Tuesday, June 27, 2017

On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century

On Tyranny:  Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century by Timothy Snyder
NY:  Tim Duggan Books, 2017
ISBN 978-0-8041-9011-4

(12)  Both fascism and communism were responses to globalization:  to the real and perceived inequalities it created, and the apparent helplessness of the democracies.
NB:  as was American Revolution

(29)  Any election can be the last, or at least the last in the lifetime of the person casting the vote.

(30-31)  Much needs to be done to fix the gerrymandered system so that each citizen has one equal vote, and so that each vote can be simply counted by a fellow citizen.  We need paper ballots, because they cannot be tampered with remotely and can always be recounted.  This sort of work can be done at the local and state levels.  We can be sure that the elections of 2018, assuming they take place, will be a test of American traditions.  So there is much to do in the meantime.

(43)  Most governments, most of the time, seek to monopolize violence.  If only the government can legitimately use force, and this use is constrained by law, then the forms of politics that we take for granted become possible.

(44-45)  Because the American federal government uses mercenaries in warfare and American state governments pay corporations to run prisons, the uses of violence in the United States is already highly privatized.

(63)  Some of the political and historical texts that inform the arguments made here are “Politics and the English Language” by George Orwell (1946);  The Language of the Third Reich by Victor Klemperer (1947);  The Origins of Totalitarianism by Hannah Arendt (1951);  The Rebel by Albert Camus (1951);  The Captive Mind by Czeslaw Milosz (1953);  “The Power of the Powerless” by Vaclav Havel (1978);  “How to be a Conservative-Liberal-Socialist” by Leszek Kolalowski (1978);  The Use of Adversity by Timothy Garton Ash (1989);  The Burden of Responsibility by Tony Judt (1998);  Ordinary Men by Christopher Browning (1992); and Nothing is True and Everything Is Possible by Peter Pomerantsev (2014).

(66) As observers of totalitarianism such as Victor Klemperer noticed, truth dies in four modes, all of which we have just witnessed.

The first mode is the open hostility to verifiable reality, which takes the form of presenting inventions and lies as if they were facts.

(66-67)  The second mode is shamanistic incantation.  As Klemperer noted, the fascist style depends upon “endless repetition,” designed to make the fictional plausible and the criminal desirable.

(67)  The next mode is magical thinking, or the open embrace of contradiction.

(68)  The final mode is misplaced faith.  It involves the sort of self-deifying claims the president made when he said that “I alone can solve it” or “I am your voice.”  When faith descends from heaven to earth in this way, no room remains for the small truths of our individual discernment and experience.
(71)  Post-truth is pre-fascism.

(76) Before you deride the “mainstream media,” note that it is no longer the mainstream.  It is derision that is mainstream and easy, and actual journalism that is edgy and difficult.

(82)  In the most dangerous of times, those who escape and survive generally know people whom they can trust.  Having old friends is the politics of last resort.  And making new ones is the first step toward change.

(84)  Protest can be organized through social media, but nothing is real that does not end on the streets.
NB:  The core of Gandhian nonviolence was swadeshi, local production, protest does not have to end on the streets but continue into the home and neighborhood to become a nonviolent economics, a Gandhian economics

(86)  The choice to be in public depends on the ability to maintain a private sphere of life.  We are free only when it is we ourselves who draw the line between when we are seen and when we are not seen.

(88)  What the great political thinker Hannah Arendt meant by totalitarianism was not an all-powerful state, but the erasure of the difference between private and public life.  We are free only insofar as we exercise control over what people know about us, and in what circumstances they come to know it.
NB:  Facebook, Apple, Google to Cambridge Analytics - the online world as a totalitarian state

(100)  The most intelligent of the Nazis, the legal theorist Carl Schmitt, explained in clear language the essence of fascist governance.  The way to destory all rules, he explained, was to focus on the idea of the _exception_.  A Nazi leader outmaneuvers his opponents by manufacturing a general conviction that the present moment is exceptional, and then transforming that state of exception into a permanent emergency.  Citizens then trade real freedom for fake safety.
NB:  Living in crisis is a sign of an addictive system

(103)  Modern tyranny is terror management.

(110)  For tyrants, the lesson of the Reichstag fire is that one moment of shock enables an eternity of submission.  For us, the lesson is that our natural fear and grief must not enable the destruction or our institutions.  Courage does not mean not fearing, or not grieving.  It does mean recognizing and resisting terror management right away, from the moment of the attack, precisely when it seems most difficult to do so.

(113)  The point is that patriotism involves serving _your own country_.

(114)  A patriot says that it could happen here, but that we will stop it.

(115)  If none of us is prepared to die for freedom, then all of us will die under tyranny.

(123)  When exactly was the “again” in the president’s slogan “Make America great again’?  Hint:  it is the same “again” that we find in “Never again.”

…The habit of dwelling on victimhood dulls the impulse of self-correction.
NB:  Apologies without behavioral change, redemption demanded only to repeat the sin, permanent adolescence

(124)  Since the crisis is permanent, the sense of emergency is always present;  planning for the future seems impossible or even disloyal.
NB:  addiction

(124-125)  The path of least resistance leads directly from inevitability to eternity.  If you once believed that everything always turns out well in the end, you can be persuaded that nothing turns out well in the end.  If you once did nothing because you thought progress was inevitable, then you can continue to do nothing because you think time moves in repeating cycles.

(125)  History permits us to be responsible:  not for everything but for something.  The Polish poet Czeslaw Milosz thought that such a notion of responsibility worked against loneliness and indifference.  History gives us the company of those who have done and suffered more than we have.

Timothy Snyder talks at Harvard

Amazon UK was hacked on his book, with a Russian slogan "Make the world great again"
3 groups got Trmp right:  Eastern Europeans, students of propaganda, anti-totalitarians
"In politics, being deceived is no excuse." - his adviser, survivor of Holocaust and Red internment
Founding Fathers were the opposite of American exceptionalists
Thinkers and the ideas of the 1930s are being cited more and more by those who think that it wasn't a bad decade
Totalitarianism is about the elimination of the private life and its overtaking by the public life - hacked private emails
If we can't handle inequality, we can't offer a real political alternative to Trmp
"Democracy is aspirational in this country"
"Trmp is a walking offering of fragile masculinity"
The younger generation is more authoritarian than their elders, in the USA and the world.
"The polarization is not about views but more about just having to talk to another person."

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

I Go By Sea, I Go By Land

 Found this hardcover on the street. PL Travers writes about accompanying the children of British friends to the USA at the beginning of WWII.  

Sent it on to some young people of my acquaintance.

I Go by Sea, I Go By Land by PL Travers
NY: WW Norton, 1941

Foreward: After childhood our lives are no longer our very own.

(72) We are always cashing cheques on the future, never living in our Now.

(120) After lunch we felt we had eaten too much which is what Sunday does to you everywhere.

(128) You had the feeling that she was living her own life and not a bit interested in anybody else’s. And that is a comforting thing.

(131) Wummen and vixens, they be two of a kind, dancing along with their secrets.

(156) The funny thing about a Merry-go-round is that the faster it moves the stiller it seems to become.

(166) The right time, she said, is the time in your heart.

(230) Then she turned to me and said, “We must take everything that comes to us, Sabrina. Good or bad. Refuse nothing. It’s the only way to live. You’ll never be given more than you can take. And if you take it proudly it will not break you."

Monday, May 15, 2017

Robert Heinlein on Ecology

Farmer in the Sky by Robert Heinlein
NY:  Dell Publishing, 1950

(120-121)  Ecology is the most involved subject I ever tackled.  I told George so and he said possibly politics was worse - and on second thought maybe politics was just one aspect of ecology.  The dictionary says ecology is “the science of the interrelations of living organisms and their environment.”  That doesn’t get you much does it?  It’s like defining a hurricane as a movement of air.

The trouble with ecology is that you never know where to start because everything affects everything else.  An unseasonal freeze in Texas can affect the price of breakfast in Alaska and that can affect the salmon catch and that can affect something else.  Or take the old history book case:  the English colonies took England’s young bachelors and that meant old maids at home and old maids keep cats and the cats catch field mice and the field mice destroy the bumble bee nests and bumble bees are necessary to clover and cattle eat clover and cattle furnish the roast beef of old England to feed the soldiers who protect the colonies that the bachelors emigrated to, which caused the old maids.

Not very scientific, is it?  I mean you have too many variables and you can’t put figures to them.  Gerge says that if you can’t take a measurment and write it down in figures you don’t know enough about a thing to call what you are doing with it “science” and, as for him he’ll stick to straight engineering, thank you.  But there were some clear cut things about applied ecology on Ganymede which you could get your teeth into.  Insects, for instance - on Ganymede, under no circumstances do you step on an insect.  There were no insects on Ganymede when men first landed there.  Any insects there now are there because the bionomics board planned it that way and the chief ecologist okayed the invasion.  He wants that insect to stay right where it is, doing whatever it is that insects do;  he wants it to wax and grow fat and raise lots of little insects. 

Of course a Scout doesn’t go out of his way to step on anything but black widow spiders and the like, anyhow - but it really brings it up to the top of your mind to know that stepping on an insect carries with it a stiff fine if you are caught, as well as a very pointed lecture telling you that the colony can get along very nicely without you but the insects are necessary.

Or take earthworms.  I know they are worth their weight in uranium because I was buying them before I was through.  A farmer can’t get along without earthworms.

Introducing insects to a planet isn’t as easy as it sounds.  Noah had less trouble with his animals, two by two, because when the waters went away he still had a planet that was suited to his load.  Ganymede isn’t Earth.  Take bees - we brought bees in the _Mayflower_ but we didn’t turn them loose;  they were all in the shed called “Oahu” and likely to stay there for a smart spell.  Bees need clover, or a reasonable facsimile.  Clover would grow on Ganymede but out real use for clover was to fix nitrogen in the soil and thereby refresh a worn out field.  We weren’t planting clover yet because there wasn’t any nitrogen in the air to fix - or not much.

But I am ahead of my story.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Notes from Society of the Spectacle

Society of the Spectacle by Guy Debord
Detroit:  Black and Red, 1983

#1  In societies where modern conditions of production prevail, all of life presents itself as an immense accumulation of _spectacles_.  Everything that was directly lived has moved away into a representation.

#2  The specialization of images of the world is completed in the world of the autonomous image, where the liar has lied to himself.

#3  As a part of society it [spectacle] is specifically the sector which concentrates all gazing and all consciousness.  Due to the very fact that this sector is _separate_, it is the common ground of the deceived gaze and of false consciousness, and the unification it achieves is nothing but an official language of generalized separation.

