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 enemy's ability to resist our weapons. 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. Preemptive, 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. It is easy to see how the same logic applies to military weaponry.
2. Fighting helps enemies overcome one's own 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 survive to pass their abilities on 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,
3. Fighting creates enemies. The weapons that we use against germs invariably affect germs 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 germs are transformed into lethal enemies and may pass that
ability on to other germs. The unintended consequences of our fighting cause new enemies to appear where we once
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 (A.K.A. Overseas contingency Operations)
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 and have set up shadow governments throughout the country. US forces, once virtually
unopposed throughout the country, are attacked even in the capitol, Kabul, and some military bases have even been
abandoned. Occupation forces 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 a Taliban stronghold.
In Iraq, US troops initially browsed the open-air markets and strolled the campuses in relative safety. Now they are
disengaging, leaving Iraq in the control of a government often hostile to the United States and often aligned with the
interests of neighboring Iran, a perceived enemy. Occupation forces have been forced, for their own safety, to
withdraw from bases of operations in many large cities, and to remain in remote areas separated from population
centers. The occupation's command center, the Green Zone in Baghdad, exists behind barricades and is frequently
attacked. Everywhere in Iraq, occupation soldiers are at risk. 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
armored vehicles are repeatedly being destroyed. The world is watching and learning as the resistance to the US
occupation perfects tactics and strategies both military and political that are increasingly able to neutralize the United
States' occupation. Mujahadeen from all over the Muslim world and beyond have entered and 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 or Barak Obama might be able to fool the American public when they say, "We are safer now because
of our ongoing efforts in the War on Terror." In making such claims, the President 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." On the other hand, our
enemies in Afghanistan and Iraq, through practice, have been able to improve their ability to penetrate US defenses
and are teaching others around the world 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 supposed to be 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.
We believe that our defenses are too strong for that to happen. We believe that 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? It has happened before. We must avoid weakening our defenses. There is no time to waste. The
resistance increases as we speak.