The Foundation for Constitutional Democracy

02-Jan-2009

To Israel’s General Staff: Lessons From A Master of War

Filed under: Gaza IncursionMilitary Strategy — eidelberg @ 7:28 am Edit This

Israel is at war. Israel’s General Staff would do well to emulate George S. Patton, the general most feared by Nazi Germany.

On the eve of battle, Patton would admonish his soldiers: “The object of war is not to die for your country. It is to make the other poor dumb bastard die for his.” This requires confronting and killing the enemy on the battlefield.

“Never let the enemy rest.” No cease-fires or hudnas. Unconditional surrender should be Israel’s proclaimed war aim!

“We want the enemy to know that they are fighting the toughest fighting men in the world!” This precludes benevolence (which Arabs despise). Just as Hezbollah warriors would show no mercy to you, so you should show no mercy to them. These warriors must be killed even if this results in civilian casualties.

“Forget about army regulations … [which] are written by those who have never been in battle…Our only mission in combat is to win.” Hence general officers may sometimes have to disobey orders of the political echelon!

Patten’s famous admonition, “Grab the Enemy by the nose and kick him in the pants,” though simple, is profoundly significant in the war between Jews and Arabs. Israel must devastate the Arabs or Muslims from top to bottom so as to erase the Islamic arrogance that prompts them to wage war against “infidels.”

The Government must heed the principles of war, which requires it to order the IDF to confront and kill the enemy primarily on the battlefield. Bombing the enemy’s infrastructure should not obscure the importance of destroying the enemy’s ground forces. The defeat of these Arab warriors must be so thorough that it will eradicate their desire to wage war for a hundred years—the policy of the Allies powers that made militant Germany and Japan lovers of peace.

The Government should not be deterred by fear of world opinion, UN condemnation, and possible sanctions. This fear cannot but undermine the General Staff and the fighting spirit of Israeli soldiers. This fear is baseless.

It is of capital importance that Israel’s ruling elites pursue the war in Gaza as a war between good and evil. The IDF will have to become a virtual killing machine to stop the killing once and for all!

Israel’s victory in this war will ultimately depend on whether its General Staff is animated by the profound sense of good and evil that inspired America’s greatest generals—suffice to mention, along with Patten, William Tecumseh Sherman of Civil War fame. Both generals inspired their armies with complete confidence in the justice of their cause. Yet both pursued a war strategy that actually minimized casualties on all sides. They imbued their soldiers with the will to win and in the shortest possible time. This requires the use of overwhelming force and the uninterrupted attack.

The general who believes in the justice of his country’s cause will not shy from cruelty against Hamas because it is by means of cruelty that he can shorten the war and thus minimize bloodshed. Thus, in this war between good and evil, those Israeli generals who implement the principles of war will be our greatest humanists.[1]


[1] Although many deemed Patten a supreme egoist, his egoism was fired by patriotism and constrained by morality. Consider how a commander recalled a speech of Patten to his men:

The General’s speech … was a little different from the movie version [“Patten”]. For one thing it was bloodier. He suggested ways to make the enemy suffer. And he closed by quoting part of Kipling’s “Recessional.” At the end every man in the combat team cheered, a genuinely spontaneous cheer. And there were cries of “More! More!” The General grinned and came down the steps, entered his car, and was gone. The troops were dismissed but the excitement lingered … Never before had they heard a general talk like that. He had made a deep impression.

Ponder Kipling’s “Recessional.”

God of our fathers, known of old,
     Lord of our far-flung battle line,
Beneath whose awful hand we hold
     Dominion over palm and pine—
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget!

The tumult and the shouting dies;
     The Captains and the Kings depart;
Still stands Thine ancient sacrifice,
     An humble and a contrite heart.
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget!

Far-called our navies melt away;
     On dune and headland sinks the fire;
Lo, all our pomp of yesterday
     Is one with Nineveh and Tyre!
Judge of the Nations, spare us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget!

If, drunk with sight of power, we loose
     Wild tongues that have not Thee in awe,
Such boastings as the Gentiles use,
     Or lesser breeds without the Law—
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget!

For heathen heart that puts her trust
     In reeking tube and iron shard—
All valiant dust that builds on dust,
     And guarding calls not Thee to guard.
For frantic boast and foolish word,
Thy Mercy on Thy People, Lord!