Friday, July 29, 2011

Collage 479

More discussion about theories of war. Prince Andrei and Pierre are talking about the ethics of pillaging and the leadership of a German who is leading the Russian forces. And about what determines victory. Pierre, the non-military person who for whatever reasons is hanging around the battlefield, says that war is like a game of chess. Prince Andrei says, "... in chess you can think over each move as long as you like, you're outside the conditions of time, and with this difference, too, that a knight is always stronger than a pawn, and two pawns are always stronger than one, while in war one battalion is sometimes stronger than a division and sometimes weaker than a company. Nobody can know the relative strength of the troops..." success never did and never will depend on position, or on ammunition, or even on numbers, but least of all on position."

This conversation make me think about the current political situation with the US involved in 3 wars -- Iraq, Afghanistan and now Libya. The US spends many times over what the rest of the world combined spends on their military. If the US has superior military force, why does it drag on? (I'm not condoning use of military force or involvement.)  Prince Andrei has the answer: what's missing is the feeling in every soldier. If you ask anyone why we are in these wars, you always hear: "I have no idea". Now that's a problem. -- Lola

Lola Baltzell
from page 213-214, Volume 2 of original text
collage, ink
made 4/22/11
Pevear/Volokhonsky translation page 772-774

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