Saturday, October 29, 2011

A generals mind on defeat...

An excerpt from Defeat Into Victory written by one of the greatest military minds on strategy... William Slim

Defeat is bitter.  Bitter to the common soldier, but terribly biter to his general.  The soldier may comfort himself with the thought that, whatever the result, he has done his duty faithfully and steadfastly, but the commander has failed in his duty if he has not won victory for that is his duty.  He has no other comparable to it.  He will go over in his mind the events of his campaign.  “Here,” he will think, “I went wrong; here I took counsel of my fears when I should have been bold; there I should have waited to gather strength, not struck piecemeal; at such a moment I failed to grasp opportunity when it was presented to me. “  He will remember the soldiers whom he sent into the attack that failed and who did not come back.  He will recall the look in the eyes of men who trusted him. “I have failed them, “ he will say to himself, “and failed my country!” He will see himself for what it is- a defeated general.  In a dark hour we will turn in upon himself and question the very foundations of his leadership and manhood.  And then he must stop! For if he is ever to command in battle again, he must shake off these regrets, and stamp on them, as they claw at his will and his self-confidence.  He must beat off these attacks he delivers against himself, and cast out the doubts born of failure.  Forget them, and remember only the lessons to be learned from defeat-they are more than from victory.  

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