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Thursday
May152014

all wars are wars of attrition

Von Clausewitz the famous strategist characterised wars into those of attrition and those that strike a decisive blow. Now this probably depends on the level of technology available. Dropping an A bomb certainly ended WW2 pretty quickly- but then only one side had them. Modern wars, messy and confused with policing and government and terrorist issues all seem to be attritional. I think, in fact, that the attritional mindset is needed even for a war that might be over very quickly. And if you think of the war metaphor (the war on drugs, on poverty) then the attritional mindset is the only one that makes sense.

We can also use the war metaphor when dealing with our own objectives. I think putting on an attritional 'head' is required because otherwise you might be tempted to give up at the first reverse. Thinking of something as a 'war of attrition' puts you in a more comfortable long term frame of mind. You emanate calm rather than bluster and haste. You plan your move ahead. If you think of all 'wars' as wars of attrition you will probably win more of them.

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