Thursday, August 19, 2010


By his own account, the Pentagon brass who gave retired Brig. Gen. Victor Corpus’ book “America’s Dim Mak” a once-over were unimpressed.

Corpus said he warned them that if war breaks out with China, the US would be brought to its knees by “asymmetrical warfare” that ranged from crippling America’s computer network and energy grids to swarming missile attacks against American aircraft carriers and ultimately choking Pacific sea lanes.

“They thought I was crazy, akala nila maluwag ang turnilyo,” he says with a laugh.

Corpus was named special envoy for veterans affairs in Washington DC earlier this year. An Arroyo appointee, he didn’t wait to be recalled and relinquished the post shortly after the May national elections. The post remains vacant.

He published “America’s Dim Mak Points: Unrestricted Warfare in the 21st Century” in 2009.

Some US military officials were obviously curious about the book, and reportedly sought him out during his whirlwind posting at the Philippine Embassy.

Dim Mak is a Chinese martial art that translates, according to Corpus, to “meridian press”. The object is to deliver a blow to the “chi” or life force of a stronger, bigger opponent.

With the focus of US foreign policy in the South China Sea now apparently directed at containing what it perceives as a growing threat from China, it is remarkable how much of Corpus’ “crazy” ideas echo in the latest Pentagon assessment.

“If ever a major war erupts between superpower America and weaker nations like China, Russia or Iran, we can expect the weaker ones to resort to unrestricted warfare,” he wrote in “America’s Dim Mak Points”.

“It will not be confined to a mere shooting war. It will involve combat on land, sea, air, in outer space, cyberspace and even into the microbial realm.”

“The first rule of unrestricted warfare is that there are no rules. Rules are laid down by the strong to dominate the weak. To level the playing field, the weak has to break the rules, avoid the enemy’s strength and hit the strong side at its most vulnerable points,” he explained, quoting Qiao Liang, a colonel in the People’s Liberation Army (PLA).

He said the US should expect attacks on its “Dim Mak Points” – that he identified as America’s reliance on imported oil, the vulnerability of its information technology network, and dependence on satellites to dictate the battlefield, among others.

The Department of Defense released last Monday its annual assessment of Chinese military capabilities and strategy to the US Congress.

The Pentagon report stated, “In 2009, numerous computer systems around the world, including those owned by the US government, continued to be the target of intrusions that appear to have originated within the PRC (People’s Republic of China)”.

Corpus characterized them as “rehearsals”.

“The PLA has established information warfare units to develop viruses to attack enemy computer systems and networks. These units include elements of the militia, creating a linkage between PLA network operators and China’s civilian information technology.”

“The PLA is attempting the concurrent pursuit of mechanization (application of late 20th-century industrial technology to military operations) and informatization (application of information technology to military operations).”

“PLA theorists have developed a framework for doctrine-driven reform with the long-term goal of building a force capable of fighting and winning local wars under conditions of informatization.”

“PRC military writings highlight the seizure of electromagnetic dominance in the early phases of a campaign as among the foremost tasks to ensure battlefield success.”

Corpus believes China is building powerful rockets that can knock out satellites from the ground and sea.

The Pentagon report again, “PLA strategists see space as central to enabling modern informatized warfare…China is developing the ability to attack an adversary’s space assets, accelerating the militarization of space.”

“In January 2007, China successfully tested a direct-ascent ASAT (anti-satellite) weapon against a PRC weather satellite, demonstrating its ability to attack satellites in low-Earth orbit…China is developing other technologies and concepts for kinetic and directed energy (e.g., lasers, high-powered microwave and particle beam) weapons for ASAT missions.”

“PLA writings emphasize the necessity of destroying, damaging and interfering with the enemy’s reconnaissance and communications satellites, suggesting that such systems could be among initial targets of attack to blind and deafen the enemy.”

“China’s investment in advanced electronic warfare systems, counter-space weapons and computer network operations…reflect the emphasis and priority China’s leaders place on building capability for information advantage.”

Corpus, who understood and practiced Mao Zedong’s military tenets, culled from timeless Chinese philosophy, is convinced he has gotten a glimpse of the 21st century battlefield.

While he was here, he regaled friends with his marksmanship at Northern Virginia firing ranges. His aim was always true but the soft-spoken warrior-thinker never did refute how some of his American audience saw him. He realizes only time will validate or repudiate his vision.

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