Archive for Military Strategy

Some Reflections of Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch

1.  “It would be a piece of base self-deception for us to imagine that we could buy the friendship of the peoples and permanently assure it to ourselves by discarding the Jewish distinctiveness.”

2.  “Haman’s ancestor Amalek fell upon Israel when it had not yet received these separatist laws at Sinai.”

3.  “So long as there is night upon earth, the struggle between [Esau and Jacob] will continue, Jacob will not overcome Esau, nor Esau Jacob, even though Esau may prevent Jacob from setting his feet firmly and independently on earth. But when the morning breaks and the struggle will come to an end, this end will not lie in the abandonment and cessation of the mission of Jacob, Jacob will not be vanquished. Esau will say to Jacob, ‘Let me go, for the morning has broken, the time of conflict is over. Jacob, however says, ‘I will let you go, but not before you bless me, before you have admitted to me that I have not deserved this cursing, hatred and persecution, before you have fully acknowledged what a blessing I deserve—and blessed me.’” » Continue reading “Some Reflections of Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch”

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The Right Kind of Proportionality

Just as the goal of the Hamas Covenant is the eradication of Israel, so—

The goal of the Israel Defense Forces should be the eradication of Hamas.

Anything less than this IDF goal is disproportionate.

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“Shock and Awe”—1945

In the Prologue of Victor David Hanson, The Soul of Battle (Free Press, 1999), we read:

“…on March 9, 1945, a 400-mile trail of 334 B-29s left their Marianas bases, 3,500 newly trained airmen crammed in among the napalm. The gigantic planes each carried ten tons of the newly invented jellied gasoline incendiaries.… Planes flew over [Tokyo] in small groups of three, a minute apart…. Five-hundred-pound incendiary clusters fell every 50 feet. Within thirty minutes, a 28-mile-per-hour ground wind sent the flames roaring out of control. Temperatures approached 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit…. [Air Force head General Curtis] LeMay wished to destroy completely the material and psychological capital of the Japanese people, on the brutal, theory that once civilians had tasted what their soldiers had done to others, only then might their murderous armies crack…. People would not show up to work to fabricate artillery shells that killed Americans when there was no work to show up to. Solders who kill, rape, and torture do so less confidently when their own families are at risk at home….

“Over 80,000 Japanese died outright; 400,918 were injured; 267,171 buildings were destroyed. One million Japanese were homeless…. Unfortunately for the Japanese, the March 9 raid was the beginning, not the end, of LeMay’s incendiary campaign. He sensed that his moment—a truly deadly man in charge of a huge democratic force free of government constraint—had at last arrived, as the imperial Japanese command was stunned and helpless…. » Continue reading ““Shock and Awe”—1945″

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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”

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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”

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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”

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