#4  The spectacle is not a collection of images, but a social relation among people, mediated by images.

#5  It [spectacle] is a world vision which has become objectified.

#6  The spectacle, grasped in its totality, is both the result and the project of the existing mode of production.  It is not a supplement to the real world, an additional  decoration.  It is the heart of the unrealism of the real society.  In all its specific forms, as information or propaganda, as advertisement or direct entertainment consumption, the spectacle is the present model of socially dominant life.

#8  One cannot abstractly contrast the spectacle to actual social activity:  such a division is itself divided…  Every notion fixed this way has no other basis than its passage into the opposite:  reality rises up within the spectacle, and the spectacle is real.  This reciprocal alientation is the essence and the support of the existing society.

#9  In a world which really is topsy-turvy, the true is a moment of the false.

#12  It [spectacle] says nothing more than “that which appears is good, that which is good appears.”  The attitude which it demands in principle is passive acceptance which in fact it already obtained by its manner of appearing without reply, by its monopoly of appearance.

#14  In the spectacle, which is the image of the ruling economy, the goal is nothing, development everything.  The spectacle aims at nothing other than itself.

#15  … the spectacle is the main production of present-day society

#21  To the extent that necessity is socially dreamed, the dream becomes necessary.  The spectacle is the nightmare of imprisoned modern society which ultimately expresses nothing more than its desire to sleep.  The spectacle is the guardian of sleep.

#25  Separation is the alpha and omega of the spectacle.

#28  The economic system founded on isolation is a circular production of isolation.  The technology is based on isolation, and the technical process isolates in turn.  From the automobile to television, all the goods selected by the spectacular system are also its weapons for a constant reinforcement of the conditions of isolation of “lonely crowds.”  The spectacle constantly rediscovers its own assumptions more concretely.

#34  The spectacle is capital to such a degree of accumulation that it becomes an image.

#37  The world at once present and absent which the spectacle makes visible is the world of the commodity dominating all that is lived.  The world of the commodity is thus shown for what it is, because its movement is identical to the estrangement of men among themselves and in relation to their global product.

#38  The loss of quality so evident at all levels of spectacular language, from the objects it praises to the behavior it regulates, merely translates the fundamental traits of the real production which brushes reality aside:  the commodity-form is through and through equal to itself, the category of the quantitative.  The quantitative is what the commodity-form develops, and it can develop only within the quantitative.

#40  Economic growth frees societies from the natural pressure which required their direct struggle for survival, but at that point it is from their liberator that they are not liberated.  The independence of the commodity is extended to the entire economy over which it rules.  The economy transforms the world, but transforms it only into a world of economy.  The pseudo-nature within which human labor is alienated demands that it be served ad infinitum, and this service, being judged and absolved only by itself, in fact acquires the totality of socially permissible efforts and projects as its servants.  The abundance of commodities, namely, of commodity relations, can be nothing more than increased survival.

#41  With the industrial revolution, the division of labor in manufactures, and mass production for the world market, the commodity appears in fact as a power which comes to occupy social life.  It is then that political economy takes shape, as the dominant science and the science of domination.

#42  The spectacle is the moment when the commodity has attained the total occupation of social life.  Not only is the relation to the commodity visible but it is all one sees:  the world one sees is its world.

#44  The spectacle is a permanent opium war which aims to make people identify goods with commodities and satisfaction with survival that increases according to its own laws.  But consumable survival is something which must always increase, this is because it continues to _contain privation_.  If there is nothing beyond increasing survival, if there is no point where it might stop growing, this is not because it is beyond privation, but because it is enriched privation.
NB:  addiction model 

#45  Automation, the most advanced sector of modern industry as well as the model which perfectly sums up its practice, drives the commodity world towrad the following contradiction:  the technical equipment which objectively eliminates labor must at the same time preserve _labor as a commodity_ and as the only source of the commodity.  If the social labor (time) engaged by the society is not to diminish because of automation (or any less extreme form of icnreasing the productivity of labor), then new jobs have to be created.   Services, the tertiary sector, swell the ranks of the army of distribution and are a eulogy to the current commodities;  the additional forces which are mobilized just happen to be suitable for the organization of redundant labor required by the artiifical needs for such commodities.

#49  The spectacle is the other side of money:  it is the general abstract equivalent of all commodities.  Money dominated society as the representation of general equivalence, namely, of the exchangeability of different goods whose uses could not be compared.  The spectacle is the developed modern complement of money where the totality of the commodity world appears as a whole, as a general equivalence for what the entire society can be and can do.  The spectacle is the money which one only _looks at_, because in the spectacle the totality of use is already exchanged for the totality of abstract representation.  The spectacle is not only the servant of _pseudo-use_. it is already in itself the pseudo-use of life.

#51  When economic necessity is replaced by the necessity for boundless economic development, the satisfaction of primary human needs is replaced by an uninterrupted fabrication of pseudo-needs which are reduced to the single pseudo-need of maintaining  the reign of the autonomous economy.

#59  Under the shimmering diversions of the spectacle, _banalization_ dominates modern society the world over and at every point where the developed consumption of commodities has seemingly multiplied the roles and objects to choose from.  The remains of religion and of the family (the principle relic of the heritage of class power) and the moral repression tehy assure, merge whenever the enjoyment of this world is affirmed - this world being nothing other than repressive pseudo-enjoyment.  The smug acceptance of what exists can also merge with purely spectacular rebellion;  this reflects the simple fact that dissatisfaction itself became a commodity as soon as economic abundance oculd extend production to the processing of such raw materials.

#60  The celebrity, the spectacular representation of a living human being, embodies this banality by embodying the image of a possible role.  Being a star means specializing in the _seemingly lived_;  the star is the object of identification with the shallow seeming life that has to compensate for the fragmented productive specializations which are actually lived.  Celebrities exist to act out various styles of living and viewing society - unfettered, free to express themselves _globally_.   They embody the inaccessible result of social _labor_ by dramatizing its by-products magically projected above it as its goal:  _power and vacations_, decision and consumption, which are the beginning and end of an undiscussed process.  In one case state power personalizes itself as a pseudo-star;  in another a star of comsumption gets elected as a pseudo-power over the lived.  But just as the activities of the star are not really global, they are not really varied.

#61  Kennedy remained an orator even to the point of proclaiming the eulogy over his own tomb, since Theodore Sorenson continued to edit speeches for the successor in the style which had characterized the personality of the deceased.

#63  …the spectacle is nothing more than an image of happy unification surrounded by desolation and fear at the tranquil center of misery.

#64  Wherever the concentrated spectacle rules, so does the police.

#65  …the spectacle of automobiles demands a perfect transport network which destroys old cities, while the spectacle of the city itself requires museum-areas.  Therefore the already problematic satisfaction which i supposed to come from the _consumption of the whole_, is falsified immediately since the actual consumer can directly touch only a succession of fragments of this commodity happiness, fragments in which the quality attributed to the whole is obviously missing every time.

#66  The spectacle does not sing the praises of men and their weapons, but of commodities and their passions.

#67  Waves of enthusiasm for a given product, supported and spread by all the media of communication, are thus propagated with lightning speed.

#82  The bourgeois epoch, which wants to give a scientific foundation to history, overlooks the fact that this available science needs a historical foundation along with the economy.  Inversely, history directly depends on economic knowledge only to the extent that it remains economic history.  The extent to which the viewpont of scientific observation could overlook the role of history in the economy (th eglobal process which modifies its own basic scientific premises) is shown by the vanity of those socialist calculations which thought they had established the exact periodicity of crises.  Now that the constant intervention of the Sate has succeeded in compensating for the effect of tendencies toward crisis, the same type of reasoning sees in this equilibrium a definitive economic harmony.  The porject of mastering hte economy, the project of appropriating history, if it must know - and absorb -the science of society, cannot itslef be _scientific_.  The revolutionary viewpoint of a movement which thinks it can dominate current history by means of scientific knowledge remains bourgeois.

#92  The strength and the weakness of the real anarchist struggles resides in its viewing the goal of proletarian revolution as _immediately present_ (the pretensions of anarchism in its individualist variants have always been laughable).
NB:  Grace Lee Boggs and the identification of means with ends, swadeshi and Gandhian economics, politics as practice

#95  Those who have failed to recognize that for Marx and for the revolutionary proletariat the unitary thought of history _was in no way distinct from the practical attitude to be adopted_, regularly became victims of the practice they adopted.

#96  The separate position of the movement’s deputies and journalists attracted the already recruited bourgeois intellectuals toward a bourgeois mode of life.  Even those who had been recruited from the struggles of industrial workers and who were themselves workers, were transformed by the union bureaucracy into brokers of labor power who sold labor as a commodity for a just price.  If their activity was to retain some appearance of being revolutionary, capitalism would have had to be conveniently unalbe to support economically this reformism which it tolerated politically (in the legalistic agitation of the social-democrats).  But such an antagonism, guaranteed by their science, was constantly belied by history.

#97  “Socialism means working a lot.”

#100  The historical moment when Bolshevism triumphed _for itself_ in Russia and when social-democracy fought victoriously _for the old world_ marks the inauguration of the state of affairs which is at the heart of the domination of the modern spectacle:  the _representation of the working class_ radically opposes itself to the working class.

#102  By seizing state monopoly over representation and defense of workers’ power, the Bolshevik party justified itself and _became what it was_:  the party of the _proprietors of the proletariat_ (essentially eliminating earlier forms of property).

#109  Fascism is technically-equipped archaism.  Its decomposed ersatz of myth is revived in the spectacular context of the most modern means of conditioning and illusion.  Thus it is one of the factors in the formation of the modern spectacle, and its role in the destruction of the old workers’ movement makes it one of the fundamental forces of present-day society.  However, since fascism is also the _most costly_ form of preserving the capitalist order, it usually had to leave the front of the stage to the great roles played by the capitalist States;  it is eliminated  by stronger and more rational forms of the same order.

#112  Lukacs is the best proof of the fundamental rule which judges all the intellectuals of this century:  what they respect is an exact measure of their own despicable reality.

#115  The new signs of negation multiplying in the economically developed countries, signs which are misunderstood and falsified by spectacular arrangement, already enable us to draw the conclusion that a new epoch has begun:  now, after teh workers’ first attempt at subversion, _it is capitalist abundance which has failed_.  When anti-union sturggles of Western workers are repressed first of all by unions, and when the first amorphous protests launched by rebellious currents of youth_directly_ imply the rejection of the old specialized politics, of art and of daily life, we see two sides of a new spontaneous struggle which begins under a _criminal_ guise.  These are the portents of a second proletarian assault against class society.  when the lost children of this still immobile army reappear on this battleground which was altered and yet remains the same, they follow a new “General Ludd” who, this time, urges them to destory the machines of permitted consumption.

