Imperial Command of the Raccoon General

Thoughts and Memoirs of a Ring-tailed and Masked Dominator of the World

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Friday, July 22, 2005

Strength, Honor and Strategy

Hannibal. Arguably one of the greatest generals of antiquity. His greatness places him next to names like Alexander and Julius Caesar. Rome and Carthage in that time was the great power of the region but Rome had decisively been proven the superior of the two for winning the First Punic War against Carthage. To avenge that, and also to avoid Roman naval supremacy, Hannibal marched his army from Spain through lower Gaul and the Alps into the Italian Peninsula; infantry, cavalry, war elephants and all. He hoped to defeat Rome into submission and every army that Rome pitted against him was utterly beaten.

I myself am a fan of strategy and great generals, but in the matter, I fancied the Romans more than Hannibal. So what is there to admire about the side that was beaten time and time again by its enemy. Hannibal trounced every army Rome put forth despite his own steadily shrinking army. Ah, but you see, there lies the strength of the Romans. I'm not talking about number of men. I'm talking about the sheer determination of Rome against Hannibal. Faced with an enemy they cannot beat toe to toe, they decided they would outlast their foe. So while Hannibal remained in Italy, everywhere he turned, there were Roman legions. They harassed him and steadily reduced his strength. Eventually Rome sent an expedition to level Carthage, Hannibal was called back to defend his home and was thus utterly beaten. So you see, the admirable aspect of Rome was that they refused to give up and was smart enough to know how to counter an enemy they cannot beat openly.

Similiarly, I faced recently in a game, opponents that I couldn't beat directly. The number of forces were equal, but they had the better skills and experience. I could say that where ever I chose to stand and fight, I was trounced. But through the boasting and bragging, I kept my silence and tried again. I learnt that I cannot beat my opponent directly, so I avoided him using scare tactics to enable myself an opportunity of escape. At the same time I knew that since I can't fight 'the beast' claw to claw, I have to go straight for the head, or in other words, let go of all other glory save the glory of accomplishing the one main objective. So I worked towards that objective, pushing towards the enemy base, trying to rally my team mates accordingly, but backing off whenever I faced the enemy himself.

Needless to say, like Rome, I slowly sapped the enemy of it's strength and finally, depsite all their superior skills and knowledge and experience, OUR army stampeded into their base and OUR army crushed their stronghold, and so victory was OURS and despite all their kills and strength, I know that we won, and they lost.

The lesson? Simple, we fancy all this mumbo jumbo about honor in battle and all. But the fact is YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND the concept of honor in battle because truthfully, is standing up toe to toe against an enemy you can't win with no good reasons honorable? No, it's stupidity. It is only honorable only if it accomplishes something for the greater good; like stalling the enemy so that the rest of the forces regroup to win the battle, or if forfeiting your life was the only way to halt the enemy from advancing. Then that is honor. But to die by the enemy just simply because they say its cowardly to run away, or without any merit to that action for the whole, then that is stupidity. Now, I could have in the game stood up to fight and die when fighting the enemy, but what would that accomplish? If I do that, it is THEIR army that will stampede through our base and ultimately, not only we would suffer the humiliation of being killed time and time again, but also for failing in the ultimate objective. and know that in the bushido code, such failure meant ritual suicide, and why? That's because it gives the loser a chance to avoid the shame in that defeat. So yes, such a loss would be shameful, and not honorable.

So why stand ground just to die?

Understand something before commiting to it, and above all, ask questions of morality BEFORE the actual commitment to the task.


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