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Who Was The Greatest Military Leader Of All Time?

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Who was the Greatest Military leader of all time?  

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  1. 1. Who was the Greatest Military leader of all time?

    • Alexander the Great
      69
    • Julius Caesar
      12
    • Napoleon Bonaparte
      18
    • Ghengis Khan
      24
    • Hannibal
      3
    • Douglas MacArthur
      10
    • Erwin Rommel
      6
    • George Patton
      37
    • Belisarius
      1
    • Attila the Hun
      5


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No. Except for studying specific battles (such as Marathon), the authors I mentioned did the same as Sun Tzu. Take for example Vegetius, who stated

That seems like a strategy to me that can be applied to business, or life in general.

And im sure that they were great, but I don't see how this detracts from Sun Tzu.

And again, is it as systematic as Sun Tzu and do they outline the nature of a competitive system? No

Are you trying to tell me that Alexander conquered Persia, Scipio all of Spain and Africa, Caesar all of Gaul, etc. based purely on tactics and no strategy?

No, im saying they mostly used maneuver warfare on the tactical level not strategic. Like the Battle of Caen was tactical not strategic.

No, there is some value in him. However, his value I find miniscule compared to what the West has to offer. The greatest military men, business men, and moral men all come from the West. There is a reason for that.
How is it miniscule? You read it and you dididn' etven get it so how can you judge it to be miniscule?

I always follow the truth. The truth is in the West; in the institutions that the Greeks and Romans devised; that America re-actualized. I still don't see any value that the East has to offer. Or rather, I don't see what the "big deal" is. Our culture today is drowning itself in "Sun Tzu", "Lao Tsu", "Confucius", "Feng Shui", "Buddha", and all the other instruments of the East. Though there are a few good quotes here or there, the East has been nothing but a backwards, barbaric culture.

We have been using attrition warfare since the civil war. Look at the mass slaughter in the civil war,WW1, AND WW2. With the exception of a few leaders, we have mostly had a military based on attrition.

It doesn't sound to me like they had the ideas of " avoiding strength and striking wearkness" or not fighting for the sake of fighting. Read, 'Warfighting', Patterns of Conflict" or the 'Art of War' again, if you don't understand what that means.

Great military thinkers like Napoleon(earlier in his career) John Boyd, and Lindel Hart also were influenced by Sun Tzu. Our current Marine corps clearly sees the value in Sun Tzu, just read their original doctrine publication, Its full of Sun Tzu.

And what does this have to do with mysticism Where did you see mysticism inthe Art of War? I don't remember reading about praying to the gods so you have a better chance at winning a war.

But I did see things about how to use information, strategic positioning, how to analyse your opponent, the economics of war, how to look at your current situation and on and on.

"Military action is important to the nation—it is the ground of death and life, the path of survival and destruction, so it is imperative to examine it. "- Sun Tzu, The Art of War

It says, its important to EXAMINE it, not to pray for it.

Edited by Al Kufr
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There is little to no record of Sun Tzu's military exploits, so I have no idea how you could claim he is the best military leader of all time based solely on a work in the area of strategic doctrine.

No, im saying they mostly used maneuver warfare on the tactical level not strategic. Like the Battle of Caen was tactical not strategic.

What about Fabius? He did not seek a victory at the tactical level, but rather on the strategic level. He realized he could not meet Hannibal in a decisive battle that would be contiguous with the desired out come to Rome. He did not engage his (Hannibals) army, but rather seeked to degrade it to the point where it could no longer function.

Could you please define what you mean by, "maneuver warfare on the strategic" level? What does this entail?

Does it mean manouvering in order to gain a strategic victory?

If so then Scipios campaigns in Spain and North Africa are perfect examples.

Edited by Praxus
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We  have been using attrition warfare since the civil war. Look at the mass slaughter in the civil war,WW1, AND WW2. With the exception of a few leaders, we  have mostly had a military based on attrition.

Would you call the actions of Scipio Africanus in Spain attrition? Do you think the Greeks had the ability to fight a war of attrition against Persia? Did Alexander use attrition to conquer the east?

Or let us look at modern times. Would you call Patton a General who used attrition?

Victor Davis Hanson says that it seems to be a "proclivity of the West to...use massive amounts of firepower to shock, defeat, and destroy the enemy, ideally through annihilation rather than attrition."

