Lessons From A Master of War
By Prof. Paul Eidelberg
Israel is at war. Israel's General Staff would do well to emulate George S.
Patton, the general most feared by Nazi Germany.
On the eve of battle, Patton would admonish his soldiers: "The object of war
is not to die for your country. It is to make the other poor dumb bastard
die for his." This requires confronting and killing the enemy on the
"Never let the enemy rest." No cease fires or hudnas. Unconditional
surrender should be Israel's proclaimed war aim!
"We want the enemy to KNOW that they are fighting the toughest fighting men
in the world!" This precludes benevolence (which Arabs despise). Just as
Hezbollah warriors would show no mercy to you, so you should show no mercy
to them. These warriors must be killed even if this results in civilian
"Forget about army regulations . [which] are written by those who have never
been in battle.Our only mission in combat is to win." Hence general
officers may sometimes have to disobey orders of the political echelon!
Patten's famous admonition, "Grab the Enemy by the nose and kick him in the
pants," though simple, is profoundly significant in the war between Jews and
Arabs. Israel must devastate the Arabs or Muslims from top to bottom so as
to erase the Islamic arrogance that prompts them to wage war against
The Government must heed the principles of war, which requires it to order
the IDF to confront and kill the enemy primarily on the battlefield.
Bombing the enemy's infrastructure should not obscure the importance of
destroying the enemy's ground forces. The defeat of these Arab warriors
must be so thorough that it will eradicate their desire to wage war for a
hundred years-the policy of the Allies powers that made militant Germany and
Japan lovers of peace.
The Government should not be deterred by fear of world opinion, UN
condemnation, and possible sanctions. This fear cannot but undermine the
General Staff and the fighting spirit of Israeli soldiers. This fear is
It is of capital importance that Israel's ruling elites pursue the war in
Gaza as a war between good and evil. The IDF will have to become a virtual
killing machine to stop the killing once and for all!
Israel's victory in this war will ultimately depend on whether its General
Staff is animated by the profound sense of good and evil that inspired
America's greatest generals-suffice to mention, along with Patten, William
Tecumseh Sherman of Civil War fame. Both generals inspired their armies
with complete confidence in the justice of their cause. Yet both pursued a
war strategy that actually minimized casualties on all sides. They imbued
their soldiers with the will to win and in the shortest possible time. This
requires the use of overwhelming force and the uninterrupted attack.
The general who believes in the justice of his country's cause will not shy
from cruelty against Hamas because it is by means of cruelty that he can
shorten the war and thus minimize bloodshed. Thus, in this war between good
and evil, those Israeli generals who implement the principles of war will be
our greatest humanists.
* * * * *
 Although many deemed Patten a supreme egoist, his egoism was fired by
patriotism and constrained by morality. Consider how a commander recalled a
speech of Patten to his men:
The General's speech . was a little different from the movie version
["Patten"]. For one thing it was bloodier. He suggested ways to make the
enemy suffer. And he closed by quoting part of Kipling's "Recessional." At
the end every man in the combat team cheered, a genuinely spontaneous cheer.
And there were cries of "More! More!" The General grinned and came down the
steps, entered his car, and was gone. The troops were dismissed but the
excitement lingered . Never before had they heard a general talk like that.
He had made a deep impression.
from the Februrary 2009 Edition of the Jewish Magazine