#121  The revolutionary oganization can be nothing less than a unitary critique of society, namely a critique which does not compormise with any form of separate power anywhere in the world, and a critique proclaimed globally against all the aspects of alientated social life.  In the sturggle between the revolutionary organization and class society, the weapons are nothing other than the _essence_ of the combatants themselves:  the revolutionary organization cannot reproduce within itself the dominant society’s conditions of separation and hierarchy.  It must struggle constantly against its deformation in the ruling spectacle.  The only limit to participation in the total democracy of the revolutionary organization is the recognition and self-appropriation of the coherence of its critique by all its members, a coherence which must be proved int he critical theory as such and in the relation between the theory and practical activity.

#124  Revolutionary theory is now the enemy of all revolutionary ideology and knows it.

#140  The bougeoisie is attached to _labor_ time, which is liberated for the first time from the cyclical.  With the bourgeoisie, work becomes _labor which transforms historical conditions_.  The boureoisie is the first ruling class for which labor is a value.

#142  The history which is present in all the depths of society tends to be lost at the surface.  The trimuph of irreversible time is also its metamorphosis into the _time of things-, because the weapon of its victory was precisely the mass production of objects according to the laws of the commodity.  the main product which eocnomic development has transfered from luxurious scarcity to daily consumption is therefore _history_, but only int he form of hte hisotry of the abstract movement of things which dominates all qualitative use of life.  While the earlier cyclical time has supported a growing part of historical time lived by inidivudals and groups, the domination of the irreversible time of production tends, socially, to eliminate this lived time.

#143  “There was history, but there is no more,” because the class of owners of the economy, which cannot break with _economic history_, is directly threatened by all other irreversibble use of time and must repress it.
NB:  Francis Fukuyama and “the end of history"

#158  The spectacle, as the present social organization of the paralysis of historya nd memory, of the abandonment of history buitl on the foundation of historical time, is the _false consciousness of time_. 

#166  In order to become ever more identical to itself, to get as close as possible to motionless monotony, the_ free space of the commodity_ is henceforth constantly modified and reconstructed.

#167  This society which eliminates geographical distance reproduces distance internally as spectacular separation.

#168  Tourism, human circulation considered as consumption, a by-product of the circulation of commodities, is fundamentally nothing more than the leisure of going to see what has become banal.  The economic organization of visits to different places is already in itself the guarantee of their _equivalence_.  The same modernization that removed time from the voyage also removed from it the reality of space.

#172  After the experiences of the French Revolution, the efforts of all established powers to increase the means of maintaining order in the streets finally culminates in the suppression of the street.

#175  Economic history, which developed entirely around the opposition between town and country, has reached a level of success which simultaneously cancels out both terms.  The current paralysis of total historical development for the sake of the mere continuation of the economy’s independent movement makes the moment when town and country being to disappear, not the supersessison of their cleavage, but their simultaneous collapse.  The reciprocal erosion of twon and country, product of the failyre of the hisotrical moement through which existing urban reality should have been surmounted, is visible in the eclectic melange of their decayed elements which cover the most industrially advanced zones.

#177  … natural ignorance has been replaced by the organized spectacle of error.
NB:  tobacco, coal, guns, climate change….

#178  In this game’s changing space, and in the freely chosen variations in the game’s rules, the autonomy of place can be rediscovered without the reintroduction of an exclusie attachment to the land, thus bringing back the reality of the voyage and of life understood as a voyage which contains its entire meaining within  itself.

#179  The greatest revolutionary idea concerning urbanism is not itself urbanistic, technological or esthetic.  It is the decision to reconstruct the entire environment in accordance with the needs of the power of the Workers’ Councils, of the _anti-statist dictatorship_ of the proletariat, of enforcable dialogue.  And the power of the Councils, which can be effective only if it transforms existing conditions in their entirely, cannot assign itself a smaller task if it wants to be recognized and to _recognize itself_ in its world.

#180  By gaining its independence, culture begins an imperialist mvoement of enrichment which is at the same time the decline of its independence.  The history which creates the relative autonomy also expresses itself as history of culture.  And the entire victorious history of culture cna be understood as the history of the revelation of its inadequacy, as a march toward its self-suppression.  Culture is the locus of the search for lost unity.  In this search for unity, culture as a separate sphere is obliged to negate itself.

#181  The struggle between tradition and innovatin, which is the principle of internal cultural development in historical societies, can be carried on only through the permanent victory of innvoation.  Yet cultural innovation is carried by nothing other than the total historical movement which, by becoming conscious of its totality, tends to supersede its own cultural presuppositions and moves toward the suppression of all separation.

#182  The growth of knowledge about society, which includes the understanding of history as the heart of culture, derives from itself an irreversible knowledge, which is experessed by the destruction of God.  But this “ first condition of any critique” is also the first obligation of a critique without end.  When it is no longer possible to maintain a single rule of conduct, every result of culture forces culture to advance toward its dissultion.

#185  In the case of representations, the critical self-destruction of society’s former _common language_ confronts its artificial recomposition in the commodity spectacle, the illusory representation of the non-lived.
NB:  Get a life

#187  The loss of the language of communication is positively expressed by the modern movement of decomposition of all art, its formal annihilation.  This movement expresses negatively the fact that a common language must be rediscovered - no longer in the unilaterla conclusion which, in the art of the historical society, _always arrived too late_, speaking to others about what was lived without real dialogue, and admitting this deficiency of life - but it must be rediscovered in praxis, which unifies direct activity and its language [NB].  The problem is to actually possess the community of dialogue and the game with time which have been represent by poetic-artistic works.

#188  The greatness of art begins to appear only at the dusk of life.

#189  When all part art is recognized and sought historically and retrospectively constituted into a world of art, it is relativized into a global disorder which in  turn constitutes a baroque edifice on a higher level, an edifice in which the very production of baroque art merges with all its revivals.  The arts of all civilizations and all epochs can be known and accepted together for the first time.  Once this “collection of souvenirs” of art history becomes possible, it is also the _end of the world of art_.  In this age of museums, when artistic communication can no longer exist, all the former moments of art can be admitted equally, because they no longer suffer from the loss of their specific conditions of communicaiton in the current general loss of the conditions of communication.

#191  Dadaism wanted to _suppress art without realizing it_;  surrealism wanted to _realize art without suppressing it_.  The critical position later elaborated by the Situationists has shown that the suppression and the realization of art are inseparable aspects of a single _supersession of art_.

#192  The critical truth of this destruction  - the real life of modern poetry and art - is obviously hidden, since the spectacle, whose function is to make _history forgotten within culture_ [NB], applies, in the pseudo-novelty of its modernist means, the very strategy which constitutes its core….  This is an expression, on the level of spectacular pseudo-culture, of developed capitalism’s general project, which aims to recapture the fragmented worker as a “personality well integrated in the group,” a tendency described by American sociologists (Riesman, Whte, etc.)  It is the same project everywhere:  _a restructuring without community_. [NB]

#193  When culture becomes nothign more than a commodity, it must also become the star commodity of the spectacular society.  Clark Kerr, one of the foremost ideologyes of this tendency, has calculated that the complex process of production, distribution and consumption of knowledge already gets 29% of the eyarly national product of the United States;  and he prdicts that in the second half of this century culture will be the driving force in the development of the economy, a role played by the automobile in the first half of this century, and by railroads in the second half of the previous century.
NB:  Knowledge worker, knowledge society

#194  All the branches of knowledg,e which continue to develop as the thought of the spectcale, have to justify a society without justification, and constitute a general science of false consciousness.  This thought is compeltely conditioned by the fact that it cannot and will not investigate its own material basis in the spectacular system.

#195  The system’s thought, the thought of the social orgnaization of appearance, is itself obscured by the generalized _syb-communication_ which it defends.  I does not know that conflict is at the origin of all things in its world.  Specialists in the power of the spectacle, an absolute power within its system of language without response, are absolutely corrupted by their experience of contempt and of the success of contempt;  and they find their contempt confirmed by their knowledge of _the contemptible man, who the spectator really is_[NB].

#198  Those who denounce the absurdity of the perils of incitement to wsate in the society of econoic abundance do not understand the prupose of waste.

#200  The sociology which thinks that an industrial rationality functioning separately can be isolated from the whoel of social life cna go so far as to isolate the techniques of reproduction and transmission from the general industrial movement.  Thus Boorstin finds that the results he depicts are cuased by the unfortuante, almost fortitous encounter of an oversized technical apparatus for image diffusion with an excessive attraction to the pseudo-sensational on the part of the people of our epoch.  Tjhus the spectacle would be caused byt the fact that modern man is too much of a spectator.  Boorstin fails to understand that the proliferation of the prefabricated “pseudo-events” which he denounces flows from teh simpel fact that, in the massive reality of presnet social life, men do not themselves live events.  Because history itself haunts modern society like a spectre, pseudo-histories are constructed at eveyr level of consumption of life in order to preserve the threatened equilibrium of present frozen time.
NB:  Nothing ever changes in a sitcom

#203  The critical concept of spectacle can undoubtedly also be vulgarized into a commonplace holow formula of sociological-political rhetoric to explain and absatrctly denounce everything, and thus serve as a defense fot he spectacular system.  It is ovvious that no idea can lead beyond the existing spectacle, but only beyond the existing ideas about the spectacle.  To effectively destory the society of the spectacle, what is needed is men putting a practical force into action.  The critical theory of the spectacle can be true only by untiing with the practical current of negation in scoiety, and this negation, the resumption of revolutionary class sturggle, will become conscious of itslef by developign the critique of the spectacle which is the theory of its real conditons (the practical conditions of present oppression),  an inversely y unveiling the secret of what this negaiton can be.  this theory does not expect miracles from the workign class.  It envisages the new formulation and the realization of preletarin imperatives as a long-range task.  To make an artificial distinction between theoretical and practical struggle - since on the basis defined here, the very formulation and communication of such a theory cannot even be conceived without a rigorous procatice - it is certain that the ovscure and difficutl path of critical theory must also be the lot fo the practical movement acting on the scale of society.

#210  Only the real negation of culture can preserve its meaning.  It can no longer be _cultural_.  Thus it is what in some way remains at the level of culture, but with a completely different meaning.