It doesn't sound to me like they had the ideas of " avoiding strength and striking wearkness" or not fighting for the sake of fighting. Read, 'Warfighting', Patterns of Conflict" or the 'Art of War' again, if you don't understand what that means.
Don't make the error of equating the West with the Barbarians. If you read the history of the West, you will see "avoiding strength and striking weakness" everywhere. From Hannibal to Scipio, from Fabius to Miltiades and Themistocles, the West has known these fundamentals of warfare and used them in ways to defeat the enemy with overwhelming victory. I suggest you study the battles of Salamis and Plataea before passing such rash judgement on the West.

And what does this have to do with mysticism Where did you see mysticism inthe Art of War? I don't remember reading about praying to the gods so you have a better chance at winning a war.

I don't remember reading it either. That is why I didn't mention mysticism at all in my post.

But I did see things about how to use information, strategic positioning, how to analyse your opponent, the economics of war, how to look at your current situation and on and on.

What is your basis for claiming such ignorance on the part of the West? Or do you just believe that the total domination of the world (rightly so) by the West was because of 'luck' and an ignorance of strategy?

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Guest RationalEgoist

I started an epic poem (I'm about half done) about one such great warrior-leader: Vercingetorix of the Celtic land of Gaul, circa 50 BC.

Even with the Gaul's general lack of civilization, being a bunch of warring tribes, Vercingetorix rallied them all and used his genius to defend their land from the invading Julius Caesar, nearly defeating his army on a few ocassions. He may not have won, but he and the Gauls made him afraid, which no one else had done.

He was a lot like William Wallace, but better... a lot better. Read Caesar's "Gallic Wars" sometime.

Anyhow... I'll share the poem so far (Though I'm not happy with the firs few stanzas). I really have to get back to this soon.

-------------------------------------

Vercingetorix

By Antony Marcus Reed

©2001

In the time the Roman armies came

To take our freedom and land,

We were but many scattered tribes,

But they held Caesar’s hand.

---

Julius Caesar, a man to be feared,

This man was like no other.

His armies alone, their thunderous march,

Enough to shake our Mother.

---

Our tribes in the south fought proudly but lost,

The Romans had slaughtered their stations.

Until Vercingetorix, “King of kings”,

Brought together our Celtic nations!

---

He was also a man like no other,

Just as the “Defender of Rome”

His genius indeed was a match for he

Who invaded our land, our home.

---

Many battles were fought. Some won, some lost.

Though we gained the upper hand.

Caesar, his soldiers so hungry and tired,

Was afraid that his men would disband.

---

But the Roman sent scouts to forage for food,

Our food stores they did loot.

So Caesar’s troops found nourishment,

And morale had again taken root.

---

When Vercingetorix learned of this

He knew what must be done.

And met with all the Gallic kings

Before they had chance to run.

---

He rallied their spirits; he gathered their pride,

They cheered and beat their arms.

“To defeat this Caesar, we must all

Burn down our towns and our farms!”

---

“For Romans cannot live off the Earth as we

They’ve grown soft in spirit, and seat.

And if one more storehouse falls to him,

Then Caesar will have our defeat!”

---

We knew these words were true, and yet,

They burned, as does an ember!

Our High King’s command we carried out,

But our souls, they still remember.

---

The Bituriges begged their capital be saved,

Avaricum, beauty of Gaul.

But at this, Vercingetorix spoke up, for it was

A mistake. The fortress would fall!

---

But Vercingetorix, had not a choice in this.

The Bituriges, would not bend.

And without them we hadn’t a hope to succeed,

So Avaricum we did defend

---

Caesar was a master of siege in war,

We held out as long as we could.

Burning their war-ramps and engines, so grand,

They had made from our sacred wood.

---

Then the skies opened up with rain and wet

And the Romans ramps were stacked.

Of the thousands, eight hundred managed to flee

Before Avaricum was sacked.

---

Caesar’s army, blood-lust and rage at full

Long siege adding to their aggression,

Slaughtered women and children, young and old,

Without slightest thought or discretion.

---

Though Caesar had won Avaricum that day,

Our King had a victory that night.

For, seeing that he had been right all along,

Brought a flood of tribes willing to fight!

---

After hearing of the massacre

Many tribes under Caesar’s rule,

Turned to fight for their true King

For Rome was ever too cruel.

