Saturday, January 16, 2010

Survival in Battle

In his book, Infidels: A History of the Conflict between Christendom and Islam, British historian Andrew Wheatcroft comments on the 1571 defeat at Lepanto of the Ottoman navy by a united European armada. The victory was due in part to the ease with which the Europeans adapted old techniques to new military use.

"In the Muslim ranks, by contrast, every innovation became a matter for argument even resistance. . . Guns and artillery were still necessary, but carried no mark of courage. Perhaps for this reason few of the developments and innovations in gun technology were adopted by the Islamic world."

Letter to the Toronto Star published January 16, 2010

Re Deciphering the news from the war on terror, Jan. 7:

Haroon Siddiqui complained: "But the reality is that NATO nations run from danger as far as they can and wage war from afar. Bombs are dropped by pilots from on high or from pilotless drones, and cruise missils are fired from hundreds of kilometres away. Mostly they die, not us."

Prussian war strategist Carl von Clausewitz could not have said it better.

In the film Patton, the U.S. general put it this way: "No poor bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won the war by making some other poor bastard die for his country."

That's what war is all about, one's own survival, not the enemy's. If one disapproves of such tactics, one must advocate the end of all war.

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