Clauswitz vs. Sun Tzu: Who wins?

Daniel: while I’ll not disagree with you on Nathan Bedford Forrest as a human being, it doesn’t detract from the truth that he was a tactical spitfire and able commander, as well as a charismatic leader of troops, and brave to a fault (in open battle; his “midnight rides” were blatant, cowardly terrorism). It’s like deriding Rommel as a Nazi stooge.

I think Sun-Tzu has captured the essence of strategic warfare more accurately than Von Clauswitz. Most battles are decided prior to their even being fought. Factor in training, weapons, morale, intelligence, deception, logistics, maneuver and position (ground); all usually taken care of by careful, thoughtful commanders prior to the commencement of hostilities. Disparity of weapons can be alleviated by other factors (as the Vietnamese ably demonstrated). The battle (usually) goes to the commander who has most ably considered and factored these variables into his/her battle plan. Win enough of these battles, with a coherent overall strategic plan working towards a defined strategic objective, and you will usually win the war.

Factor these variables well enough, and you may just win the war without having to fight, or at least having to fight a long, attritional war.

Read any of General Schwarzkopf’s journals/notes concerning the Pesian Gulf, and you clearly get the impression that he considered Hussein’s days severely numbered prior to the commencement of the air war, and had the tools and the plan to make it so.

I am often curious as to what the political landscape of the middle-east might look like today if the Persian Gulf (War? Conflict?) had been allowed to progress to its natural conclusion.

Note to the Doves: I was a combat soldier in that conflict; I am not idly or cavalierly advocating the additional loss of life that a protracted engagemnent would have caused. That was my ass, too!