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After reading the little bit about Sun Tzu I have got of the net, I can come to one conclusion about his ideas about war.

Sun Tzu's idea of victory in war is very different to the western idea of victory. Sun Tzu's idea of victory is conquest because he mantains that the best victory is the one without a fight. For him victory in war sounds like the subjugation or physical defeat of the people who waged the war.

West's idea of victory in war is the destruction of the ideology which made the war possible - something for which fight and total annihilation is necessary.

If WW2 had followed Sun Tzu, Hitler would have been dethroned but Nazism would have never ended - something for which we would have paid a much greater price later on.

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West's idea of victory in war is the destruction of the ideology which made the war possible - something for which fight and total annihilation is necessary.

WW2 aside, what is the historical basis for this?

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What about Fabius? He did not seek a victory at the tactical level, but rather on the strategic level. He realized he could not meet Hannibal in a decisive battle that would be contiguous with the desired out come to Rome.  He did not engage his (Hannibals) army, but rather seeked to degrade it to the point where it could no longer function.
Yes, thats a great example of maneuver warfare. Fabius wanted to defeat Hannibal without fighting by destroying his food supplies and attacking him indirectly.

But what happend? The Roman leaders were against this approach because it wasn't "the Roman way of war". The Roman way was direct confrantation, a decisive victory. One final battle against Hannibal to end it all. Of course this led to disaster.They were in no position to win, so basiclly they were fighitng for the sake of fighting.

There seems to be this view that you only have two options when you are confronted with a challange "fight" or flight". You can either fight or run away, but these are not the only options.

Could you please define what you mean by, "maneuver warfare on the strategic" level? What does this entail?

Does it mean maneuvering in order to gain a strategic victory?

If so then Scipios campaigns in Spain and North Africa are perfect examples.

Yes, that's what I mean. And im not saying that it doesn't happen in the west, what im saying is that it doesn't happen IN GENERAL.

Edited by Al Kufr
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Would you call the actions of Scipio Africanus in Spain attrition?  Do you think the Greeks had the ability to fight a war of attrition against Persia? Did Alexander use attrition to conquer the east?

No those are all great examples of maneuver warfare . . . on the tactical level.

This slide show shows exactly what I mean.

http://www.d-n-i.net/boyd/patterns.ppt

Western commanders more directly concerned with winning battles.

Eastern commanders closer to Sun Tzu attempt to shatter enemy before the battle.

Look at slides 13 to 27 you dont have to read the whole thing unless you want to.

Or let us look at modern times.  Would you call Patton a General who used attrition?
No, he's one of the great maneuverist of WWII.

What I'm talking about is that the American way of war has focused mostly on attrition. We have many great maneuversit Generals, but our doctrine has mostly focuesd on attrition.

Im not sure if you remember "The Failure of the Homeland Defense" by John Lewis where he was talking about T.S Sherman. And how before he came along the casualties that the north and the south sufferd were huge. But Sherman would quickly end AND win battles with few casualties on both sides. . . that's maneuver.

But why were there so many casualties with other Generals? Because American Military doctrine of attrition.

VDavis Hanson says that it seems to be a "proclivity of the West to...use massive amounts of firepower to shock, defeat, and destroy the enemy, ideally through annihilation rather than attrition."

What do you mean by annihilate? And how do you see it as different from attrition?

Don't make the error of equating the West with the Barbarians. If you read the history of the West, you will see "avoiding strength and striking weakness" everywhere.  From Hannibal to Scipio, from Fabius to Miltiades and Themistocles, the West has known these fundamentals of warfare and used them in ways to defeat the enemy with overwhelming victory.  I suggest you study the battles of Salamis and Plataea before passing such rash judgement on the West. 

Yes, Alexander was a great maneuverist. But point is not that the west hasnt known about maneuver wearfare. It's that it hasn't applied it because of certain ideas it has about war.

Edited by Al Kufr
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After reading the little bit about Sun Tzu I have got of the net, I can come to one conclusion about his ideas about war.

Sun Tzu's idea of victory in war is very different to the western idea of victory. Sun Tzu's idea of victory is conquest because he mantains that the best victory is the one without a fight. For him victory in war sounds like the subjugation or physical defeat of the people who waged the war.

