[ExI] Lawrence of Arabia on guerrilla strategy
rob4332000 at yahoo.com
Thu Nov 26 15:22:38 UTC 2009
T.E. Lawrence ("Lawrence of Arabia") on guerrilla strategy:
In pursuit of the ideal conditions we might kill Turks, because we disliked them very much; but the killing was a pure luxury. If they would go quietly the war would end.
... suppose we were (as we might be) an influence, an idea, a thing intangible, invulnerable, without front or back, drifting about like a gas? Armies were like plants, immobile, firm-rooted, nourished through long stems to the head. We might be a vapour, blowing where we listed. Our kingdoms lay in each man's mind; and as we wanted nothing material to live on, so we might offer nothing material to the killing.
Most wars were wars of contact, both forces striving into touch to avoid tactical surprise. Ours should be a war of detachment. We were to contain the enemy by the silent threat of a vast unknown desert, not disclosing ourselves til we attacked.
We might... develop a habit of never engaging the enemy. This would chime with the numerical plea for never affording a target.
Battles in Arabia were a mistake, since we profited in them only by the ammunition the enemy fired off.
Our cards were speed and time, not hitting power.
In character our operations of development for the final stroke should be like naval war, in mobility, ubiquity, independence of bases and communications, ignoring of ground features, of strategic areas, of fixed directions, of fixed points. 'He who commands the sea is at great liberty, and may take as much or as little of the war as he will.' And we commanded the desert.
Discrimination of what point of the enemy organism to disarrange would come to us with war practice. Our tactics should be tip and run: not pushes, but strokes. We should never try to improve an advantage. We should use the smallest force in the quickest time at the farthest place.
--SEVEN PILLARS OF WISDOM, Chapters 33 and 59
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