#212   Ideology is the basis of the thought of a class society in the conflict-laden course of history.  Idiological facts were never a simple chimaera, but rather a deformed consciousness of realities, and in this form they have been real factors which set in motion real deforming acts;  all the more so when the materialization, in the form of spectacle, of the ideology borught about by the concrete success of autonomized economic production in practice confounds social reality with an ideology which has tailored all reality in terms of its model.

#215  The spectacle is ideology par excellence, because it exposes and manifests in tis fullness the essence of all ideological systems:  the impoverishment, servitude and negagtion of real life….  “The need for money is thus the real need produced by political economy and the only need it produces” (Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts).  The spectacle extends to all social life the principle which Hegel (in the Realphilosophie of Jena) conceives as a the principle of money:  it is “the life of what is dead, moving within itself.”

#219  Teh spectacle obliterates the boundaries between self and world by crushing the slef besieged by the presence-absence of the world an it obliterates the boundaties between true and false by driving all lived truth below the real presence of fraud ensured by the organization of appearance.  One who passively accpets his alien daily fate is thus pushed toward a madness that reeacts in an illusory way to this fate by resorting to magical techniques.  The acceptance and consumption of commodities are at the heart of this pseudo-response to a communication without response.  The need to imitiate which is felt by the consumer is precisely the infantile need conditioned by all the aspects of his fundamental dispossession.  In the terms applied by Gabel to a completely different pathological level, “the abnormal need for representation here compensates for a tortuous feeling of being on the margin of existence.”

#220  If the logic of false consciousness cannot know itself truly, the search for critical truth about the spectacle must simultaneously be a true critique.  It must struggle in practice among the irreconcilable enemies of the spectacle and admit that it is absent where they are absent.  Teh abstract desire for immeidate effectiveness accepts the laws of the ruling thought,t he exclusive point of view of the present, when it throws itself into reformist compromises or trashy pseudo-revolutionary common actions.  Thus madness reappears in the very posture which pretends to fight it.  Conversely, the critique which goes beyond the spectacl must know how to wait.

#221  Emancipation from the material bases of inverted truth - this is what the self-emancipation of our epoch consists of.  This “historical mission of installing truth in the world” cannot be accomplished either by the isolated individual, or by the atomized crows subjected to manipulation, but now as ever by the class which is able to effect the dissolution of all classes by bringing all power into the dealienating form of realized democracy, the Council, in which practical theory control itself and sees its own action.  This ispossible only where individuals are “directly linked to universal history”;  only where dialogue arms itself to make its own conditions victorious.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Strategy: Notes on BH Liddell Hart's Classic

Strategy by BH Liddell Hart
NY:  Frederick Praeger, 1968

(18)  When, in the course of studying a long series of military campaigns, I first came to perceive the spueriority of the indirect over the direct approach, I was looking merely for light upon strategy.  With deepened reflection, however I began to realize that the indirect approach had a much wider application - that it was a law of life in all spheres:  a truth of philosophy.  It’s fulfillment was seen to be the key to practical achievement in dealing with any problem where the human factor predominates, and a conflict of wills tends to spring from an underlying concern for interests.  In all such cases, the direct assault of new ideas provokes a stubborn resistance, thus intensifying the difficulty of producing a change of outlook.  Conversion is achieved more easily and rapidly by unsuspected infiltration of a differnt idea or by an argument that turns the flank of instinctive opposition.  The indirect approach is as fundamental to the realm of politics as to the realm of sex.  In commerce, the suggestion that there is a bargain to be secured is far more potent than any direct appeal to buy.  And in any sphere it is proverbial that the surest way of gaining a superior’s acceptance of a new idea is to persuade him that it is his idea!  As in war, the aim is to weaken resistance before attempting to overcome it;  and the effect is best attained by drawing the other party out of his defences.

(19)  Is there a practical way of combining progress towards the attainment of truth with progress towards it acceptance?  A possible solution of the problem is suggested by relfection on strategic principles - which point to the importance of maintaining an object consistently and, also, of pursuing it in a way adapted to circumstances.  Opposition to the truth is inevitable, especially if it takes the form of a new idea, but the degree of resistance can be diminished - by giving thought not only to the aim but to the method of approach.  Avoid a frontal attack on a long established position;  instead, seek to turn it by flank movement, so that a more penetrable side is exposed to the thrust of truth. But, in any such indirect approach, take care not to diverge from the truth - for nothing is more fatal to its real advancement than to lapse into untruth. 

(23)  "Fools say that they learn by experience.  I prefer to prosper by other’s experience.”  This saying, quoted of Bismarck, but by no means original to him, has a special bearing on military questions.

(24)  Soldiers universally concede the general truth of Napoleon’s much-quoted dictum that in war “the moral is to the physical as three to one.”

(24-25)  The predominance of the psychological over the physical, and its greater constancy, point to the conclusion that the foundation of any theory of war should be as broad as possible.

(25)  During this survey one impression became increasingly strong - that, throughout the ages, effective results in war have rarely been attained unless the approach has had such indirectness as to ensure the opponent’s unreadiness to meet it.  The inidirectness has usually been physical, and always psychological.  In strategy, the longest way round is often the shortest way home.

(32)  In the succeeding years of pseudo-peace, repeated Athenian expeditions failed to regain the lost footing in Chalcidice.  Then, as a last offensive resort, Athens undertook an expedition against Syracuse, the key to Sicily, whence came the overseas food supply of Sparta and the Peloponnese generally.  As a grand strategy of indirect approach it had the defect of striking, not at the enemy’s actual partners, but rather at his business associates.  Thereby, instead of distracting the enemy’s forces, it drew fresh forces into opposition.

(36)  Epaminondas himself fell in his moment of victory, and in his death contributed not the least of his lessons to subsequent generatIons - by an exceptionally dramatic and convincing proof that an army and a state succumb quickest to the paralysis of the brain.

(41)  Repeated marches and counter-marches of Alexander’s cavalry kept Porus on tenterhooks, and then, through repetition, dulled his reaction.  Having thus fixed Porus to a definite and static position, Alexander left the bulk of his army opposite it, and himself with a picked force made a night crossing eighteen miles upstream.
NB:  Trump

(45)  Normal soldiers always prefer the known to the unknown.  Hannibal was an abnormal general and hence, like other Great Captains, chose to face the most hazardous _conditions_ rather than the certainty of meeting his opponents in a position of their own choosing.

(51)  Unless there is opportunity and favourable prospect for a quick surprise assault, a siege is the most uneconomic of all operations of war.  When the enemy has still a field army capable of intervening, a siege is also the most dangerous - for until it is crowned by success the assailant is progressively weakening himself out of proportion to his enemy.

(52)  Scipio had thrust on his enemy the need of seeking battle, and he now exploited this moral advantage to the full.

(54)  Caesar has ben criticized for his rashness in moving south with such a fraction of his army.  But time and surprise are the two most vital elements in war.  And beyond his appreciation of them, Caesar’s strategy was essentially guided by his understanding of Pompey’s mind.

(57)  It would seem that Caesar’s recurrent and deep-rooted fault was his concentration in pursuing the objective immediately in front of his eyes to the neglect of his wider object.  Strategically he was an alternative Jekyll and Hyde.

(61)  According to Procopius, he [Belisarius] said in the letter:  “The first blessing is peace, as is agreed by all men who have even a small share of reason….  The best general, therefore is that one which is able to bring about peace from war.”  These were remarkable words to come from a soldier so young on the eve of his first great victory.

(63)  Having frustrated the threat, he [Belisarius] was content to shepherd the invaders back on their homeward course.  Such restraint did not please his troops.  Aware of their murmurs he tried to point out to them that true victory lay in compelling one’s opponent to abandon his purpose, with the least possible loss to oneself.  If such a result was obtained, there was no real advantage to be gained by winning a battle - “for why should one rout a fugitive?” - while the attempt would incur a needless risk of defeat, and of thereby laying the empire open to a more dangerous invasion.  To leave a retreating army no way of escape was the surest way to infuse it with the courage of desperation.
NB:  Sun Tzu
To a surrounded enemy, you must leave a way of escape.

(73)  The subsequent elaboration of these methods [from Belisarius], and the army’s reorganization, can be followed in the two great Byzantine military textbooks, the Strategicon of the Emperor Maurice and the Tactica of Leo.

(82)  The strategy and tactics of the Mongols are dealt with more fully in the author’s [Liddell-Hart] earlier book Great Captains Unveiled.

(107)  To entice the enemy out was not enough;  it was necessary to draw him out.  So also there is a lesson in the failure of the feints by which Wolfe tried to prepare his direct approach.  To mystify the enemy was not enough;  he must be distracted - a term which implies combining deception of the enemy’s mind with deprivation of his freedom to move for counteraction, and with the distension of his forces.
(108)  This enabled him [Frederick the Great] to practise what is commonly called the strategy of “interior lines” - striking outwards from his central pivot against one of the forces on the circumference, and utilizing the shorter distance he had thus to travel to concentrate against one of the enemy forces before it could be supported by the others.

Ostensibly, it would seem that the further apart these enemy forces, the easier it must be to achieve a decisive success.  In terms of time, space, and number, this is undoubtedly true.  But once more tjhe morl element intrudes.  When the enemy forces are widely separated each is self-contained and tends to be consolidated by pressure.  When they are close together they tend to coalesce and “become members one of another,” mutually dependent in mind, morale, and matter.  The minds of the commanders affect each other, moral impressions are quickly transfused, and even the movement of each force easily hinder or disorganize those of the others.  Thus while the antagonist has less time and space for his action, the dislocating result of it take effect more quickly and easily.

(112)  To express this in another way, he [Frederick] regarded the indirect approach as a matter of pure maneuver with mobility, instead of a combinaiton of maneuver with mobility and surprise.  Thus, despite all his brilliance, his economy of force broke down.

(113)  The revolutionary spirit which inspired the citizen armies of France created such a condition and impulse simultaneously.  In compensation for the precise drill which it made impossible, it gave rein instead to the tactical sense and initiative of the individual.  These new tactics of fluidity had for their simple, yet vital pivot, the fact that the French now marched and fought at a quick step of 120 paces to the minute, while their opponents adhered to the orthodox 70 paces.  This elementary difference, in days before mechanical science endowed armies with means of movement swifter than the human leg, went far to make possible the rapid transference and reshuffled concentrations of striking power whereby the French could, in Napoleln’s phrase, multiply “mass by velocity” both strategically and tactically.

Another favorable conditon was the organization of the army into permanent divisions - the fractioning of the army into self-contained parts which, while operating separately, could cooperate to a common goal.