I don't understand what you mean here. Like Yaron Brook said in his speech called "The Morality of War". There are hundreds of evil countries on planet earth with evil dicatators that have an ideology that is the exact opposite of Americas. And im sure that if they had the power to destroy america they would, but does that mean we should we go to war with every single dictatorship on planet earth?

NO, just the ones that are a threat to us.

But WHY aren't we going to war, with let's say for example, Communist Cambodia?

They are evil right? And if they somehow had the power to topple america, do you think they would do it? I think so.

But why aren't they a threat to us? Because we are in a strategic position that they have no chance of beating. We "won" without fighting.

But if you HAVE to fight you don't just go out with guns blazing, you first develope a position where your victory is certain and then you fight.

West's idea of victory in war is the destruction of the ideology which made the war possible - something for which fight and total annihilation is necessary.

If WW2 had followed Sun Tzu, Hitler would have been dethroned but Nazism would have never ended - something for which we would have paid a much greater price later on.

Does that mean we should go out right now and topple the evil Cambodian government and replace it with with a capitalist government? No

You can destroy the Nazis and remove Nazism from power if you go to war with them. But you're doing it because they were a threat.

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But what happend? The Roman leaders were against this approach because it wasn't  "the Roman way of war".

I agree that this sentiment was certainly true during the early part of the war, that is to say: up to the defeat at Cannae. After this Fabius pretty much won over the Senate, which is why it was so hard for Scipio to gain the support he needed to bring the war to Africa.

The Roman way was direct confrantation,  a decisive victory. One final battle against Hannibal to end it all. Of course this led to disaster.They were in no position to win, so basiclly they were fighitng for the sake of fighting.
Don't underestimate the power of a decisive victory.

Yes, that's what I mean. And im not saying that it doesn't happen in the west, what im saying is that it doesn't happen IN GENERAL.

How can you possibly say that? Where is your evidence?

No those are all great examples of maneuver warfare . . . on the tactical level.
So I suppose avoiding four large field armies to take the central source of Carthaginian power in Spain (New Carthage), winning over almost all of the native peoples of Spain, all but annihilating four major Carthaginian armies, destroying all resistance by the Spaniards, bringing an entire nation under the control of Rome is, and changing the course of the war, is "maneuver warfare... on the tactical level"?

It is one of the greatest strategic victories in the history of warfare. Oh did I mention that Scipio was one of the first to use combined Army and Navy forces in operations.

It's that it hasn't applied it because of certain ideas it has about war.

So again (assuming what you say to be true), how does that make Sun Tzu a better general then Alexander or Scipio?

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No those are all great examples of maneuver warfare . . . on the tactical level.

This slide show shows exactly what I mean...

Both examples you gave me deal with tactics. One was manly (Western), and one is effeminate (Eastern). But they both deal with tactics, not "strategy" as you claim.

No, he's one of the great maneuverist of WWII.

What I'm talking about is that the American way of war has focused mostly on attrition. We have many great maneuversit Generals, but our doctrine has mostly focuesd on attrition.

Give me one single example prior to the 19th century of a policy of attrition.

What do you mean by annihilate? And how do you see it as different from attrition?
I am not Victor Davis Hanson. But annihilate means to "destroy" via impact, as opposed to attrition, which means to "wear down". During WW1 (the first major war of Attrition in the Western World), battles were fought not to 'win', but to 'wear the opponent down'.

Yes, Alexander was a great maneuverist.  But point is not that the west hasnt known  about maneuver wearfare. It's that it hasn't applied it because of certain ideas it has about war.

So you agree with all of the examples I have given, who are all the pillars of Western Military Theory, and yet say "that doesn't matter" because the West disregards the people it studies in favor of a type of warfare not common until the 1800's?

Besides being disgusted at effeminate warfare (diplomacy, compromising, trying to stop the battle before it happened, etc.), the West preferred a more manly, confrontational style (300 Spartans at Thermopylae). Is this the distinction that you are making?

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Don't underestimate the power of a decisive victory.

This may sometimes be true when state militaries fight together, but it isnt true in 4GW. Thats one of the problems with the way we are fighting the war on terror and the war in Vietnam. today. We keep trying to beat the terrorists in a

"decisive battle".

