15 September 2010

Periclean strategy

"It was Periclean strategy, after all, that defined the new war as battle not between hoplites or even sailors but rather soldiers against the property of everyday folks. This moral quandary also remains with us today, and it has been raised in connection with the controversial careers of William Tecumseh Sherman, Lord Kitchener, Curtis LeMay, who all argued that battle is ultimately powered by civilians and thus only extinguished when they cannot or will not pledge their labour and capital to those on the battlefield.

Was it a more moral and effective strategy to burn the slave estates and ruin the property of the plantation class of Georgia, which had fuelled succession, or to have Ulysses Grant kill thousands of largely young and non-slave-owning youth in northern Virginia in open battle? Far worse still, was Curtis LeMay a war criminal who burnt down the cities of Japan, killing tens of thousands of civilians with his napalm-fed infernos? Or, in effect did he shorten the war and punish those in Tokyo's household factories whose labour produced planes, shells and guns without which the Japanese imperial army could never have murdered thousands of innocent Koreans, Chinese, Filipinos and killed so many American servicemen?"

Quote from 'A War like no other: How the Athenians and Spartans fought the Peloponnesian War' by Victor Davis Hanson

What do you think? What is your opinion?

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