• Attack Is a Matter of Vulnerability

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    As
    the US military surrounds Iraq, the great forum provided by LewRockwell.com
    has presented many arguments concerning an invasion of Iraq. Adding
    weight to these arguments, it is time to examine the wisdom of such
    an aggressive measure, particularly from a military standpoint.

    Proponents
    for an invasion of Iraq fail to offer much in the form of wisdom.
    Wisdom, as defined by the American Heritage Dictionary, entails
    the ability to discern or judge what is true or right, usually by
    aid of learning through the ages or the wise teachings of ancient
    sages. Granted some proponents of invasion have looked to the past
    for legitimacy, however, Gene
    Callahan
    pointed out that the historical proponents twisted
    the past for an invasion justification. Such mendacity, by invasion
    proponents, lacks wisdom as well.

    Using
    as our moral guide, Sun Tzu's The
    Art of War
    , let us examine the wisdom of past invasions
    as well as of the proposed invasion (attack) of Iraq. I believe
    the wisdom offered by Sun Tzu should be internalized in all people
    who use arms, from the "Army of One" to those exercising
    their Second Amendment rights. There are many interpretations of
    the Chinese text, and I particularly like the translation written
    by Thomas Cleary. I carry a pocket
    edition
    of the book in my backpack. The book has practical applications
    for fistfights, arguments, and military operations.

    Sun
    Tzu says:

    In
    ancient times skillful warriors first made themselves invincible,
    and then watched for vulnerability in their opponents. Invincibility
    is in oneself, vulnerability is in the opponent. Therefore skillful
    warriors are able to be invincible, but they cannot cause opponents
    to be vulnerable.

    Invincibility
    is a matter of defense, vulnerability is a matter of attack.

    Looking
    first at invincibility, we see that it is in control of the individual
    or the decision-maker. A warrior can build his faculties such that
    no opponent can successfully attack him. A great example of invincibility,
    the Swiss
    army
    , emulates Sun Tzu's code perfectly. The Swiss militia was
    so strong and invincible, that the Nazis did not dare attempt a
    maneuver on the Swiss. With every man armed and with the ability
    to hit point targets at 300 meters, the Swiss example points to
    another of Sun Tzu's great maxims, "…those who win every battle
    are not really skillful — those who render others' armies helpless
    without fighting are the best of all."

    Looking
    to the flip side, vulnerability, we are instructed that it is a
    matter of attack. If an individual chooses to attack, then the individual
    will become vulnerable. In the simple example of a fistfight on
    the playground, the aggressing kid will become vulnerable if he
    lunges to punch another in the face. He will be vulnerable to a
    defensive counterattack by the defender, particularly if that defender
    has made himself invincible. The aggressor will become vulnerable
    to the school authorities and parents enforcing a code of conduct.
    In an argument one can use ad hominem attacks or other mendacious
    tactics to intimidate an opponent into accepting a thesis. However,
    such attacks make an argument vulnerable, weakening it to a fallacy.

    In
    the sphere of military conflict, aggressors are always made vulnerable
    by their attacks. Hannibal's invasion of Rome devastated his great
    army. The aggressive Spanish Armada was annihilated by the defense
    of the English navy. Pickett's charge was vulnerable to the defensive,
    high ground position of the Union army, leading to the Confederate
    defeat at Gettysburg. In fact, General Lee's invasion into the North
    ultimately led to the fall of the Confederacy. In World War II,
    both Germany and Japan aggressively attacked vast amounts of territory.
    Eventually, Ally forces took advantage of Axis vulnerability and
    destroyed it. Of course, in both the Civil War and WWII, the US
    Federal involvement in counterattacks made it more vulnerable with
    the erosion of civil liberties and the destruction of productive
    economic capital. In our most recent example, Saddam Hussien invaded
    Kuwait to give his regime greater access to Persian Gulf ports.
    Despite the permissive stance by the US ambassador, Hussien's regime
    made itself vulnerable to US/UN counterattack. Hussien's army was
    driven from Kuwait and his country was laid to ruin by years of
    embargo and air strikes.

    From
    both a rational and empirical perspective, vulnerability is a matter
    of attack.

    Now
    how about the current invasion of Iraq? Is it wise? Well, the United
    States will most likely defeat the Iraqi army and end the Hussien
    regime. But the attack will make the US vulnerable. It will make
    the US quite vulnerable to attacks from the Arab world. Whether
    Sunni or Shi, the US will become terrorist target number one, replacing
    Israel. US military units deployed all over the planet will become
    a greater target than they already are. And most of all, the union
    of States will become more vulnerable to terrorism with its collectivist
    defense system spread thin all over the planet and its civil liberties
    (the Bill of Rights are a hallmark of self-defense) in shambles.

    Sun
    Tzu says that attacks are for times of surplus or fullness. It’s
    hard to justify that this country is at a time of surplus. Right
    now the future of the US is mortgaged to a cross of paper. Mired
    in debt, the economic health of Americans from the consumer to the
    government is on life support. Would it be wise to attack from such
    a point of emptiness? According to Sun Tzu, no:

    When
    a country is impoverished by military operations, it is because
    of transporting supplies to a distant place. Transport supplies
    to a distant place, and the populace will be impoverished.

    Unlike
    the first Gulf War, this one will not involve financial assistance
    from Kuwaiti Emirs, Saudi Princes, or other countries involved in
    a coalition against Iraq. This time a majority of the war will be
    financed through monetary inflation and the issuance of Treasury
    debt. Also unlike the first Gulf War, this war may need to involve
    a siege of Baghdad to put Saddam in checkmate. It would be hard
    for the politicians to call for one of their pretend air war victories
    like in the Balkans or Afghanistan. Such as siege would be at a
    devastating cost, due to the drain sieges have on supplies, and
    most of all lives. As supplies are drained in the siege, costs will
    be compounded with the mobilization of supplies to the distant place.
    All this, of course, will be done at the expense of the US taxpayer
    and holders of US dollars, impoverished by one of the biggest logistics
    efforts in the history of warfare. Let's also not forget that we
    are sending supplies, equipment, and personnel to other distant
    places like, the Balkans, Western Europe, various points in Africa,
    Indonesia, Okinawa, and Korea. Such a drain on the US economy can
    not be sustained forever. Eventually, the market will master a vulnerable
    US government.

    This
    will be the first big-time US war, primarily financed by the US,
    since Vietnam. It was then, in 1973, when the last remnants of any
    monetary discipline, under the Bretton Woods Agreement, were abolished
    by the Nixon administration. This time with absolutely no monetary
    discipline (or
    military discipline for that matter
    ), the US will make its economy
    more vulnerable than it ever has in its history. As anyone who studies
    the sound principles of money understands, the value of paper money
    is based on trust. It will be hard for the world to trust the currency
    of a nation that is no longer free, no longer able to abide by its
    laws, and seen by the world as an aggressor to the sovereignty of
    others.

    So
    attack! But don't forget it will make you quite vulnerable and ultimately
    impoverished.

    January
    30, 2003

    Casey
    Khan [send him mail]
    works as a risk analyst in Phoenix, AZ, where he lives with his
    wife.


         

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