How can you possibly say that? Where is your evidence?
Well you can look at a famous talk given by Col. John R. Boyd called "Patterns of Conflict". He did a study on what factors lead to victory. posted a link to it a few posts ago, don't know if you saw it. The Mongols, The VietCong, Chinese, Arabs all were experts in what John Boyd called winning at the "moral" level of war.

So I suppose avoiding four large field armies to take the central source of Carthaginian power in Spain (New Carthage), winning over almost all of the native peoples of Spain, all but annihilating four major Carthaginian armies, destroying all resistance by the Spaniards, bringing an entire nation under the control of Rome is, and changing the course of the war, is "maneuver warfare... on the tactical level"?

It is one of the greatest strategic victories in the history of warfare. Oh did I mention that Scipio was one of the first to use combined Army and Navy forces in operations.

Oh, im sure you can find examples of maneuver at the strategic level in the west, Im not saying that it doesn't happen at all.

So again (assuming what you say to be true), how does that make Sun Tzu a better general then Alexander or Scipio?

Well that depends on how you view strategy.If you look at war as a "floating abstraction" not connected to any other events and just look at individual battles then id say that Alexander and Scipio were better.

But if you look at war holistically taking everything to account id say that Sun tzu and Scpio were better than Alexander and definitely the "treasure of their nation" as Sun Tzu called good generals.

Edited by Al Kufr
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This may sometimes be true when state militaries fight together, but it isnt true in 4GW. Thats one of the problems with the way we are fighting the war on terror and the war in Vietnam. today. We keep trying to beat the terrorists in a

"decisive battle".

When have we tried to beat the terrorists in a decisive battle?

Well you can look at a famous talk given  by Col. John R. Boyd called "Patterns of Conflict". He did a  study on what factors lead to victory.  posted a link to it a few posts ago, don't know if you saw it. The Mongols, The VietCong, Chinese, Arabs all were experts in what John Boyd called winning at the  "moral" level of war.

Oh, im sure you can find examples of maneuver at the strategic level in the west, Im not saying that it doesn't happen at all.

That has more to do with modern corrupt philosophy, then with a distinct historical western way of war. I think you are using the modern way the west fights wars as "the western way of war", while me and JRoberts are looking at the western way of war as the way the west fights when the west held the ideals which made the west what it was (it's positive philosophy).

Well that depends on how you view strategy.If you look at war as a "floating abstraction" not connected to any other events and just look at individual battles then id say that Alexander and Scipio were better.

But if you look at war holistically taking everything to account id say that Sun tzu and Scpio were better than Alexander and definitely  the "treasure of their nation" as Sun Tzu called good generals.

Why does writing a book on strategy put you up with Scipio Africanus, a man who forged the greatest empire of history through his strategic genius?

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Both examples you gave me deal with tactics.  One was manly (Western), and one is effeminate (Eastern).  But they both deal with tactics, not "strategy" as you claim.

Im not sure what you mean.

Give me one single example prior to the 19th century of a policy of attrition.

Napoleon, later in his carrer though.

I am not Victor Davis Hanson.  But annihilate means to "destroy" via impact, as opposed to attrition, which means to "wear down".  During WW1 (the first major war of Attrition in the Western World), battles were fought not to 'win', but to 'wear the opponent down'.
The Civil War was a war of attrition and I im sure you would consider that a major war.

So you agree with all of the examples I have given, who are all the pillars of Western Military Theory, and yet say "that doesn't matter" because the West disregards the people it studies in favor of a type of warfare not common until the 1800's?

No, my problem with attrition warfare is that we still use it today in America, and I think we should change that.

My problem with the west in GENERAL is its view of conflict.

Besides being disgusted at effeminate warfare (diplomacy, compromising, trying to stop the battle before it happened, etc.), the West preferred a more manly, confrontational style (300 Spartans at Thermopylae).  Is this the distinction that you are making?
I think J.Roberts exemplefies the kind of thinking in the west that encourages "direct confrantation" for its own sake when he says. That the east was concerned with "effeminate warfare" while the West "preferred a more manly, confrontational style".

This is the same reaction that the Romans had to Fabian Tactics.It wasnt the "roman way",it wasnt "manly", who cares if you can actually win the fight?

Just fight damn it!

