French Military Tactics

May 6, 2010

Napoleon Bonaparte once said “Never interrupt your enemy while they are making a mistake”.  This has remarkably held the test of time, much more so than Irving Fisher’s assertion that “Stocks have reached what looks like a permanently high plateau.” Irving Fisher was a professor of Economics at Yale… in 1929.  Napoleon either knew what he was talking about or was vague enough that his quote could be interpreted as sound; either way, kudos.  It’s why companies don’t offer help over the phone.  If your electrician offered phone assistance for your lack of heat he wouldn’t get to charge weekend rates to come to your house because the furnace was unplugged.  That’s the first thing the electrician will check, and that advice could easily be conveyed over the phone.  In essence, don’t help your enemies, especially when they are making a mistake.

Why then does America insist on combating itself when it comes to the global war on terror?  Recently a Navy SEAL was on trial in Virginia for assaulting a terrorist, notice I didn’t say alleged; who are we kidding.  The terrorist was involved in killing US contractors in Iraq, burning their bodies, dragging them to a bridge and hanging them for the world to see.  The SEAL punched him in the chest during the interrogation.  Great!, sad, form your own opinion, but this is not information we need to provide our enemy.  Terrorists across the world could disperse this information to gain recruits, or at least deter citizens from talking to Americans.  “Don’t give the Americans information, they will punch you.”  That seems like a good reason not to talk to the aid worker who is accompanied by a soldier with a gun.  No body wins when this information is passed on.  It’s not even that relevant to the public, so let it be.  And this is a military trial; it would be much worse if this were being conducted in a civilian court.

Not only are we providing the enemy with useful facts for recruiting, we aren’t even taking advantage of their screw ups.  The Time Square bomber seems like a moderately functioning primate at best.  Accidents can create larger explosions with less material than he had.  Not only that, but he covered his tracks with his own scent, purchasing the car with cash, but using his cell phone to contact the seller.  So when we found out where he was, we stopped him.  Why?!?  His thought process clearly doesn’t surpass that of a two-year old with a fork sitting by a light socket.  Why not let him flee the country, have someone in Dubai (you know we have people in Dubai) follow him to the terrorist party celebrating his attempt to blow up NYC.  Then you not only get him, but the smart people who convinced him it was a good idea in the first place.  So here he is, making one mistake after another we jump right in there and stop him.  Way to go team.

As much as it pains me to say it, we may be better served taking the advice of a wee Frenchmen and stop making so many mistakes ourselves.

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2 Responses to “French Military Tactics”

  1. kyle said

    Did napoleon make this quote before or after he decided to charge Russia in the middle of winter? If is was before . . . the Russians were probably just following his advise.

  2. gfabbott said

    It’s still no worse than Irving Fisher’s quote. That was only a week or so before the actual stock market crash.

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