
first inclination is to over-react. We want to fire antibiotics at all potential
threats, real or imagined. When we come to our senses, we realize that
if we do this we only strengthen the resistance, and increase the
likelihood of even deadlier future assaults. Instead, we use antibiotics,
not preemptively, but only in clear-cut cases of self-defense. We stop as
soon as the threat is repelled. We do this not because we sympathize
with the germs; we hate them. We do this because it is the best way to
survive.

Americans tend to have the gut feeling that the entire body of our
mighty nation could not be invaded and destroyed. Our defenses are
too strong for that to happen, we believe. The United States of America
may suffer occasional injuries and attacks, but we are more than
capable of fighting them off. Yet if we as a nation act in an unhealthy
manner, if we disregard the laws of nature, we will weaken our defenses
and become more susceptible to our enemies. Are we as a nation,
already too sick to realize that what begins as a minor illness may
develop into a fatal disease if it is not treated with care? It has
happened before. We must avoid weakening our defenses. There is no
time to waste. The resistance increases as we speak.