OR

In the war in Afghanistan and Iraq, or the nukes we dropped on Japan. People say that Americans are cowards for dropping bombs on our enemies and not just fighting on the ground. But why do we drop bombs? We do it becuase we aren't fighting for the sake of fighting or to see who is more "manly"(whatever that means),we are fighting . . . TO WIN.

Also look at our reaction to guerrila fighters. We call them cowards because they wont stand up to a fight, they hit and run. But they arent cowards, they just arent stupid. Strategiclly, hitting and running is the right thing to do . . . if you want to win. But if your goal is to be "manly" then go ahead and fight and get killed against an enemy thats bigger.

Look at what we did in the American Revolution. If we had engaged the British in the regular way we would have been slaughterd and the war would have ended in two seconds.

War is a tool, like any action,you don't just use it for the sake of using it, you use it at the right moment to accomplish something. And that means sometimes, creating the right moment. When you answer the moral questions about whether to go to war or not, the next question should be, what position strategicly do you want to be in when you do go to war?

The Art of war almost revolves on one simple idea, the idea that conflict is costly.

why fight if you dont have to?Its not in your interests, that's why.

Strategy doesnt just apply to war it applies to what you do in everyday life.

Look at Ayn Rand for example, would you say that Ayn Rand was a "coward" for not speaking up for capitalism, egoism, and individual rights.... while she was in the Soviet Union? Shouldnt she have been "principled" and spoken out for capitalism nomatter what?

No, of course not. Where would we be today if she had done the "manly" and so called brave thing and tried to spread her ideas while in the USSR? She would have fought an intellectual battle and lost. She'd be dead, hows that for costly?

But what did she do? She probably didn't say it the way im about to say it but tis still the same. She probably asked herself, what position strategicly do Iwant to be in when I spread my ideas? Where do I have to go?

Answer: America, there she can say and do whatever she wants.

Besides being disgusted at effeminate warfare (diplomacy, compromising, trying to stop the battle before it happened, etc.)

Who said anything about compromising or diplomacy with your enemies?

Just because you are trying to create a strategic advantage does not mean you violate your principles.

Like Sun Tzu says, your philosophy determines your methods. Maybe a pragmatist would do those things, but would an Objectivist?

For example, a Pragmatist would probably join with the Soviet Union to beat the Nazis while an Objectivist would sit back and watch the Nazis and Soviets slaughter each other, which would buy time to to get ready to defeat whoevers left standing.

Edited by Al Kufr
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Al Kufr,

I have been working a double shift (from 5am-11pm) for awhile, and so I haven't had time to post!

I just wanted to let you know that I will respond this weekend as I am only working a regular shift :).

Best regards to you and your patience.

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No, my problem with attrition warfare is that we still use it today in America, and I think we should change that.

The Mongols did not force the assassins into submission by maneuvering, they forced them into submission by annihilating anyone who supported them.

This is the same reaction that the Romans had to Fabian Tactics.It wasnt the "roman way",it wasnt "manly", who cares if you can actually win the fight?

Just fight damn it! 

Give me an example in Roman history, where they forced a confrontation, knowing that they would accomplish nothing? Can you?

In the war in Afghanistan and Iraq, or the nukes we dropped on Japan. People say that Americans are cowards for dropping bombs on our enemies and not just fighting on the ground. But why do we drop bombs? We do it becuase we aren't fighting for the sake of fighting or to see who is more "manly"(whatever that means),we are fighting  . . . TO WIN.

Succeeding in war is a manly virtue;)

Also look at our reaction to guerrila fighters. We call them cowards because they wont stand up to a fight, they hit and run. But they arent cowards, they just arent stupid. Strategiclly, hitting and running is the right thing to do . . . if you want to win.  But if your goal is to be "manly" then go ahead and fight and get killed against an enemy thats bigger.

The Romans wouldn't have taken what we are taking in Iraq. They would have massacred every last man from Fullujah, sold the women and children into slavery, then razed the city. They would not have waged a war of attrition but rather a war of annihilation. They are not the same thing.

I would really like to know why you believe Sun Tzu is the "Greatest Military Leader of All Time"?

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The Mongols did not force the assassins into submission by maneuvering, they forced them into submission by annihilating anyone who supported them.
Yes, but what did the Mongols do BEFORE even engaging in a fight?

Give me an example in Roman history, where they forced a confrontation, knowing that they would accomplish nothing? Can you?