(114)  A third condition, linked with this, was that the chaotic supply system and the undisciplined nature of the Revolutionary armies compelled a reversion to the old practice of “living on the country.”  The distribution of the army in divisions meant that this practice detracted less from the army’s effectiveness than in old days.  Where, formerly, the fractions had to be collected before they could carry out an operation, now they could be serving a military purpose while feeding themselves.

Moreoever the effect of “moving light” was to accelerate their mobility, and enable them to move freely in mountainous or forest country.  Similarly, the very fact that they were unable to depend on magazines and supply-trains for food and equipment lent impetus to hungry and ill-clad troops in descending upon the rear of an enemy who had, and depended on, such direct forms of supply.
NB:  Sherman in Georgia

(114-115)  From Bourcet he learnt the principle of calculated dispersion to induce the enemy to disperse their own concentration preparatory to the swift reuniting of his own forces.  Also, the value of a “plan with several branches,” and of operating in a line which threatened alternative objectives.  Moreover, the very plan which Napolen executed in his first campaign was based on one that Bourcet had designed half a century earlier.

From Guibert he acquired an idea of the supreme value of mobility and fluidity of force, and of the potentialities inherent in the new distirbution of an army in self-contained divisions.  Guibert had defined the Napoleonic method when he wrote, a generation earlier:  “The art is to extend forces without exposing them, to embrace the enemy without being disunited, to link up the moves of the attackes to take the enemy in flank without exposing one’s own flank.”  And Guiberts’ prescription for the rear attack, as the means of uptsetting the enemy’s balance, became Napoleon’s practice.  To the same source can be traced Napoleon’s method of concentrating his mobile artillery to shatter, and make a breach at, a key point in the enemy’s front.  Moreover, it was the practical reforms achieved by Guibert in the French army shortly before the Revolution which fashioned the instrument that Napoleon applied.  Above all, it was Guibert’s vision of a coming revolution in warfare, carried out by a man who would arise from a revolutionary state, that kindled the youthful Napoleon’s imagination and ambition.  

While Napoleon added little to the ideas he had imbibed, he gave them fulfilment.  Without his dynamic application the new mobility might have remained merely a theory.  Because his education coincided with his instincts, and because these in turn were given scope by his circumstances, he was able to exploit the full range of possibilities of the new “divisional” system.  In developing the wider range of strategic combinations thus possible Napoleon made his chief contribution to strategy.

(117)  This tendency, as well as the natural effect of his [Napoleon] early experience, is illustrated in one of the most significant and oft-quoted of his sayings  “The principles of war are the same as those of a siege.  Fire must be concentrated on one point, and as soon as the breach is made, the equilibrium is broken and the rest is nothing.”  Subsequent military theory has put the accent on the first clause instead of on the last:  in particular, on the words “one point” in stead of on the last:  “equilibrium.”  The former is but a physical metaphor, whereas the latter expresses the actual psychological result which ensures “that the rest is nothing.”  His own emphasis can be traced in the strategic course of his campaigns.
NB:  Always attack the center

(118)  Here, again, illumination comes from the actual campaign in which Bonaparte put this maxim into execution.  It clearly suggests that what he really meant was not “point,” but “joint” - and that at this stage of his career he was too firmly imbued with the idea of economy of force to waste his limited strength in battering at the enemy’s strong point.  A joint, however, is both vital and vulnerable.

(119) “It may be that in future I may lose a battle, but I shall never lose a minute.”

(122)  Two months later, in January 1797, the Austrians made a fourth and last attempt to save Mantua, but this was shattered at Rivoli - where Bonaparte’s loose group formation functioned almost perfectly.  Like a widespread net whose corners are weighted with stones, when one of the enemy’s columns impinged on it the net closed in round the point of pressure and the stones crashed together on the intruder.

This self-protection formation which thus, on impact, became a concentrated offensive formation, was Bonaparte’s development of the new divisional system - by which an army was permanently subdivided into independently moving fractions, instead of, as formerly, constituting a single body from which only temporary detachments were made.  The group formation of Bonaparte’s Italian campaigns became the more hgihly develoepd bataillon carré, with army corps replacing divisions, of his later wars.

(123)  Thus, instead of advancing to meet the enemy in what he termed “their natural position,” facing west of Alessandria, he gained a “natural position” across the Austrians’ rear - forming that strategic back-stop, or barrage, which was the initial objective of his deadliest maneuvers against the enemy’s rear.  For such a position, offering natural obstacles, afforded him a secure pivot from which to prepare a stranglehold for the enemy, whose instinctive tendency, when cut off from their line of retreat and supply, was to turn and flow back, usually in driblets, towards him.  This conception of a strategic barrage was Bonaparte’s chief contribution to the strategy of indirect approach.
NB:  Strategic barrage as part of leaving an apparent route of escape

(127)  The tactical victory was won, not by surprise or mobility, but by pure offensive power - here expressed in Napoleon’s new artillery tactics, the massed concentration of guns at a selected point.  This was to become more and more the driving shaft of his tactical mechanism.  Although at Friedland, as often later, it ensured victory, it did little to save lives.

It is curious how the possesson of a blank cheque on the bank of man-power had so analogous an effect in 1807-14 and 1914-18.  And curious, also, that in each case it was associated with the method of intense artillery bombardments.  The explanation may be that lavish expenditure breeds extravagance, the mental antithesis of economy of force - to which surprise and mobility are the means.  This hypothesis is strengthened by the similarity of effect seen in Napoleon’s policy.
NB:  “lavish expenditure breeds extravagance” - Trump

(129)  But the real effect of England’s grand-strategy indirect approach in Spain has been obscured by the traditional tendency of historians to become obsessed with battles.
NB:  No discussion of American Revolution but guerrilla war in Spain against Napoleon

(137)  The Peninsular War [of Spain] was an outstanding historical example, achieved by instinctive common sense even more than by intention, of the type of strategy which a century later Lawrence evolved into a reasoned theory, and applied in practice - although without so definate a fulfilment.

(140)  Even so, remarkable as was his [Napoleon] success in retarding the enemy’s advance, it might have been more effective and enduring if his ability to continue this strategy had not been diminished by his inherent tendency to consummate every strategic by a tactical success.

(142)  Training is essential to forge an effective instrument for the general to handle.  A long war or a short peace afford the most favorable conditions for the production of such as instrument.  But there is a defect in the system if the instrument is superior to the artist.

(143)  The American Civil War was the first war in which rail transportation played a major part, and by the fixed form of its own routes it naturally tended to make strategy run on straight and straight-forward lines.

….The railway fostered the expansion of armies - it could forward more men, and feed them, than could fight effectively.  It fostered their wants, and they became tied to the railhead.  At the same time their sustenance “hung by a thread” - the long stretch of the rail-line behind, which was very vulnerable.

(146)  As so often in history a direct doubling of strength meant not a doubling but a halving of the effect - through simplifying the enemy’s "lines of expectation.”  

…  It is significant that in these campaigns of mutual direct approach, such advantage as there was inclined in turn to the side which stood on the defensive, content to counter the other’s advance.  For in such strategical conditions the defensive, by its mere avoidance of vain effort, is inherently the less direct form of two direct strategies.

(151-152)  In the Atlanta campaign he had been handicapped, as he realized, by having a single geographical objective, thus simplifying the opponent’s task in trying to parry his thrusts.  This limitation Sherman now ingeniously planned to avoid by placing the opponent repeatedly “on the horns of a dilemma” - the phrase he used to express his aim.  He took a line of advance which kept the Confederates in doubt, first, whether Macon or Augusta, and then whether Augusta or Savannah was his objective.  And while Sherman had his preference, he was ready to take the alternative objective if conditions favored the change.  The need did not arise, thanks to the uncertainty caused by his deceptive direction.
NB:  always have two possible objectives

(153)  If confidence be half the battle, then to undermine the opponent’s confidence is more than half - because it gains the fruits without a fight.  Sherman might claim, as truly as Napoleon in Austria - “I have destroyed the enemy merely by marches.”

….. Man has two supreme loyalties - to country and to family.  And with most men the second, being more personal, is the stronger.  So long as their families are safe they will defend their country, believing  that by their sacrifice they are safeguarding their families also.

(160)  This survey and analysis of history is concerned with facts and not with conjectures - with what was done, and its result, not with what might have been done.  The theory of the indirect approach which has evolved from it must rest on the concrete evidence of actual experience that the direct approach tends to be indecisive.

(163-164)  Combining the strategical and the tactical examination, we find that most of the examples fall into one of two categories.  They were produced either by a strategy of elastic defense - calculated withdrawal - that was capped by a tactical offensive, or by a strategy of offence, aimed to place oneself in a position “upsetting” to the opponent, and capped by a tactical defensive:  with a sting in the tail.  Either compound forms an indirect approach, and the psychological basis of both can be expressed in the words “lure” and “trap”….

Indeed, it might even be said, in a deeper and wider sense than Clausewitz implied, that the defensive is the stronger form of strategy as well as the more economical. For the second compound, although superficially and logistically an offensive move, has for its underlying motive to draw the opponent into an “unbalanced” advance.  The most effective indirect approach is one that lures or startles the opponent into a false move - so that, as in ju-jitsu, his own effort is turned into the lever of his overthrow,

in offensive strategy, the indirect approach has normally comprised a logistical military move directed against an economic target - the source of supply of either the opposing state or army.  Occasionally, however, the move has been purely psychological in aim, as in some of the operations of Belisarius.  Whatever the _form_, the _effect_ to be sought is the dislocation of the opponent’s mind and dispositions - such an effect is that true gauge of an indirect approach.

(164)  The art of the indirect approach can only be mastered, and its full scope appreciate, by study of and reflection upon the whole history of war.  But we can at least crystallize the lessons into two simple maxims - one negative, the other positive.  The first is that, in face of the overwhelming evidence of history, no general is justified in launching his troops to a direct attack upon an enemy firmly in position.  The second, that instead of seeking to upset the enemy’s equilibrium by one’s attack, it must be upset before a real attack is, or can be successfully launched.

Lenin had a vision of fundamental truth when he said that “the soundest strategy in war is to postpone operations until the moral disintegration of the enemy renders the delivery of the mortal blow both possible and easy.”  This is not always practicable, nor his methods of propaganda always fruitful.  But it will bear adaptation -  “The soundest strategy in any campaign is to postpone battle and the soundest tactics to postpone attack, until the moral dislocation of the enemy renders the delivery of a decisive blow practicable.”
(172)  The long-overlooked lesson of the American Civil War was repeated - that the development of railways, and armies’ dependence on such communications, both fixed and fragile, fostered the deployment of larger numbers than could be maintained in long-range operations without risk of breakdown.

