Break resolve, not things

Jeder sucht den anderen durch physische Gewalt zur Erfüllung seines Willens zu zwingen; sein nächster Zweck ist, den Gegner niederzuwerfen und dadurch zu jedem ferneren Widerstand unfähig zu machen.

Der Krieg ist also ein Akt der Gewalt, um den Gegner zur Erfüllung unseres Willens zu zwingen.
(Clausewitz, vom Kriege)

"Everybody strives by violence to force the other one to fulfill his will; the next purpose is to force the enemy down and thereby make him incapable of further resistance.

The war is therefore an act of violence, to force the enemy to fulfill our will."

That's a pretty good description of the real objective in war. But two total (world) wars and the decade-long threat of a perverted nuclear war casted a strong fog of war on its real objective.

War isn't about breaking things, it's about breaking the enemy's resolve to resist.

The Western forces haven't paid much attention to this in the past decades. Our politicians didn't do as well - our entire societies are under the impression that breaking stuff means to win.

Our forces are great in breaking things, but not so great in breaking resolve.

Almost inexplicable military setbacks in this real, unforgiving world pushed the old knowledge about the real face of war back into our conscience.
Many people understand again that war is about will, not about guns.
The "Hearts and minds" talk is such a symptom, as is the complaint about suspected propaganda inferiority.

In fact we don't need to win hearts and minds. That's not really warfare - it's politics. "Hearts and minds" is about allying, not about defeating.

First and foremost we need to understand how wars work - and we need to understand it on the political level. Our politicians should not think about whether our tanks can kill theirs, how many KIA we will have or whether a military campaign will be finished till the next election campaign.

Our politicians and all politically interested citizens need to think about whether we will be able to break our adversary's resolve with acceptable effort and loss.

This applies both before and during war.

Sven Ortmann

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