How to fight to win

I was talking with one of my readers in real life - yes, that does happen from time to time - and we got to jawin' on the subject of what true and total war actually looks like, riffing off of the fact that His Most Benevolent and Legendary Celestial Majesty, the God-Emperor of Mankind, Donaldus Triumphus Magnus Astra, the First of His Name, pulled the Astra Militarum out of one Middle Eastern hellhole and started the long and difficult process of bringing them back home.

(I seriously need to create a shortcut key to paste in His Glorious Majesty's title. He's an effin' legend, easily the best President for over a hundred years - barring perhaps St. Reagan of the Right - but typing all of that out gets tiresome after a while.)

We were talking about this because both of us were highly amused at all of the wailing and chest-thumping about the poor Kurds and the impact of the war in Syria upon them and their children. And we then got to discussing what it would look like when a nation actually went to war to crush its enemies, not merely defeat them and establish a government in the wake of that victory.

This was, and is, germane because of the way that the United States of America in particular, and the Western powers in general, have fought wars since WWII.

The Western way of war, to borrow a phrase (and a book title) from that most excellent of military historians, Dr. Victor Davis Hanson, has come down to Americans and Europeans through the filters of the hoplite formations of the ancient Greeks, the awesome iron discipline of the Roman legions, the chivalric codes of the Christian European knights, and the crucibles of brutal wars fought on distant battlefields.

This has bred into the minds of Western military strategists and warfighters a deep-seated, and frankly misguided, belief that "war is something that happens 'out there', away from population centres and innocent people, and that's where it should be kept".

This is a humane, decent, chivalrous, and noble way to fight. This method of war keeps civilian casualties to a minimum. It is an admirable philosophy of war that Western civilisations and nations have tried, albeit with many glaring exceptions and failures, to adhere to, especially over the past 100 years.

It is also a great way to lose wars when fighting against cultures that don't play by the same rules.

All you have to do is to observe the record of the US military over the past 75 years, since the end of WWII. There is precisely one war in that timespan which the US military can justifiably claim to have won, and that is Gulf War I - and, of course, whenever one brings up that example, it must be remembered that by most measures the USA didn't actually finish that war, because Iraq's government never actually surrendered.

This is germane to the current hand-wringing and crocodile tears concerning the Kurds because it is worth remembering precisely how wars in that part of the world tend to be won.

If you actually look at the history of successful invading armies, what did they do?

One example that comes to mind very easily is that of the Mongols fighting the Khwarezmids. And the Mongol armies of Genghis Khan were so utterly barbaric, ruthless, savage, and horrifyingly lethal in combat that they left razed cities, smoking ruins, rivers of blood, and pyramids of skulls in their wake.

The Khwarezmid civilisation, heir to all of the ancient glories of well over 4,000 years of Persian accomplishments, was wiped out as if it had never existed.

This is important for Americans to understand. If you really want to bend a country to your will, if you really want to win a war outright in a foreign land where the people do not share anything like your culture or history, then this is what you have to do:

You have to invade with absolute, overwhelming force - you don't have to be numerically superior (the Mongols were often outnumbered, at least at the beginning of the great westward expansions of the horde), but you do need to have superior tactics and strategies and at least some superior technologies.

Your troops must be absolutely committed to the fight. There must be no deviation whatsoever from clearly established goals. The rules of engagement have to be as loose as possible and must favour your own troops in every possible situation - a good rule of thumb in this situation being, "If it moves, it dies".

Your goals must be clearly and absolutely stated. There can be no sympathy whatsoever for your enemy, no acknowledgement of his humanity, no desire to offer honourable terms of surrender.

You have to slaughter every enemy combatant where possible, down to the last man.

You have to brutalise the enemy's population, burn his cities, ransack his grain stores, destroy his farms, drink his rivers dry, confiscate his cattle, wipe out his infrastructure, and utterly destroy any possibility that your enemy has to wage war.

You have to utterly break your enemy's will to fight by killing so many of his people, in such crushing and public and humiliating fashion, that the rest of the people cry out to the heavens for mercy.