(197)  From these premises was evolved a strategy which was the antithesis of orthodox doctrine.  Whereas normal armies seek to preserve contact, the Arabs sought to avoid it.  Whereas normal armies seek to destroy the opposing forces, the Arabs sought purely to destroy material - and to seek it at points where there was no force.  But Lawrence’s strategy went further.  Instead of trying to drive the enemy away by cutting off their supplies, he aimed to keep them there, by allowing short rations to reach them, so that the longer they stayed the weaker and more depressed they became.  Blows might induce them to concentrate, and simplify both their supply and security problems.  Pin-pricks kept them spread out.  Yet for all its unconventionality this strategy merely carried to its logical conclusion that of following the line of least resistance.  As its author has said:  “The Arab army never tried to maintain or improve an advantage, but to move off and strike again somewhere else.  It used the smallest force in the quickest time at the farthest place.  To continue the action till the enemy had changed his dispositions to resist it, would have been to break the fundamental rule of denying him targets."

(198)  The plan [in WWI South-Eastern Theatre] abundantly fulfilled Willisen’s definition of strategy as “the study of communication,” and also Napoleon’s maxim that “the whole secret of the art of war lies in making oneself master of the communications.”  For it aimed to make the British the masters of all, and all forms of, the Turkish communications.

(202)  Helplessness induces hopelessness, and history attests that loss of hope, not loss of lives, is what decides the issues of war.

(203)  No longer was the blockade [of Germany in 1918] hindered by neutral objections.  Instead, America’s coooperation converted it into a stranglehold under which Germany gradually became limp, since military power is based on economic endurance - a truth too often overlooked.

(210)  The knowledge [of Ludendorff’s 1918 Amiens attack] brings confirmation of two historical lessons - that a joint is the most sensitive and profitable point of attack, and that a penetration between two forces or units is more dangerous if they are assembled shoulder to shoulder than if they are widely separated and organically separate.

(212)  For, as the object of all surprise is dislocation, the effect is similar whether the opponent be caught napping by deception or allows himself to be trapped with his eyes open.

(218-219)  But in hastening the surrender, in preventing a continuance of the war into 1919, military action ranks foremost.  This conclusion does not imply that, at the moment of the Armistice, Germany’s military power was broken or her armies decisively beaten, nor that the Armistice was a mistaken concession.  Rather does the record of the last “hundred days,” when sifted, confirm the immemorial lesson that the true aim in war is the mind of the hostile rulers, not the bodies of their troops;  that the balance between victory and defeat turns on mental impressions and only indirectly on physical blows.  It was the shock of being surprised, and the feeling that he was powerless to counter potential strategic moves, that shook Ludendorff’s nerve more than the loss of prisoners, guns, and acreage.

(223)  Nothing may seem more strange to the future historian than the way that the governments of the democracies failed to anticipate the course which Hitler would pursue.  For never has a man of such immense ambition so clearly disclosed beforehand both the general process and particularly methods by which he was seeking to fulfill it.

(224)  It was Lenin who enunciated the axiom that “the soundest strategy in war is to postpone operations until the moral disintegration of the enemy renders the delivery of the mortal blow both possible and easy.”  There is a marked resemblance between this and Hitler’s saying that “our real wars will in fact all be fought before the military operations begin.”

(228)  To apply one’s strength where the opponent is strong weakens oneself disproportionately to the effect attained.  To strike with strong effect, one must strike at weakness.

…A strategist should think in terms of paralysing, not of killing.

….. The true purpose of strategy is to diminish the possibility of resistance.  And from this follows another axiom - that to ensure attaining _an_ objective one should have alternative objectives.

(230)  Thus by the spring of 1939 Hitler had decreasing cause to fear an open fight.  And at this critical moment he was helped by a false move on Britain’s part - the guarantee suddenly offered to Poland and Rumania, each of them strategically isolated, without first securing any assurance from Russia, the only power which could give them effective support.  Such a blind step was the rashest reversal of a policy of appeasement and retreat that has ever been conceived.  By their timing, these guarantees were bound to act as a provocation.  By their placing, in parts of Europe inaccessible to the forces of Britain and France, they provided an almost irresistible temptation.  Thereby the Western Powers undermined the essential basis of the only type of strategy which their now inferior strength made practicable for them.  For instead of being able to check aggression by presenting a strong front to any attack in the west, they gave Hitler an easy chance of breaking a weak front and thus gaining an initial triumph.

(233)  The Germans, by contrast, in exploiting its possibilities for surprise, had shown their appreciation of the oft-taught lession that natural obstacles are inherently less formidable than human resistance in strong defences.  
NB:  Ardennes in 1940 when Germany broke Maginot Line

(234)  Here he [Hitler] profited by studying the Bolshevik technique of revolution, just as the new German army had profited by applying the British-evolved technique of mechanized warfare - whether he knew it or not, the basic methods in both sphreres could be traced back to the technique of Mongol warfare under Jenghiz Khan.  To prepare the way for his offensive, he sought to find influential adherents in the other country who would undermine its resistance, make trouble in his interest, and be ready to form a new government compliant to his aims.  Bribery was unnecessessary - he counted on self-seeking ambition, authoritarian inclination, and party-spirit to provide him with willing and unwitting agents among the ruling classes.  Then to open the way, at the chosen moment, he aimed to use an infiltration of storm-troopers who would cross the frontier while peace still prevailed, as commercial travellers or holiday-makers, and don the enemy’s uniform when the word came;  their role was to sabotage communications, spread false reports, and, if possible, kidnap the other country’s leading men.  This disguised vanguard would in turn be backed up by airborne troops.

(234)  While the Allied commanders thought in terms of battle, the new German commanders sought to eliminate it by producing the strategic paralysis of their opponents, using their tanks, dive-bombers, and parachutists to spread confusion and dislocate communications.

(236)  But like Napoleon he [Hitler] had an inadequate gasp of the higher level of grand strategy - that of conducting war with a far-sighted regard to the state of the peace that will follow.  To do this effectively, a man must be more than a strategist;  he must be a leader and a philosopher combined.  While strategy is the very opposite of morality, as it is largely concerned with the art of deception, grand strategy tends to coincide with morality:  through having always to keep in view the ultimate goal of the efforts it is directing.

The immensity of his [Hitler] earlier successes led him, as Napoleon had been led, to believe that the offensive offered a solution of all problems.

(237)  General Guderian, the creator of the German panzer forces

(247)  The French, trained in the slow-motion methods of World War I, were mentally unfitted to cope with the new tempo, and it caused a spreading paralysis among them.  The vital weakness of the French lay, not in quantity nor in quality of equipment, but in their _theory_.  Their ideas had advanced less than their opponents beyond the methods of the First World War.  As  has happened so often in history, victory had bred a complacency and fostered an orthodoxy which led to defeat in the next war.

(260)  It was natural that Lundstedt should welcome a reinforcement from the north to help him in solving the tough problem with which he was faced on his own front [Kiev operation], and natural, too, that he should appreciate the prospect of achieving a great encriclement victory - the soldier’s dream.

(269)  In these circumstances [July 26, 1941 FDR embargo on oil to Japan and freezing all Japanese assets] the Americans and British were lucky to be allowed four months’ grace before the Japanese struck.  But little advantage was taken of this interval for defensive preparation.

…  The stroke was made ahead of the declaration of war, following the precedent of Port Arthur, the Japanese opening stroke in the war against Russia.
NB:  LIddell Hart criticizes the French and British for forcing the Nazis’ hands in Poland and the USA and British embargo for forcing the Japanese attack

(278)  While Rommel’s deep thrust failed in its aim only by a narrow margin, the penalty of failure was large.  For while he and his three armored divisions (two German and one Italian) were operating over the frontier, far away from the remainder, the split up British forces which he had left behind were able to recover their balance, resume their offensive pressure, and link up with the garrison of Tobruk, before he returned to the relief of his non-mobile formations.  That exemplified the risks of the strategic-raid type of operation, by part of an army, where the pivot is not itself strong enough for lengthy resistance.  Although he succeeded in regaining the advantage temporarily after several days hard fighting and close-quarter maneuvering, it was a barren success.

(291)  It is remarkable how closely Alexander’s plan of operations coincided with the classic pattern of the Napoleonic battle, just as the Battle of the Marne did in 1914 - though without intention.  The characteristics of that pattern were that after the enemy had been pinned and pressed in front, a maneuver was directed against one of his flanks.  This maneuver was not decisive in itself but created the opportunity for a decisive stroke.  For the threat of envelopment caused a stretching of the enemy’s front in the attmept to meet it, and so produced a weak joint, on which the decisive stroke then fell.

(294)  But Hitler was too offensive-minded to pay due heed to those counsels.  He fervently believed that attack was the best form of defence, and that rigid resistance was the next best.  Under this obsession he even rejected every plea for developing the scale of fighter aircraft for Germany’s defense to meet the multiplying Allied bombing offensive, and did not alter this decision until as late as June 1944.

(295-296)  The pattern and rhythm of their operations increasingly came to resemble those of the Allies’ of 1918 counter-offensive in the West - an alternative series of strokes at different points, each temporarily suspended when its impetus waned in face of stiffening resistance, each so aimed as to pave the way for the next, and all close enough in time and space to have a mutual reaction.  It led the German command, as in 1918, to scurry their scanty reserves to the points that were struck, while simultaneously restricting their power to move reserves in time to the points that were threatened and about to be struck.  The effect was to paralyse their freedom of action, while progressively decreasing their balance of reserves.  It was a strategic form of “creeping paralysis.”

This is the natural method for an army that possesses a general superiority of force - as the Allied armies in the West had in 1918, and the Red Army had in 1943.  It is all the more suitable when and where the lateral communications are not ample enough to provide the attacker with the power of switching reserves to follow up a particular success, very quickly from one sector to another.  Since it means breaking into a fresh front each time, the cost of the “broad’ method is apt to be higher than with the “deep” method, and its effect less quickly decisive.  But the effect is cumulative, provided that the side which operates it has an adequate balance of strength to maintain the process.

(297)  Each time the Germans were tied to the defence of a fixed point by Hitler’s orders, an eventual collapse was the costly penalty.  The weaker the defending side, the more essential it becomes to adopt mobile defence.  For otherwise the stronger side can make space its ally and gain a decisive advantage through outflanking maneuver.

