NationStates Jolt Archive

Warfare - The Wherefores and Whats

03-12-2004, 23:05

Warfare - The Wherefores and Whats

Warfare - Opening thoughts

Nations and war; the two, today, seem to go hand in hand. In days of yore, when the world was a larger place, and great aircraft did not stream from point to point, carrying millions of people to thousands of places every instant of every day, war was no less constant. Rare have been the days when no wars at all have been fought, if there have been such days at all.

The history of war is a history of blood; an endless cycle of pain that all - or at least almost all - Sentient life is seemingly infected with. The urge to kill through lust or greed or desire for vengeance stalks us all; it is within our hearts, one and all. To deny it is to triumph; to give in to it is to lose sight of that which makes us Sentient - rationality. Sentients, except artificial intelligences, are not and never have been logical; we are rational, and, by our very make-up, incapable of logic. We are not digital creatures; our mind does not depend on digital circuits to complete the most difficult of tasks, but is in essence a quantum computer, harnessing the laws of physics to produce answers to questions.

But we are not just our brains; there is more to being Sentient than just this. After all, we listen to our own thoughts; who is listening? What is it that listens? What is it that speaks? Are they seperate, or are they the same? Some claim to know for certain; I believe I know for certain that I have a spirit - but others claim otherwise. It is all in perception, it has been claimed, but I believe this not at all. Yet my own opinions are barely even worth examining; they are irrelevant to the discussion contained in this volume.

Warfare haunts us today, tomorrow, yesterday, and will haunt us until the very End. It is as it is; I know where the blame must be laid, but that, too, is irrelevant to the discussion.

Warfare is not about the right, but the wrong. It is not the glorious triumph which brings victory - but the terrible error of the enemy. We do not win by our own hands; the enemy always loses by theirs. Therefore, all warfare must be geared towards provoking mistakes. The enemy must be placed off-balance at every oppurtunity; meanwhile we must strive to prevent mistakes, by examining every decision thoroughly.

Yet delay can be a mistake; thus we find that balance is required, for we must equally examine as we must equally be hasty; and in this we find the complexity of war.

The Confusion of War

War is, in iteslf, confusing. Many people never completely understand why wars are fought; why it is that men fling themselves to their deaths time and time again, ever and anon for a single cause or sometimes even a single voice declaring it should be so; and this confusion, this complexity, is too difficult to even consider approaching. Nor is it entirely relevant.

Yet this very confusion itself can be used to the advantage of the cunning general. The enemy may not understand why they are fighting; they may believe in their cause, but not wish to fight for it, but feel cornered; this is the true value of propaganda and psy-warfare.

Psy-warfare is all forms of battle or combat which do not take place on the field of death, but in the hearts and minds of the enemy; if we must defeat a man politically, we must first defeat his name: thus it is so in war. Politics and war are alike in many ways, indeed.

To defeat a name, it would be expected that we must break it into pieces as violently as possible, and stamp upon the remains until not a single mote of dust can be found of it. Yet that is not so. To defeat a name, we must not strive to destroy it; in destroying it we reform it only, for there are always shards remaining - and these always move on to create the new. A good example of this is found in agronomy; if there is an invading organism in a field, it is not always wise to eliminate it; sometimes it is better to co-opt the virus, to force it to become symbiotic instead of parasitical. Indeed, this can often be turned to the advantage of the grower: for he now has found a new, powerful ally.

Yet this is not a method which is bound to bring success. The enemy may not be weak enough, psychologically, to accept the new information and be altered as that organism would be; this scenario brings different requirements.

In this case, the 'name' of the enemy no longer holds the same importance. The name unbreakable is not useful, for to be so terrifically unbreakable, it must be unyielding, too. The unyielding may be shattered where it cannot be forged anew; this, too, is a task for propaganda, but force projection is also required. The enemy needs to be weakened first - but whilst it is weakened, it must also be lead down new paths: oftentimes a foe in debate may be lead down confusing conversational paths, until at last they find themselves arguing from the point at which you have started; so too can this be accomplished in war.

Yet it is rarely wise to attempt to stain the name of an enemy unless the words spoken are truthful; and restraint is ever required, lest the enemy turn those very words backwards, and attack with them. Thus psy-warfare is complex in its intricacies, and is the truest form of war; no general which fails here can expect victory.

~ excerpt from War - The Wherefores and Whats, by High Sea Admiral Ter Duthrak-Rihad, inked in the year 1971 c.e. / 1952 f.e.

[OOC: The IC tag at the top is to make sure everyone knows this is in-character. I'll add to it again tomorrow.]
[EDIT - Brain went insane. Correction to dates made.]

