Everyone knows the saying “the Pen is mightier than the sword”. The famous saying has been used for centuries to describe the ultimate power of words and communication over forms of violence. However, the rapid implementation and use of technology as a “combat” method doubts whether this saying is correct in a modern technological era, and begs the question as to whether technology is in fact mightier than the sword!
This dilemma is highlighted through the recent cyberstrike conducted by the United States. According to a Report by the Washington Post, in June of this year the Cyber Command of the US Military utilised a technology cyberstrike to target a significant Iranian database in the Persian Gulf. The relevant database was alleged to have been used by the IRGC, Iran’s elite paramilitary force, to damage oil takers and shipping traffic in the Persian Gulf. According to the Pentagon, the operation was in the works for weeks after Iran’s alleged attacks on two US tankers in the Gulf of Oman earlier in June, and following an attack by Iranian forces on an unmanned U.S. Surveillance drone hours earlier, the cyber-strike was immediately given the go-ahead.
The cyberstrike crippled the Iranian forces by wiping out the critical database used by the IRGC. Whilst implemented as a proportionate mechanism, Iranian forces are still endeavouring to restore data lost through the cyberstrike, illustrating the flexible yet immense and effective power of technology in the repertoire of military actions. Therefore, the question remains – Use missile systems and perhaps instigate similar measures in retaliation, or use technology to wipe out existing sensitive data, destroy tracking systems and hinder the ability to retaliate at all. Maybe technology is mightier than the sword after all?