(300)  If the Allies’ bombing strategy had been better designed - to dislocate supplies rather than to devastate populated areas - it could have produced a quicker paralysis of German resistance;  but though much of the effort was misdirected, it did spread a creeping paralysis.  Moreover, in the military field, the dislocation of communications was a major factor in immobilizing the German armies’ power to counter the Allied armies’ advance.
NB:  Focus on supplies and communications, logistics as strategy

(304)  Salerno provided one more demonstration of the lesson of history that nothing can be more hazardous for an army than to concentrate its effort at the point where the enemy can calculate on its coming, and can thus concentrate his forces to meet it.

(305)  It [Italian campaign] repeatedly demonstrated that direct attack on narrow fronts commonly leads to negative results.  Even a big superiority of force rarely suffices unless there is room for maneuver - which requires a wider front.

(310)  But Lundstedt, who was Commander-in-Chief in the West, counted on the Allies landing in the narrower part of the Channel between Dieppe and Calais.  That conviction was due not only to the Allies’ past fondness for maximum air cover, and the effect of their present deception plans, but even more to his reasoning that such a line was theoretically the right line since it was the shortest line to their objective.  That was a characteristic calculation of strategic orthodoxy.  Significantly, it did not credit the Allied Command with a preference for the unexpected, nor even with an inclination to avoid the most strongly defended approach.

(322)  The best moment for a major counter-offensive, as for a minor counter-attack, is usually when the attacking opponent has fully committed his own strength without having gained his objective.  At that moment, his troops will be suffering from the natural reaction due to a prolonged effort, while the Command will have relatively few reserves of its own ready to meet a counter-stroke - especially if this comes from a different direction.

(328)  Long ago, the famous pugilist, Jem Mace, summed up all his experience of the ring in the maxim:  “Let ‘em come to ye, and they’ll beat theirselves.”  Kid McCoy later expressed the same idea in his teaching:  “Draw your man into attack - and get him so that he has both hands out of business and you have one hand free.”

(333)  Let us first be clear as to what is strategy.  Clausewitz, in his monumental work, _On War_, defined it as “the art of the employment of battles as a means to gain the object of war.  In other words strategy forms the plan of the war, maps out the proposed course of the different campaigns which compose the war, and regulates the battles to be fought in each.”

(334)  Moltke reached a clearer, and wiser, definition in terming strategy “the practical adaptation of the means placed at a general’s disposal to the attainment of the object in view.”

(341)  Thus a move round the enemy’s front aginst his rear has the aim not only of avoiding reisstance on its way but in its issue.  In the profoundest sense, it takes the _line of least resistance_.  The equivalent in the psychological sphere is the _line of least expectation_.  They are the two faces of the same coin, and to appreciate this is to widen our understanding of strategy.  For if we merely take what obviously appears the line of least resistance, its obviousness will appeal to the opponent also;  and this line may no longer be that of least resistance.

…”Stonewall’ jackson aptly expressed this in his strategical motto - “Mystify, mislead, and surprise.'

(335)  We can now arrive at a shorter definition of stratey as - “the art of distributing and applying military means to fulfill the ends of policy.”  For strategy is concerned not merely with the movement of forces - as its role is often defined - but with the effect.

(336)  The sorry state of peace, for both sides, that has followed most wars cn be traced to the fact that, unlike strategy, the realm of grand strateg is for the most part terra incognita - still awaiting exploration, and understanding.

…Strategy depends for success, first and most, on a sound _ calculation and co-ordination fof the end and the means_.  The end must be proportioned to the total means, and the means uesed in gaining each intermediate end which contributes to the ultimate must be proportioned to the value and needs of that intermediate end - whether it be to gain an objective or to fulfil a contributory purpose.  An excess may be as  harmful as a deficiency.

(337)  Strategy has not to overcome resistance, except from nature.  _Its purpose is to diminish the possibiity of resistance_, and it seeks to fufil this purpose by exploiting the elements of _movement_ and _surprise_.

(339)  Despite many centuries’ experience of war, we have hardly begun to explore the field of psychological warfare.

… In other words, dislocation is the aim of strategy;  its sequel may be either the enemy’s dissolution or his easier disruption in battle.  Dissolution may involve some partial measure of fighting, but this has not the character of a battle.

(342)  It would have been more exact, and more lucid, to say that an army should always be so distributed that its parts can aid each other and combine to produce the maximum _possible_ concentration of force at one place, while the minimum force _necessary_ is used elsewhere to prepare the success of the concentration.

(343)  A deeper truth to which Foch and other disciples of Clausewitz did not penetrate fully is that in war every problem and every principle, is a duality.  Like a coin, it has two faces.  Hence the need for a well-calculated compromise as a means to reconciliation.
NB:  coin also has an edge

… A further consequence of the two-party condition is that to ensure reaching an objective one should have _alternative objectives_.

(344)  A plan, like a tree, must have branches - if it is to bear fruit.  A plan with a single aim is apt to prove a barren pole.

…In general, the nearer to the force that the cut [of communications] is made, the _more immediate_ the effect;  the nearer to the base, the _greater_ the effect.  In either case, the effect becomes much greater and more quickly felt if made against a force that is in motion, and in course of carrying out an operation, than against a force that is stationary.

(347)  The principles of war, not merely one principle, can be condensed into a single word - “concentration.”  But for truth this needs to be amplified as the “concentration of strength against weakness.”  And for any real value it needs to be explained that the concentration of strength against weakness depends on the dispersion of your opponent’s strength, which in turn is produced by a distribution of your own that gives the appearance, and partial effect of disperson.  Your dispersion, his dispersion, your concentration - such is the sequence, and each is a sequel.  True concentration is the fruit of calculated dispersion.

(347 - 350)  The principles of war, not merely one principle, can be condensed into a single word - “concentration.”  But for truth this needs to be amplified as the “concentration of strength against weakness."  And for any real value it needs to be explained that the concentration of strength against weakness depends on the dispersion of your opponent’s strength, which in turn is produced by a distribution of your own that gives the appearance, and partial effect of dispersion.  Your dispersion, his dispersion, your concentration - such is the sequence, and each is a sequel.  True concentration is the fruit of calculated dispersion.

The Concentrated Essence of Strategy and Tactics
1.  Adjust your end to your means.
2.  Keep your object always in mind, while adapting your plan to circumstances.
3.  Choose the line (or course) of least expectation.
4.  Exploit the line of least resistance.
5.  Take a line of operation which offers alternative objectives.

...There is no more common mistake than to confuse a single line of operation, which is usually wise, with a single objective, which is usualy futile.  (If this maxim applies mainly to strategy, it should be applied where possible to tactics, and does, in effect, form the basis of infiltraton tactics.)

6.  Ensure that both plan and dispositions are flexible - adaptable to circumstances.  Your plan should foresee and provide for a next step in case of success or failure, or partial success - which is the next common case in war.  Your dispositions (or formation) should be such as to allow this exploitation or adaptation in the shortest possible time.

7.  Do not throw your weight into a stroke whilst your opponent is on guard - whilst he is well placed to parry or evade it.
8.  Do not renew an attack along the same line (or in the same form) after it has once failed.

The essential truth underlying these maxims is that, for success, two major problems must be solved - _dislocation_ and _exploitation_.  One precedes and one follows the actual blow - which in comparison is a simple act.  You cannot hit the enemy with effect unless you have first created the opportunity;  you cannot make that effect decisive unless you exploit the second opportunity that comes before he can recover.

The importance of these two problems has never been adequately recognized - a fact which goes far to explaining the common indecisiveness of warfare.  The training of armies is primarily devoted to developing efficiency in the detailed execution of the _attack_.  This concentration on tactical technique tends to obscure the psychological element.  It fosters a cult of soundness, rather than of surprise.  It breeds commanders who are so intent not to do anything wrong, according to "the book,” that they forget the necessity of making the enemy do something wrong.  The result is that their plans have no result.  For, in war, it is by compelling mistakes that the scales are most often turned.

… the unexpected cannot guarantee success.  But it guarantees the best chance of success.

(351)  The military objective is only a means to a political end. Hence the the military objective should be governed by the political objective, subject to the basic condition that policy does not demand what is militarily - that is, practically - impossible.

…The object of war is a better state of peace - even if only from your point of view.  Hence it is essential to conduct war with constant regard to the peace you desire.  This applies both to aggressor nations who seek expansion and to peaceful nations who only fight for self-preservation - although their views of what is meant by a better state of peace are very different.

… History shows that gaining military victory is not in itself equivalent to gaining the object of policy.  But as most of the thinking about war has been done by men of the military professon there has been a very natural tendency to lose sight of the basic national object, and identify it with the military aim.  In consequence, whenever war has broken out, policy has too often been governed by the military aim - and this has been regarded as an end in itself instead of as merely a means to the end.

(355)  For by making battle appear the only “real warlike activity,” his {Clausewitz] gospel deprived strategy of its laurels, and reduced the art of war to the mechanics of mass-slaughter.  Moreover, it incited generals to seek battle at the _first_ opportunity, instead of creating an _advantageous_ opportunity.

(362)  Whereas strategy is only concerned with the the problem of winning military victory, grand strategy must take the longer view - for its problem is the winning of the peace.  Such an irder of thought is not a matter of “putting the cart before the horse,” but of being clear where the horse and cart are going.

(364)  …”the least possible permanent injury, for the enemy of today is the customer of the morrow and the ally of the future.”
NB:  he rejects strategic bombing on civilian targets, believes it should concentrate on communications and logistics structure instead

(368)  Economy of force and deterrent effect are best combined in the defensive-offensive method, based on high mobility that carries the power of quick riposte.

(369)  Although war is contrary to reason, since it is a means of deciding issues by force when discussion fails to produce an agreed solution, the conduct of war must be controlled by reason if its object is to be fulfilled.  For -
(1)  While fighting is a physical act, its direction is a mental process.  The better your strategy, the easier you will gain the upper hand, and the less it will cost you.

(2)  Conversely, the more strength you waste the more you increase the risk of the scales of war turning against you;  and even if you succeed in winning the victory, the less strength you will have to profit by the peace.

(370)  (3)  The more brutal your methods the more bitter you will make your opponents, with the natural result of hardening the resistance you are trying to overcome;  thus, the more evenly the two sides are matched the wiser it will be to avoid extremes of violence which tend to consolidate the enemy’s troops and people behind their leaders.

(4)  These calculations extend further.  The more intent you appear to impose a peace entirely of your own choosing, by conquest, the stiffer the obstacle you will raise in your path.