[OOC2/EDIT: Ack! This was supposed to, and should be, in the NS forum. Could one of you kindly forum mods move it for me, pretty please and thank you?]
03-12-2004, 23:49
There we go, II gets shafted once again....
04-12-2004, 01:11
There we go, II gets shafted once again....

[OOC: Huh? What I meant is simple: this is clearly not an international incident, but is (currently) merely excerpts (well, an excerpt) from an IC book. So it does not belong in II, does it? That's all I meant.

I most certainly was not 'shafting' II. That'd surely be rather painful, anyway...]
04-12-2004, 01:16
I was just referring to the fact that II is sometimes in need of quality posts such as yours. I wasn't aware it was part of a book I thought it was a precursor to something larger having to do with statecraft and the like, my bad.
05-12-2004, 19:12
[OOC: Yeah, actually, it will do at some future point. It'll tie in with a coupla other threads...

But anyhow, sorry for the misunderstanding. 'Shaft' probably means something different where you are.]
11-12-2004, 02:14
The Confusion of War - Sewing The Fields

Warfare is similar in many ways to farming, as farming is similar in some ways to engineering. Both the farmer and the engineer lay 'foundations' before any great work can be completed; so too is it with the general, the admiral, the field marshal. No battle is won without long and arduous preperations; and no war is won without those battles, which often lead to the decisive victory which may end a war in the favour of the general who laid the better foundations; who ensured that his soil was properly wet, and properly fed his crops, so that they might grow tall and strong and great.

Yet although the preperations of war are eminently important, they do not define the victory. As stated previously, wars are decided not by he who makes no mistakes, but by he who makes the last mistake. The general who strives to make no errors takes no risks; that general is a general with no victories, for victory always comes at a price of risk.

The preperations of war are obvious ones, and are primarily logistical. In modern militaries, this is not really the domain of the general, but of officers specifically trained to handle such operations. Nevertheless, it is the duty of a commanding officer to ensure that the officers beneath him or her in the hierarchy carry out their duties correctly; so in a very real fashion, nothing has truly changed. But these are not the preperations I speak of.

Although no war has ever been won by an army that had no equipment, equally no war has ever been won by an untrained rabble lead by an incompetent who expected victory as he had greater numbers. Small victories in battle may be won in this manner, but not wars.

To engage in combat is to engage in deceit. This brings up issues of honour, of course, but what is honour? Is it honourable to be killed when one might have survived? One could say that depends entirely on the circumstances. I personally would rather die than stab an enemy in the back; yet others may see differently. My own people, currently, by social tradition and cultural expectance, hold the former viewpoint. But this is not a viewpoint which always guarantees victory; this, then, is the land of morals and ethics which we enter, and not strategy and tactics.

Moving back into our former zone of discussion, how best, then, do we prepare for war?

We prepare by laying down interference patterns. The enemy cannot know what our first move shall be, so we must give them false ideas. They must be lead to believe that we are either

1. Weak.
2. Incapable.
3. Far less able than we are in actuality.

This approach generally might be seen to require sacrifice of lives, but this is not so. Instead, we must be very liberal with what information is made available. The media can be manipulated to provide information which is, in essence but not actuality, true. This information is likely to be presented in a bad light; this may damage home morale in the short term, but the dividends paid by having an overconfident enemy can repay this loss tenfold, if applied correctly.

It is also important to remain unpredictable. Emotional investment often creates an air of predictability; the commander who responds to emotions inappropriately during combat will make themselves eminently predictable to any good general; for any good general is also a psychologist, a studier of Sentient behaviour. And almost all Sentients share a common trait; when we are emotional, we follow set behavioural patterns.

Therefore, the first duty of the soldier - any soldier - is to break those patterns and establish new ones. This is the purpose of most training regimes currently in effect in Iluvauromen, although not all people involved in them understand this. The problem with 'reprogramming' troops in this way, however, is that it can sometimes - especially post-combat - leave them incapable of dealing with social life on exit from the armed services. Yet this is a sacrifice many still remain perfectly willing to make; good patriotic people who are willing to fight for their country. Yet is this the only way we can achieve victory?

This remains unclear. There are surely other methods, but this psychological training is imperative to achieve unpredictability. Without that unpredictability, war may become that most dangerous of all entities: a rational, predictable war - a war with horrific casualties, in other words.

~ excerpt from War - The Wherefores and Whats, by High Sea Admiral Ter Duthrak-Rihad, inked in the year 1971 c.e. / 1952 f.e.