Given that France’s children have recently suffered a smearing of entrails by enemy combatants imported by their own executive, I was curious if that country’s valiant forebears could provide insight into such conduct. Interestingly, one of her most illustrious sons did. Referring specifically to Military Maxim LXXI, Bonaparte instructs:
Nothing can excuse a general who takes advantage of the knowledge acquired in the service of his country, to deliver up her frontier and her towns to foreigners. This is a crime reprobated by every principle of religion, morality, and honor.
Reprobated by all except those bereft of such attributes. These deficiencies being concentrated in the political stewards elevated to safeguard
our their interests.
Though what of those officers bound to conflicting allegiances between their nation and its mortal enemies in the civilian command? What is their core duty? Are our military men soldiers in defense of a people, or mercenaries for marketers? That the farthest seas bob with bristling American flotillas, while our lampooned border is garrisoned by a platoon of half-drunk mestizos is one indication of the answer.
So why do Americans pay $852 billion for quote-unquote national defense? Is it to annihilate the camel spider caliphate? If so, it’s an extraordinarily inefficient means of self-protection. The capacity of islamic militants to harm us is directly proportional to their presence in our countries, not to how many bugs we obliterate in the Syrian desert. I am intrigued to learn what effect French bombs in Syria will have on the festering Parisian banlieues where so much hostile alien sentiment is safely incubated. Every sortie in Hollande’s impotent operation should be accompanied by Bob Uecker’s baseball commentary: Juuust a bit outside.
Fortunately Napoleon also has opinions, from which we can extrapolate, on the obligations of generals in such circumstances.
A general-in-chief has no right to shelter his mistakes in war under cover of his sovereign, or of a minister, when these are both distant from the scene of operation, and must consequently be either ill informed or wholly ignorant of the actual state of things.
Hence it follows, that every general is culpable who undertakes the execution of a plan which he considers faulty. It is his duty to represent his reasons, to insist upon a change of plan–in short, to give in his resignation rather than allow himself to be made the instrument of his army’s ruin. Every general-in-chief who fights a battle in consequence of superior orders, with the certainty of losing it, is equally blamable.
In this last-mentioned case, the general ought to refuse obedience; because a blind obedience is due only to a military command given by a superior present on the spot at the moment of action. Being in possession of the real state of things, the superior has it then in his power to afford the necessary explainations to the person who executes his orders.
But supposing a general-in-chief to receive a positive order from his sovereign, directing him to fight a battle, with the further injunction, to yield to his adversary, and allow himself to be defeated — ought he to obey it? No. If the general should be able to comprehend the meaning or utility of such an order, he should execute it; otherwise, he should refuse to obey it.
Allowing your nation to be colonized, dispossessed, and subsequently dominated via demographics and the franchise is as tantamount to defeat as one could ask. And Friday night in Paris sadly won’t be the last of the Waterloos.