If your enemy worships different gods, you have to make his people bow down to you and convert to your faith at the point of a sword.

That is pitiless, merciless war. And I haven't even gone into the full horror of it yet. I wish I could find it, but back when was still a thing and LTC Tom Kratman was writing for it, he wrote up a response to whichever gormless doofus of a Frog was President of his cucked-out country at the time, in which said El Presidente said something about waging "pitiless war" on Islamists who attacked his country. In that article, LTC Kratman pointed out the true awfulness of such a war and made it clear that it would be so brutal, so horrific, that the French wouldn't have the stomach for it.

This does not mean that you entirely discard the Laws of War. Those laws have been derived from literally millennia of conflict and are designed to keep civilians at least somewhat safe from the ravages of war. But the Laws of War are not kind or nice. They are not particularly merciful beyond a certain point. They are designed to keep the most savage and barbaric instincts of men at bay, while still acknowledging that wars make beasts out of all sane men.

The USA has not fought these kinds of wars in its recent history. The last good example that you can find of American armies fighting like this would be General William Tecumseh Sherman's infamous March to the Sea.

Gen. Sherman was an interesting character. He was a loyal Unionist, but his views on slavery were remarkably sympathetic to the Southern position. And yet he believed that the Southerners who seceded from the Union were absolute traitors and deserved no mercy for their treason. He so brutalised the South, especially the state of Georgia, that to this day the Southern states have still not fully recovered from the horrors of the War Between the States - and yet, he didn't actually want to destroy civilian populations.

He did, however, want to break the Southern will to fight. And that is precisely what he did.

The US military has singularly failed to apply the lessons of Sherman's March to the Sea in its endless and incredibly stupid misadventures in the Sandbox and the Rockpile. America's political leaders never wanted to be seen as barbarians and conquerors. Both Presidents George W. Bush (the neoclown, not the elder statesman) and Barack Obama thought that they could become great humanitarians and peacemakers by bringing democracy and freedom and all other similar Good Things to a part of the world that has never really known them.

The sheer stupidity of these ideas was plainly obvious to anyone with any appreciation of history. That part of the world has not known anything approaching democracy in over EIGHT THOUSAND YEARS. What rule there has been in those vast deserts and plains was always delivered at the business end of a spear or a sword, and the ruler delivering that law did so with a fist clad in iron.

That is how life works in the Middle East, and in Afghanistan, and in most of the world if you think about it carefully enough. You will quickly realise that these quaint and charming notions of "democracy" and "freedom" are unique to the Western nations.

That these are genuinely wonderful and great concepts, ideas, and innovations is not up for debate. They certainly are. The Western way of war, and of life, is vastly preferable to any of the alternatives, which is why Dirt Worlders and camel-humping dune jockeys from the Arabian sands would dearly love to trade in their surroundings for Western ones if given a whisper of a chance.

But just because these are wonderful things, that does not mean that the USA has any business whatsoever attempting to export them by force of arms.

Look at the track record of American attempts to destabilise dictatorial regimes around the world and replace them with democratically elected governments.

In Egypt, the ailing dictator was deposed and replaced by the Muslim Brotherhood, and a nominal US ally was turned into a hostile foreign power.

In Libya, the despot was overthrown, captured, sodomised in the streets with an iron bar, and killed, and then his corpse was paraded around in the streets of the capital city - and then the American mission in Benghazi was attacked and very nearly overrun and four Americans paid with their lives because the President and the Secretary of State couldn't be arsed to rescue them, and now there are actual slave-markets flourishing in Tripoli.

In Iraq, the Ba'athist dictator was overthrown and eventually dragged out of a little spider-hole and put on trial, but the entire country went straight to Hell and gave rise to an actual Islamic Caliphate that the USA then had to spend years and billions fighting.

In Syria, attempts to overthrow the Ba'athist dictator resulted in a five-year-long intervention that ended with America's military power being shown for the paper tiger that it really is.