(5)  Furthermore, if and when you reach your military goal, the more you ask of the defeated side the more trouble you will have and the more cause you will provide for an ultimate attempt to reverse the settlement achieved by the war.

Force is a vicious circle - or rather, a spiral - unless its application is controlled by the most carefully reasoned calculations.  Thus war, which begins by denying reason, comes to vindicate it - throughout all phases of the struggle.

… Victory in the true sense implies that the state of peace, and of one’s people, is better after the war than before.

…  It is wiser to run risks _of_ war for the sake of preserving peace than to run risks of exhaustion _in_ war for the sake of finishing with victory - a concluison that runs counter to custom but is supported by experience.
NB:  Sun Tzu - no nation benefits from long war

(373)  If you wish for peace, prepare for war.

…If you wish for peace, understand war - particularly the guerrilla and subversive forms of war.

(374)  A wider and more profound treatment of the subject appeared a century later in TE Lawrence’s _Seven Pillars of Wisdom_.  That masterly formulation of the theory of guerrilla warfare focused on its offensive value, and was the product of his combined experience and reflection during the Arab Revot against the Turks, both as a struggle for independence and as part of the Allied campaign against Turkey.

(375)  [1954 after hydrogen bomb]  Vice-President Nixon then announced:  “We have adopted a new principle.  Rather than let the Communists nibble us to death all over the world in little wars, we will rely in future on massive mobile retaliatory powers.”

….The policy did not make sense, and the natural effect was to stimulate and encourage the forms of aggression by erosion to which nuclear weapons were an inapplicable counter.
NB:  stimulated the activity Nixon’s action was supposed to quell

(376-377)  Guerrilla warfare must always be dynamic and must maintain momentum.  Static intervals are more detrimental to its success than in the case of regular warfare, as they allow the opponent to tighten his grip on the country and give rest to his troops while tending to dampen the impulse of the population to join or help the guerrillas.  Static defense has no part in guerrilla action, and fixed defense no place, except in the momentary way involved in laying an ambush.

Guerrilla action reverses the normal practice of warfare strategically by seeking to avoid battle and tactically by evading any engagement where it is likely to suffer losses.

…”Hit and run” is a better term, being more comprehensive.  For a multiplicity of minor coups and threats can have a greater effect in tipping the scales than a few major hits, by producing more cumulative distraction, disturbance,and demoralisation among the enemy, along with a more widespread impression among the population.  Ubiquity combined with intangibility is a basic secret of progress in such a campaign.  Moveroever, “tip and run” is often the best way to fulfill the offensive purpose of luring the enemy into ambushes.  

Guerrilla war, too, inverts one of the main principles of orthodox war, the principle of “concentration” - and on both sides.  Dispersion is an essential condition of survival and success on the guerrilla side, which must never present a target and thus can operate only in minute particles, though these may momentarily coagulate like globules of quicksilver to overwhelm some weakly guarded objective.  For guerrillas the principle of “concentration” has to be replaced by that of “fluidity of force” - which will also have to be adopted and modified by regular forces when operating under a liability of bombardment by nuclear weapons.  Dispersion is also a necessity on the side opposed to the guerrillas, since there is no value in a narrow concentration of force against such elusive forces, nimble as mosquitoes.  The chance of curbing them lies largely in being able to extend  a fine but closely woven net over the widest possible area.  The more extensive the controlling net, the more likely that anti-guerrilla drives will be effective.

The ratio of space to forces is a key factor in guerrilla war.  This was vividly expressed in Lawrence’s mathematical calculation about the Arab Revolt - that to hold it in check, the Turks would “have need of a fortified post every four square miles, and a post could not be less than twenty men,”  so the requirement would be 600,000 men for the area they were trying to control, whereas they had only 100,000 available.

(378)  The ratio of space to forces is a basic factor, but the product varies with the type of country and the relative mobility of the two sides, as well as their relative morales.  Rugged or forest country is the most favourable to guerrillas.  Deserts have diminished value for them with the development of mechanised ground forces and aircraft.  Urban areas have mixed advantages and handicaps, but tend on balance to be unfavorable to guerrilla operations, although good ground for a subversive campaign.

…  A guerrilla movement that puts safety first will soon wither.  Its strategy must always aim to produce the enemy’s increasing overstretch, physical and moral.
NB:  Inducing overstretch and loss of equilibrium through safety first?

The mathematical-cum-geographical factors and situation represented in the ratio of space to forces cannot be separated from the psychological-cum-political factors and situation.  For the prospects and progress of a guerrilla mvoement depend on the attitude of the people in the area where the struggle takes place - on their willingness to aid it by providing information and supplies to the guerrillas by withholding information from the occupying force while helping to hide the guerrillas.  A primary condition of success is that the enemy must be kept “in the dark” while the guerrillas operate in the light of superior local knowledge combined with reliable news about the enemy’s dispositions and moves.  That mental light is all the more necessary because guerrilla moves must be carried out largely at night for security and surprise.  The extent to which they obtain the details and speedy news required depends on their progress in gaining the aid of the local population.

(379)  Guerrilla war is waged by the few but dependent on the support of the many.  Although in itself the most individual form of action, it can operate effectively and attain its end only when collectively backed by the sympathy of the masses.

…In the past, guerrilla war has been a weapon of the weaker side, and thus primarily defensive, but in the atomic age it may be increasingly developed as a form of aggression suited to exploit the nuclear stalemate.  Thus the concept of “cold war” is out of date, and should be superseded by that of “camouflaged war.”

… War is always a matter of doing evil in the hope that good may come of it, and it is very difficult to show discrimination without failing in determination.  Moreover the cautious line is usually a mistake in battle, where it is too commonly followed, so that it rarely receives  credit on the higher plane of war policy, where it is more often wise but usually unpopular. In the fever of war, public opinion craves for the most drastic measures, regardless of where they may lead.

(380)  …But when these back-area campaigns [guerrilla actions in France and Balkans during WWII] were analysed, it would seem that their effect was largely in proportion to the extent to which they were combined with the operations of a strong regular army that was engaging the enemy’s front and drawing off his reserves.  They rarely became more than a nuisance unless they coincided with the fact, or imminent threat, of a powerful offensive that absorbed the enemy’s main attention.

At other times they were less effective than widespread passive resistance - and brought far more harm to the people of their own country.  They provoked reprisals much more severe than the injury inflicted on the enemy.  They afforded his troops the opportunity for violent action that is always a relief to the nerves of a garrison in an unfriendly country.  The material damage that the guerrillas produced directly, and indirectly in the course of reprisals, caused much suffering among their own people and ultimately became a handicap to recovery after liberation.

But the heaviest handicap of all, and the most lasting one, was of a moral kind.  The armed resistance movement attracted many “bad hats.”  It gave them licence to indulge their vices and work off their grudges under the cloak of patriotism, thus giving the point to Dr Johnson’s historic remark that “patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.”  Worse still was its wider effect on the younger generation as a whole.  It taught them to defy authority and break the rules of civic morality in the fight against the occupying forces.  This left a disrespect for “law and order” that inevitably continued after the invaders had gone.

Violence takes much deeper root in irregular warfare than it does in regular warfare.  In the latter is it counteracted by obedience to constituted authority, whereas the former makes a virtue of defying authority and violating rules.  It becomes very difficult to rebuild a country, and a stable state, on a foundation undermined by such experience.

Eric Dorman-Smith on 1940-1942 North African Campaign 
(384)  As Wavell once wrote me:  “A little unorthodoxy is a dangerous thing, but without it one seldom wins battles.”

(395)  Attack and defence must be employed according to the dictates of obliquity.  Strategic defense may dictate attack.  Strategical attack may best derive from an initial tactical defensive.  The attitude of mind is important.  Obliquity is always offensive.  A defensive _spirit_ towards one’s opponent, however powerful he may appear, is a defeated spirit.  The object of obliquity is to find the chink in the armor, the mental armour at that.  One’s object is the psychological disruption of the oppoising command, and the yardstick of success is the degree of freedom of action one enjoys at the end of the process.  To this end one seeks all possible means of keeping the enemy guessing, hence the value of alternative objectives.  But there are no tangible rules and there is no hope for the direct-minded “bon general ordinaries” to whom the “dust upom the shewbread is holy over all.”  

There is little doubt that the true mental qualities for succes on all the planes of military action are common sense, reason and obliquity;  and the last quallity becomes the more necessary as one ascends the scale to the plane of independent command.  The way of the indirect approach is assuredly the way to win wars.

(396)  Let us examine what this requires:  Against the principle of surprise - continuous activity by the various intelligence agencies.  Against the principle of maintenance-of-aim - tactical diverisonary attacks and strategical, psychological and political offensives.  Against the principle of economy-of-force - attacks against lines of communications and stores in the rear, thereby pinning down the enemy’s forces and dispersing them. Against the principle of coordination - strike against the channels of administration.  Against the principle of concentration - diversationary attacks and air activity to split up the enemy’s forces.  Against the principles of security - sum total of the above activities and those that follow.  Against the principle of offensive-spirit - offensive spirit. Against the principle of mobility - destruction of lines of  communications.

(397)  To exploit the principles of war for our purpose and base ourselves upon strategic indirect approach, so as to determine the issue of the fighting even before fighting has begun, it is necessary to achieve the three following aims:

(a) to cut the enmy’s lines of communication, thus paralyzing his physical build-up;
(b) to seal him off from his lines of retreat, thus undermining the enemy’s will and destroying his morale;
(c) to hit his centres of administration and disrupt his communications, thus severing the link between his brain and his limbs.

Reflection on these three aims proves the truth of Napoleon’s saying:  “The whole secret of the art of war lies in the ability to become master of the lines of communication."

(398) Yigael Yadin on 1948 Arab-Israeli War:  See in this connection the very lucid considerations of Jacob in his preparations for battle with Esau in Genesis 32.  Liddell Hart very aptly wrote:  “A plan, like a tree must have branches if it is to bear fruit;  a plan with a single aim is apt to prove a barren pole.”

(400)  “Operation Ayin” demonstrated clearly the truths mentioned above - that the aim of a strategical plan is to decide the issue of battle even before battle begins, or at least to create such conditions that the battle itself is sure to bring about a decision.

(401)   The various “Rhodes operations” and the operation for our establishment in Elath as well as our expansion in the so-called trinagle and Wadi Arah (Megiddo Pass) bring out the lesson that the tools employed in strategy often differ from the tools employed in tactics - in that strategy sometimes chooses political tools to achieve conditions favorable to tactical decision.  These tools, when they succeed, save a great deal of blood and sweat.