Im not saying that people in the west fight even though they know they wont accomplish anything, im perty sure they WANT to accomplish something.

For example, in the Battle of Cannae, did the Romans want to win? yes

did they want to accomplish something? yes

But was that engagement necessary?

Or did Fabius have a better idea?

Why were the Romans against his idea in the first place?

Ill give you a more contemporary example of this. And I think you'll understand the RIGHT answer as an Objectivist.

This is something you may hear coming from Libertarians or Anarcho capitalists.

If Objectivists are supposedly such principled defenders of capitalism and freedom then why don't we pick up arms and overthrow the government to establish a capitalist system?

Is it wrong for the government to tax (steal) your money?Yes

Do you have a right to protect your property?Yes

So whats the right thing to do?

Since we have a right to self defence isn't the proper thing to do is to take up arms and start a revolution to establish a rational government? Iisn'tthat the principled thing to do?What would this accomplish?

Nothing, why? We are in no position to beat the government in a fight.They are bigger, they have more support, basically they have more of everything.

So IF WE DID start a revolution, what would all that fighting accomplish?

NOTHING, we would be fighting for the sake of fighting, not to accomplish anything.

But are we cowards for not picking up arms for life liberty and the pursuit of happiness?No

So, whats the right thing to do?

Answer that question.

Succeeding in war is a manly virtue;)
Fighting for the sake of fighting is no virtue. But fighting for a great value is, and knowing when to fight and when not to.

But it seems that some people see fighting as an end in itself.

The Romans wouldn't have taken what we are taking in Iraq. They would have massacred every last man from Fullujah, sold the women and children into slavery, then razed the city. They would not have waged a war of attrition but rather a war of annihilation. They are not the same thing.

Yes, thats true. But how are we fighting the war in Iraq right now?

I would really like to know why you believe Sun Tzu is the "Greatest Military Leader of All Time"?
I didn't say I thought he was the greatest military leader, I said I was surprised nobody had mentioned him because of the great influence hes had.

And Robert asked me why I thuoght it was the most influential.

Al Kufr,

I have been working a double shift (from 5am-11pm) for awhile, and so I haven't had time to post!

I just wanted to let you know that I will respond this weekend as I am only working a regular shift ;).

Best regards to you and your patience.

No problem dude :D

Edited by Al Kufr
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Yes, but what did the Mongols do BEFORE even engaging in a fight?

Im not saying that people in the west fight even though  they know they wont accomplish anything, im perty sure they WANT to accomplish something.

For example, in  the Battle of Cannae, did the Romans want to win? yes

did they want to accomplish something? yes

But was that engagement necessary?

I think we can both agree Cannae was a strategic and tactical failure on the part of the Romans.

Or did Fabius have a better idea?

Why were the Romans against his idea in the first place?

His idea was only superior in so far as there were no good commanders in the Roman Army to do anything more (like Scipio later did in Spain and Africa).

Ill give you a more contemporary example of this. And I think you'll understand the RIGHT answer as an Objectivist.

This is something you may hear coming from Libertarians or Anarcho capitalists.

If Objectivists are supposedly such principled defenders of capitalism and freedom then why don't we pick up arms and overthrow the government to establish a capitalist system?

Is it wrong for the government to tax (steal) your money?Yes

Do you have a right to protect your property?Yes

So whats the right thing to do?

Since we have a right to self defence isn't the proper thing to do is to take up arms and start a revolution to establish a rational government?  Iisn'tthat the principled thing to do?What would this accomplish?

Nothing, why? We are in no position to beat the government in a fight.They are bigger, they have more support, basically they have more of everything.

So  IF WE DID start a revolution, what would all that fighting accomplish?

NOTHING, we would be fighting for the sake of fighting, not to accomplish anything.

But are we cowards for not picking up arms for life liberty and the pursuit of happiness?No

So, whats the right thing to do?

To pursue all peaceful means of changing Government until it becomes impossible to do so.

My problem here, is not that we should not engage in strategic warfare. My problem is with you claiming that East does it to a greater extent then the West. Which is why I originally brought up Scipio, Fabius, and Alexander.

Yes, thats true. But how are we fighting the war in Iraq right now?
I don't support the manner in which we are fighting the war. I am speaking of Ancient Greece and Rome, the foundations of the Western Way of War. Not the perverted disgusting way of war we have now.