In Afghanistan, nineteen years of fighting have still not brought peace and democracy to a country with fractured tribal loyalties and an economy largely dependent on the production of one crop - poppies - that is used to create the very same opiates and opiods that are blighting the American heartland.

Wherever you go, the track record of the American empire remains exactly the same: dismal, repeated, awful failure, at truly horrendous cost to the American people in terms of blood and treasure.

If the USA were actually interested in winning the wars that it is fighting in the Middle East, it would immediately abandon this absurd pretence of nation-building and instead take a few pages out of the war strategy guides of far more savage and brutal races, such as the Mongols, the Huns, the Goths, or the Vandals, and simply straight-up murderise their enemies on the ground. Truly merciless, pitiless, ruthless war would be the order of the day - as would spreading Christianity at the point of a sword, as the conquistadores did in South America before a Papal Bull stopped them.

Now, let's be perfectly clear about one thing:

I do not advocate for these things.

I don't want to see America's moral character sullied by resorting to such horrible tactics. The Western way of war is enlightened and noble by any measure, especially when compared to the alternatives. And so it should stay that way, because one of the founding pillars of the West is Christian morality, and that same morality dictates to us as Christians that we must be merciful to our enemies and seek to convert them to our ways through reason and love, not wrath and hate.

I am not in favour of Americans and Westerners abandoning their civilised modes of warfare and their genuine, if naive, desire to spread peace and democracy to the rest of the world. While there is a sweetly charming stupidity about that attitude, it is still stupid - but at least Americans make it clear that they want others to share in the blessings of liberty. And those blessings are very real.

I do not want people to be slaughtered in their thousands and millions. I simply think that if America actually wants to fight wars, it should fight to win.

And in order to win, in certain parts of the world, it needs to be understood very firmly that "humane" methods of fighting simply don't work.

The God-Emperor was absolutely right to pull out of Syria. He is absolutely right to want to pull out of the Sandbox. And he is absolutely right to want to pull out of the Rockpile. The sooner that all of those troops are brought back to the USA and posted, preferably shoulder-to-shoulder, along the southern border with Mexico with orders to shoot to kill any asshole illegal invader that tries to get over the border into El Norte, the better.


  1. Dear France:

    Before we get to your current problems and recent events, a couple of questions: How does someone repay one’s mother for the gift of life and the burden of bearing? How does someone repay the midwife who unwrapped the umbilical from one’s infant neck, thereby saving one’s life?

    Those are the questions I think upon whenever I hear one of my fellow Americans verbally crapping on France, those, and that we owe you a debt we can’t ever really repay in full. Oh, sure, you went to war at least partly because it was to England’s disadvantage. Not too dissimilarly, we liberated you in 1944 because you were the path to Germany, which we wanted crushed. So what? Purity of aims, as much as a foolish consistency, is a hobgoblin of small minds. The history remains that we did liberate you. The history remains that you did help us to throw off foreign chains long ere that. The history, too, is that there was no particular shortage of Frenchmen and women who wanted to save us, in 1778, for our sakes and liberty’s, and not just for France. Neither was there any particular shortage of Americans, in 1918 or 1944, who fought with the goal of liberty for France, as of mankind in general, somewhere well-placed in their hearts.

    Speaking of fighting, wherever did this nonsense of French military incompetence and cowardice come from, anyway? I’ve even heard it from an expatriate Frenchwoman. It would have been news to Washington, I think, as to the Prussians at Jena or the Austrians at Marengo or the Russians at Borodino. One suspects the average German at Verdun would have been most surprised by the claim. Yes, you lost an important battle in 1940, but you lost, more than for any other reason, precisely because of your patriotism and courage from 1914 to 1918, and because, bled out by that, you let a certain kind of person take control of your country and discourse between the wars.

    Oh, yes, you have your weaknesses. Chief among these, I think, is a tendency to mistake elegance for intelligence, and, in accordance with that, to grant to your intellectual class – across the world a crew of elegant sounding dummies, by and large, and the same class, be it noted, that enervated you between the wars – far too much of a presumption of intelligence, and much more power than they can wisely or honestly use. More on them in a bit.

