Archive for Gaza Incursion

Patton Updated

To Israel’s General Staff: Lessons From A Master of War

Israel’s General Staff would do well to emulate George S. Patton, the general most feared by Nazi Germany.

On the eve of battle, Patton would admonish his soldiers: “The object of war is not to die for your country. It is to make the other poor dumb bastard die for his.” This requires confronting and killing the enemy on the battlefield.

“Never let the enemy rest.” No cease fires or hudnas. Unconditional surrender should be Israel’s proclaimed war aim!

“We want the enemy to know that they are fighting the toughest fighting men in the world!” This precludes benevolence (which Arabs despise). Just as Hamas terrorists would show no mercy to you, so you should show no mercy to them. These terrorists must be killed even if this results in civilian casualties.

“Forget about army regulations … [which] are written by those who have never been in battle…Our only mission in combat is to win.” Hence general officers may sometimes have to disobey orders of the political echelon! » Continue reading “Patton Updated”

Comments off

Destroy the Enemy to Obtain One Hundred Years of Peace

Part I — Epaminondas

“Those who wish to enjoy peace must be ready for war.”

Referring to the democratic reformer Epaminondas, the warrior-philosopher whose Theban army defeated Sparta (370-369), military historian Victor Davis Hanson offers insights that Israeli generals and citizens as well as universities should take most seriously. The excerpts below are taken from Hanson’s The Soul of Battle: From Ancient Times to the Present Day, How Three Great Liberators Vanquished Tyranny (1999):

“I think it is almost axiomatic that if a general of a great democratic march is not hated, is not sacked, tried, or relieved of command by his auditors after his tenure is over, or if he has not been killed [as was Epaminondas] or wounded at the van, he has not utilized the full potential of his men, has not accomplished his strategic goals—in short, he is too representative of the very culture that produced him, too democratic to lead a democratic army …”

“… we of the academic class are sometimes reluctant to equate mastery of military command with sheer intellectual brilliance. But to lead an army of thousands into enemy territory requires mental skills far beyond that of the professor, historian, or journalist—far beyond too the accounting and managerial skill of the deskbound and peacetime officer corps.”

“From Epaminondas’s philosophical training [he was a Pythagorean], the corpus of his adages and sayings that have survived, and his singular idea to take 70,000 men into Laconia and Messinia, it is clear that, like both [William Tecumseh] Sherman and [George S.] Patton, he had a first-class mind and was adept in public speaking and knowledge of human behavior. Perhaps with the exception of Pericles and Scipio, it is hard to find any military leader in some twelve centuries of Gaeco-Roman antiquity who had the natural intelligence, philosophical training, broad knowledge, and recognition of the critical tension between military morale and national ethics as Epaminondas the Theban. In his range of political and strategic thought, he towered over his Greek contemporaries … in precisely the way Sherman did over all the generals of the Civil War, precisely as Patton dwarfed his British and American superiors. » Continue reading “Destroy the Enemy to Obtain One Hundred Years of Peace”

Comments off

Sun Tzu

Sun Tzu’s The Art of War, written about 500 B.C.E., is the oldest military treatise in the world. Even now, after twenty-five centuries, the basic principles of that treatise remain a valuable guide for the conduct of war. Indeed, Sun Tzu may be of interest to the General Staff of the Israel Defense Forces, in view of the Arab Terrorist War that erupted in September 2000. Since then more than 1,600 Jews have been murdered and many thousands more have been wounded and maimed by Arab terrorists.

Referring to the IDF’s limited response to this Arab terrorism, former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said, “self-restraint is strength”! At first glance one might suspect that Mr. Sharon had been influence by Mother Theresa. It may well be, however, that he derived that dictum from Sun Tzu’s The Art of War—or rather, from a misreading of that treatise. Sun Tzu would have an army general exhibit, at first, “the coyness of a maiden”—to draw out the enemy—but thereafter he would have him emulate the fierceness of a lion.

Of course, when the forces of the enemy exceed your own or occupy superior ground, then self-restraint is prudence. But when this situation is reversed, self-restraint is weakness. In fact, Sun Tzu goes so far as to say, “If fighting is reasonably sure to result in victory, then you must fight, even though the ruler forbids it.

In referring to various ways in which a ruler can bring misfortune upon his army and his people, Sun Tzu cautions a ruler against “attempting to govern an army in the same way as he administers a kingdom.” » Continue reading “Sun Tzu”

Comments off

To Israel’s General Staff: Lessons From A Master of War

Israel is at war. Israel’s General Staff would do well to emulate George S. Patton, the general most feared by Nazi Germany.

On the eve of battle, Patton would admonish his soldiers: “The object of war is not to die for your country. It is to make the other poor dumb bastard die for his.” This requires confronting and killing the enemy on the battlefield.

“Never let the enemy rest.” No cease-fires or hudnas. Unconditional surrender should be Israel’s proclaimed war aim!

“We want the enemy to know that they are fighting the toughest fighting men in the world!” This precludes benevolence (which Arabs despise). Just as Hezbollah warriors would show no mercy to you, so you should show no mercy to them. These warriors must be killed even if this results in civilian casualties. » Continue reading “To Israel’s General Staff: Lessons From A Master of War”

Comments off

War

Let us recall certain lessons on war by one of the greatest military scientists, General Carl von Clausewitz (1780-1831).

Clausewitz’s magnum opus, On War, is studied in military schools to this day. He defines war as “an act of violence intended to compel our opponent to fulfill our will. Violence is the means; submission of the enemy to our will the ultimate object.” For as long as the enemy remains armed, he will wait for a more favorable moment for action.

The ultimate object of war is political. To attain this object fully, the enemy must be disarmed. Disarming the enemy “becomes therefore the immediate object of hostilities. It takes the place of the final object and puts it aside as something we can eliminate from our calculations.”

Clausewitz warns: “Philanthropists may readily imagine there is a skillful method of disarming and overcoming an enemy without causing great bloodshed, and that this is the proper tendency of the Art of War. However plausible this may appear, still it is an error which must be extirpated; for in such dangerous things as war, the errors which proceed from a spirit of benevolence are the worst.”

Not that Clausewitz advocates indiscriminate slaughter. » Continue reading “War”

Comments off