I didn't say  I thought he was the greatest military leader, I said I was surprised nobody had mentioned him because of the great influence hes had.

My bad.

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His idea was only superior in so far as there were no good commanders in the Roman Army to do anything more (like Scipio later did in Spain and Africa).

Well I disagree, I think it was a good idea either way. Even if they had an incredibly good general at the time, it would have still been a good policy against Hannibal.

If you can, why not weaken your opponent as much as possible before a battle? Make victory certain.

My problem here, is not that we should not engage in strategic warfare. My problem is with you claiming that East does it to a greater extent then the West. Which is why I originally brought up Scipio, Fabius, and Alexander.
Well, I do think that fighting is more emphasized in the west than in the east when it comes to warfare. But thats not saying that the east is consistent either . . .

The first rule of strategy is that conflict is expensive and that you don’t need conflict to win.The tragedy is that most people cannot bring themselves to stop attacking others. This is why they are not successful.-Gary Gagliardi

But the west has advantages because it has the idea of the initiation of force being evil. This idea makes the west strong.

I don't support the manner in which we are fighting the war. I am speaking of Ancient Greece and Rome, the foundations of the Western Way of War.

Well, I would have supported a more "Roman" approach after 9/11 also.

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Well I disagree, I think it was a good idea either way. Even if they had an incredibly good general at the time, it would have still been a good policy against Hanniba

lIf you can, why not weaken your opponent as much as possible before a battle? Make victory certain.

Of course, but Fabius never had any plans to ever engage Hannibal, and was even against drawing him to Africa.

Well, I do think that fighting is more emphasized in the west than in the east when it comes to warfare.

Fighting is the final arbiter of war. You can maneuver all you want, but all that serves to do is to put you into a superior position from which you can fight.

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And what does this have to do with mysticism Where did you see mysticism inthe Art of War? I don't remember reading about praying to the gods so you have a better chance at winning a war.

Sun Tzu was certainly NOT a mystic.

In Chapter 13 Sun Tzu says: "And so the means by which an enlightened sovereign and a wise general act, and so are victorious over others and achieve merit superior to the multitude's --- this is foreknowledge. Foreknowledge cannot be grasped from ghosts and spirits, cannot be inferred from events, cannot be projected from calculation. It must be grasped from people's knowledge."

:worry:

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Of course, but Fabius never had any plans to ever engage Hannibal, and was even against drawing him to Africa.

That would have been wrong, the whole point of doing that is to improve your position.

Fighting is the final arbiter of war. You can maneuver all you want, but all that serves to do is to put you into a superior position from which you can fight.

That's my point.

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For the "greatest" leader, I'd have to vote for Genghis Kahn; he conquered more land than Alexander, Napoleon, and Hitler combined and founded an empire than endured for a long time.

For the most influential leader, I'd vote for Muhammad; he started the Islamic Empire.

My favorite, however, is George Washington.

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I don't wish to give the impression of hair-splitting, but I think before you can give an answer to the question, you have to define what makes a military leader "the greatest" or "great". There are several different criteria you could use.

For instance, if you were to just look at the size of the result, an argument could be made for several battles and commanders. As an example, Manstein & Guderian's plan for the Battle of France in 1940 enabled Germany to defeat utterly France and throw the UK off the continent in a few weeks, even though the Germans actually were outnumbered by the Allies.

If you looked at out thinking one's opponent and defeating him with an audacious plan, Robert E. Lee is the man. The Battle of Chancellorsville is one of MANY examples.

Defeating multiple enemies who outnumber you, by quick movement and decisive action: I don't think anything beats Stonewall Jackson's Valley Campaign of 1862.

Success in organizing an enormous campaign with unparalleled logistics requirements and competing/quarreling subordinates, branches, governments, and allies: Eisenhower and the Normandy invasion come to mind.

Again, just examples of what I'm talking about. As a Southern Civil War buff, I'm somewhat partial to General Lee, but that's more emotional than purely reasonable, since in the final analysis, what's important is winning, and in the end, he lost, although he achieved some remarkable feats during his Confederate career. I just think that being a military leader requires skill and success in several different aspects: technical ability, leadership, managerial skills, imagination and intelligence, etc, and which you think are most important will influence who you'd choose as the "greatest".

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