Saturday, July 15, 2006

John Lewis on William Sherman

In my inaugural post, I lauded John Lewis' talk on Homeland Defense, particularly his discussion of Sherman's march during the Civil War. As such I was immensely pleased to find that this quarter's Objective Standard features his article "William Tecumseh Sherman and the Moral Impetus for Victory". It is an absolute must read -- well worth the cost of the journal on its own. The lessons Lewis draws are crucial in today's world, as he himself notes in the intro:
Sherman's march demonstrates how a forthright, confident, singular offense, directed against the center of the aggressor's power -- and armed with moral certainty in one's own cause -- can extinguish the fire behind the war.


As we today face attacks by a highly motivated, worldwide movement of suicidal warriors, we urgently need to reconsider our goals and strategy for attaining them. To do this, we must reexamine the nature of the conflict, the nature of our goals, and the nature of our enemy. This process is essential to waging the right war in the right way against the right regime -- and winning it. In this regard, there is no better example than that set by Sherman.
Lewis achieves his stated goal and more, for in the article he also gives the best summary of the civil war that I've come across, as well as providing clarification on several key distinctions (e.g. between defeat and surrender, and between the means and the goals of a war.)

In summary I'm happy to report that as much as I loved the talk on Homeland Defense, it was merely an appetizer for this paper and the others which eventually will form John's forthcoming book: "Nothing Less than Victory: Military Offense and the Lessons of History".


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