Back in early December, Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe warned in a Wall Street Journal op-ed and on Fox News that China is attempting to use gene editing techniques to create superhuman soldiers (or troops). Journalists and pundits treated this as a shocking announcement. But it’s actually no surprise. And anyone who’s been following my writings on this topic over the past few years certainly won’t be.
On Dec. 6, Breitbart published a post that highlighted Ratcliffe’s comments on Fox News about the Chinese attempt to create superhuman troops.
“It’s altering DNA, and it’s one of the things our intelligence shows that China is doing. … The People’s Republic of China has 2 million strong in its military, and it’s trying to make them stronger through, you know, gene editing,” Ratcliffe advised.
Despite how journalists and news junkies reacted, there is nothing surprising about what Ratcliffe wrote and said. For several years, I’ve been writing about the coming of the superhuman soldier.
My earliest writing on the subject was back in 2015, when I wrote “From the comic book to the battlefield: Get ready for the superhuman soldier” for The Rebel. I covered the issue three additional times in 2016 (including once here at The Loftus Party).
And in 2019, I wrote my most in-depth article on it to date. The article looked at advances that were bringing superhuman soldiers closer to reality. On top of this, it examined moral and theological questions that will arise once enhanced troops enter the scene.
But perhaps the most interesting pieces I’ve written about superhuman soldiers have been my short, speculative fiction stories. In 2018, I introduced the character of Sgt. First Class Weston McKinley. He uses his enhanced abilities to enter and maneuver through North Korea on a covert mission. (RELATED: The Ottoman-American Alliance: A Short Story)
McKinley returned in a 2019 short story right here at The Loftus Party. (It did not make the migration from the old site to our current one, and the Wayback Machine did not capture it. But I may re-publish it here eventually.) It is more relevant today than ever. The story is called “The Chinese Candidate,” and McKinley is on mission after “[t]he communist Chinese have attempted to rig an American presidential election.” Here is a brief excerpt from it.
One hour later and three Chinese men exited the building, walking purposefully towards a black sedan. All of them were dressed in civies. The micro drone sent text and imagery to the display in McKinley’s glasses. It had identified likely firearms concealed beneath the clothes of the lead and trail men.
Security, McKinley thought. “Verify the identity of the man in the middle,” he told it.
“Chang Yu,” the drone replied. “Facial features have been altered but they remain an 89.32% match with his biometric record. His gait is a one hundred percent biometric match.”
McKinley donned a black balaclava, stood up, and ran full speed across the roof, jumping off right before he reached the edge.
He soared through the air, his superhuman enhancement allowing him to clear the entire width of the road. He landed feet first on the sidewalk—not a twinge of pain—next to Chang and between his security team.
McKinley’s left arm flew out and punched out the first guard. He sprang backwards and punched the trail man in the chest, sending him in the air and crashing into the ground ten yards away.
Don’t expect journalists and pundits (or public officials, for that matter) to give the topic of human enhancement the proper attention it deserves. That doesn’t mean they won’t spend time on it at all. Every now and then you’ll hear about advancements in technology, but it won’t be treated with the seriousness it deserves until it’s too late.
After all, turning superhuman soldiers from fantasy into reality is a huge national security issue.
Top Image: Original artwork by Paul Hair. © 2020.