  2. You have two sets of enemies inside your country. One set are the unassimilated, indeed, increasingly unassimilated and by now well-nigh inassimilable, Moslems. Some of them, or their co-religionists, have just killed over a hundred – at last count one hundred and sixty or so; it will probably go up – of your citizens and legitimate foreign sojourners in Paris.

    Yes, yes, we all know that only American and Swiss Amish shout “Allahu Akbar” before firing into crowds, and that the American National Rifle Association is deeply enough troubled by problems in Syria to recruit and dispatch Methodist and Baptist suicide bombers. And, of course, it only happened because America killed the British lunatic known as Jihad John. Never mind that we just offed the bastard yesterday while attacks like those in Paris take from weeks to months to plan and prepare for; clearly we are to blame. And we can also be sure that it was in response to old child molesting allegations directed against Catholic priests. And, yes, as all right minded folks know, it was George W. Bush’s fault. And that passport showing one of the attackers was a “refugee” who passed through Greece seeking “asylum” was an obvious plant by the doubleplusungood forces of racism and reaction…

    Aren’t you sick yet of doublethink, newspeak, and lies? Surely you must be.

    How many of the attackers were French citizens? That, we don’t know, though at least one was. One would have been very surprised, indeed, however, to discover that none of them, and none of the people who aided them, were accorded the privilege of French citizenship. Their grandmothers and grandfathers were mostly trying to be French. Their grandchildren want to turn you into Dhimmis. Yes, sure, maybe they were not treated as well in the past as they might have been. So what, that ship has sailed. It is too late to undo any alleged injustices of the past. They detest you as they detest the Scandanavians, the Germans, the British, the Italians, and the Spanish. They detest you for what you are and for what you are not. They detest you because they see you are weak, because every time they demand it you bend over and grease yourselves to accommodate them. You cannot change this by anything beautiful or sensitive or wonderful or caring that is in your power. In the words of a certain group of entertainers of the 1960s and 1970s, “Money can’t buy [you] love.”

    The other enemies are your rulers, safe in their internationalist positions, denationalized themselves, well connected, corrupt, and not caring about you in the slightest. Note that people like Dominique Strauss-Khan and his colleagues do not just rape hotel maids; they’ve had you and yours and those of every state in the EU bent over and screwed for decades now. You know the group to which I refer; it is the same group that has been greasing the path to your future dhimmitude. Speaking of which, that recurring pain in your rectal orifice? That’s them.

    If you want a list of names of your enemies, you could start with the class rosters of Institut d'études politiques de Paris.

    Sad, is it not? You had a revolution to get rid of one set of aristocrats, and had another set within about fifteen years, if memory serves. At least the second set were mostly deserving. Would that you could have that second set of aristocrats again, for they loved you and would have, and did, die for you without counting. They were, even when foreign born, French in their hearts.

    Your current aristocracy? Your alumni of Sciences Po? They may care for their fantasies, France, but they do not care for you and yours. They may care about their own genitalia, as with Strauss-Khan, but not about the morally insignificant pieces of bipedal meat they use to satisfy same. Your people, France, are at least as subhuman sheep and cattle to your current rulers as ever they were to the aristocracy of the Ancien Régime.

  3. There is a solution to that problem. Go view this educational video for a while:

    Back? Ah, good. But you wonder how many of your rulers you can afford to guillotine? That’s not the question. The question is how many of the corrupt, treasonous, selfish, self-centered, solipsistic and often enough sociopathic swine of your ruling class you can afford to leave alive. While this may be a number above zero, it is not entirely clear that this is a number much above zero. Ah, but no matter; as a foreigner, it’s not my place to say how much exercise Madame needs, only to point out that she clearly needs some.

    Once you get rid of your new aristocracy, shaking off the shackles of the European Union and the Transnational treaty regimes should be a piece of cake. To give you a little moral assist in this, however…
    I mean this sincerely; until you and the other European states have destroyed the European Union you will have no European future.

