Imperial Command of the Raccoon General

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Thursday, May 19, 2005

Vom Kriege (On War)

What is war? For years it has been a subject approached with mixed feelings, and with different ideas and perceptions. And for years I have read on the conduct of war in the years passed, the tales of horror and heroism like that of some classic fairy tale. General Karl Von Clausewitz of Prussia in the early 1800s once wrote that war is the extension of politics by other means. He was right, because the warrior is by no means a pawn in the whole scale of the war. Be it in ancient times or in modern age, the act of aggression is usually driven by reasons of nationalism, expansionism, or ideology.

The warrior, be it Greek Hoplite, Roman Legionary, Knights, Samurai, Musketmen, GIs, Snipers, Tank Commanders, Airforce pilots or Ship captains, are by no means mere tools in a grand design drawn up by the heads of any state, the political leaders who directs the nation. Indeed, the existence of war is not solely because of the aggressive nature of humans but also because of the assurance of the gains through force of arms. In most cases, though not all, diplomacy is a process that has to be treaded lightly where as in war, it is either victory or defeat, in which the former almost assuredly guarantees the obtaining whatever motives were behind the act of war itself. But given the context, war is in fact a means of achieving something, and there are times when victory in battle was not as necessary for one to prevail in their cause, because in the end, the center and the primary object of war is the politics and not the battlefield. Fail in that arena and you might as well forget everything else, just as the North Vietnamese had achieved their victory over the United States, which the latter had won almost every battle in the war but nevertheless, lost the war.

Politics for me is a downright dirty playfield. And as much as I see the importance, I wish not indulge on it because there are two many faces, too many aspects, and too many lines between lines that we must be wary of. The play of words can be more insidious than any assassin or stealth bomber.

War is a subject of curiosity and interest for me and at many times a subject of inspiration. I do not wish to be those who are glorified at conflicts because they have never seen the horrors of it, because I acknowledge the grim truth behind every heroic deed and every remarkable triumph. But I also note the achievements in war and what had driven those accomplishments. War for me is merely another aspect of human life. A violent projection of it maybe but no more so different in essense than the other things we do in life. War happens because of a conflict of interest, much like many disagreements we have with others in life, and we will fight for our cause as they will with theirs. And in the end, the victor is those who played his cards right, who employed the right resources, the right strategy at the right areas and the right time. And for that fact, much like everyday life war is also a realm of chance and risks, in which the right conditions can be most rewarding or most suffering. In work or love, there are these elements, because in both fields, just like in armed conflict, its no simple matter of numbers, or better equipment, but a whole lot of other aspects to consider; morale, location, timing, reactions and a whole of other unseen factors.

Now consider the Roman army at Cannae, in which they outnumber Hannibal's but was beaten and had been inflicted one of the most staggering amount of losses for any European army. Consider even Alexander's army at Gaugamela, outnumbered 5 to 1 but won because he saw a chance and at the right time seized that chance. Or consider Vietnam where the world's most advanced military technology was countered by simple and often low tech means.

But what fascinates me the most of war is about how the inferior can triumph over the superior. That perhaps may not be a correct way to term it, considering the smaller army may not be the inferior ones if they were better prepared and equipped. But the point is that anyone has the potential in them for something great, to be able to achieve something, but often we can never be tested in times of peace or calm. It is when dire times come that we can see who will shine through. The finest moments of life is usually after our darkest hours. It is usually in do or die situations, or in situations where one can see the choices of life simple enough, like life and death, is when we make the decisions that matters most.

We demand peace. We champion peace. We will go great lengths to preserve peace. But I fear that in the end there will always be war. There will always be war so long as there is a conflict of interests, and so long as people think differently in their own way (freedom of thought?) there will be conflicting interest. And while I firmly state that we should not condone acts of aggression, I understand that there are values from it which we can learn and obtain from.

2 Comments:

Blogger SaNdY^dEa said...

OooOOoooo
this is how raccoon blogs yah.. :p

11:10:00 PM  
Blogger Qib said...

lol ... Sandy sandy ... *tsk tsk*

12:27:00 PM  

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