    Sadly, though, the problem doesn’t end there. Get rid of your ruling class and destroy the EU and the big problem they’ve created for you remains: What do you do about the Moslems in your midst? As mentioned above, there’s nothing you can do to make them love you, nor even to tolerate you except as slaves, and assimilation has failed. Indeed, given the direction of counter-assimilation, one suspects at this point that they’re effectively inoculated against it. The result of this is shot up theaters, shot up restaurants, and bombs. Oh, and, of course, that one hundred and sixty or so dead previously mentioned.

    Hmmm, speaking of doublethink, newspeak, and lies, your current president has said, "Nous allons mener le combat, il sera impitoyable" It’s just more left wing drivel, intended to placate you with the sense that something is being done or soon will be. I hope that few or none of you are stupid enough to believe him.

  4. Let me tell you what a pitiless war would look like. Firstly, your armed forces would be culled of Moslems, with those in it interned. While this was going on, the police would have the DNA of the attackers analyzed. While the analysis was taking place the now culled armed forced, not least to include the Gendarmerie, would be surrounding the banlieus that contain the most Moslems. It would be announced that any Moslem found outside his or her home after dark, or more than 400 meters from it during the day, would be subject to summary execution. As wire was emplaced around one banlieu, thereby freeing up some troops, others would be encircled. Their orders would be to shoot anyone trying to leave though anyone would be allowed to enter. Food and water would be shut off. Then one by one you would go through the banliues, taking samples from everyone. Anyone whose DNA indicated they were related the attackers, male or female, old or newborn babe, would be killed on the spot. Then you would burn the mosques. You might potentially not kill the genetically implicated on the spot, but herd them into the mosques before you burn them. If you could identify one banlieu, or perhaps two or three, from which the bulk of the attackers originated or which provided the most non-combatant support, you would turn it into a modern Lidice or Ourador sur Glane.

    After that you would start processing the survivors for deportation, which deportation would be utterly pitiless, far worse than our “Trail of Tears,” and more like the Bataan Death March. Finally, assuming you were reasonably satisfied that ISIS / DAESH was behind this, you would use several of your not especially small number of nuclear weapons to destroy several of their strongholds and keep doing so until you ran out of nukes or targets.

    That is pitiless war. You’re not going to do it. Your president knows he’s not going to order it. He’s lying to you. You know he’s lying to you. Why do you put up with it? Because it sounds somewhat elegant, so long as you know there’s no reality to it?

    So what could you do that might be a little less “pitiless” than that. Well, there’s the following:

    1. Seal your borders and your seas. I don’t mean turn away boats carrying refugees, for them to try some other course later on; I mean sink them, destroy the lifeboats, machine gun the survivors, and dynamite the floating bodies. I mean shoot people trying to storm access control points and border fences. No, don’t worry about massive genocide; once you demonstrate that kind of resolve they’ll stop coming. Note, too, that when you seal your borders, the rest of Europe will have to as well, since they won’t be able to deal with the numbers. Ignore a self-righteous and smug Germany or England if they’re hiding behind your walls.
    2. Make a list of ten thousand, for a nice round number, prominent and radical imams and other Moslems. Round them up. Publish the first two thousand names. Shoot or hang or guillotine the top sixteen hundred, or whatever number is needed to make it ten for every one killed yesterday. Make it clear that it will become one hundred for one with the next attack or set of attacks, even as you round up another ten thousand. Should the UN try to censure you for violation of the Hostages Convention, a) remind them you never ratified it, b) announce your withdrawal of your accession, c) tell them to kiss your Gallic posterior, and d) veto it for good measure.
    3. Still identify the most guilty banlieu or two and make examples of them. Without going full Einsatzgruppe on them, deport everyone in them. Rejoice at any resistance since it will give you an excuse for something much more frightful.

  5. But you’re not going to do that either.

    One of the big, insuperable by any civilized means, problems you have is that your enemy is motivated primarily by, and cares primarily for, his faith and his blood. Give that enemy his due, he is sincere and he is by no means, as an individual, a coward. You cannot deter him by what you threaten against him; you can only deter him by threatening, credibly threatening, his faith and his family. And you won’t do the least portion of that either.

    Unfortunately, below that level what is left is a bunch of ineffectual feelgoodism, the kind of nonsense Hollande surely has in mind when he lies about being “pitiless.” Oh, I suppose there’ll be an idiotically ineffectual march, perhaps a bunch of Solidarité….oops, Amazon already beat me to that one…perhaps a new ribbon to wear, some candlelight vigils. “Pitiless” will mean giveaways and “outreach” and accommodation to the rules of Islam. It’s not going to work; it never works; accommodation to the rules of Islam only leads to the rule of Islam This leads to two possibilities, going to one of the regimes mentioned above, possibly too late, or surrender to dhimmitude.

    It’s entirely laughable, is it not? I’d laugh, too, except that we’re every bit as idiotic over here…which is a part, but not the whole, of why you can’t look to us for help. This is the kind of problem we’ve already demonstrated that we’re useless at. We cannot help you; you must sink or swim on your own. Yes, even if you were the midwife who, in more senses than one, delivered us. We cannot help you however desperately we wanted to. You must save yourselves.

    Unfortunately, in the world we live in, rather than the one we might like to live in, at this point saving yourselves probably means dispensing with pity. Sad, I agree, but you didn’t make the world. Neither did I. The world we live in, the world which will have no place for pity, was made by the kinds of people who come from Sciences Po, who formed the EU, who succor the UN, who have elegant sounding theories, but neither wisdom nor genuine intelligence.

    1. That's the one, right there. Exactly as remorseless, horrifying, logical, and accurate as I remember it ))

  6. Great article I must say I would argue that Ulysses S. Grant was the reason why the South lost the will. He keep the pressure up on the Southern army until they broke. From the wiki 'Grant was the only general during the Civil War who received the surrender of three Confederate armies'.

    Sherman keep his army moving when under Grant. The problem in the Civil War for the Union too many General appointed early were too cautious and scary to fight the South. The numbers, wealth and industry meant nothing under poor generals.

    I still think the civil did not need to happen, the combination of Lincoln poor leadership and State governments rush to secede. Yet Lincoln is seen as a great Leader when the civil war is in part cause by him. If the North had lost, well he would be seen as one of the stupidest and worst leaders in history. Kind like Churchill.

    1. He keep the pressure up on the Southern army until they broke

      Correct. The way to look at Gen. Grant is as a master strategist moving pieces around on a board - he knew what each one did and how to use it.

      Grant understood that the Union had all of the major advantages in terms of men, materiel, and industry, and knew that the way to win the war was to encircle the Confederacy - which is precisely what he did, on land and at sea. He then proceeded to cut the Confederacy in two by capturing key cities and forts along the Mississippi, and used the US Navy's blockade of New Orleans and other Southern ports to starve the South into submission even as he bled them dry on the battlefield.

      But it wasn't enough to whittle them down slowly. He needed to break their spirits as well. That is where Gen. Sherman came in. Grant knew that Sherman was a competent and skilled general who would not balk at brutal tactics against civilian populations. And he was right, which was why Sherman was used to great effect against Southern population centres.

      Yet Lincoln is seen as a great Leader when the civil war is in part cause by him. If the North had lost, well he would be seen as one of the stupidest and worst leaders in history. Kind like Churchill.

      History is, of course, written by the victors. Lincoln was staring down the barrel of a very difficult re-election campaign in 1864 and needed victories against the South to push him over the top - and he had to put a Southern Democrat, Andrew Johnson, on his ticket in order to win. The fact that he got assassinated only helped burnish his legend.

      Fortunately there have been several excellent histories and biographies of Lincoln published since then that have revealed him to be the tyrant and warmonger that he really was - just as with Churchill and others.


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