Darth Wong wrote:
Stuart, is that necessarily what the "attack the weak points" strategy means? I was under the impression that the entire modern military strategy of preferentially destroying logistical and production facilities (as opposed to throwing all of your assets directly at enemy fighting forces) is an example of attacking weak points in order to hobble the enemy.
Not really; modern warfare strategy takes into account the fact that the military forces of a country and the industrial infrastructure of that country are so closely intertwined that they become inseperable. Therefore the center of mass in strategic terms is the gestalt of both. A war cannot be decisively won unless both the military forces of a country are destroyed and the industrial infrastructure is rendered incapable of regenerating those forces. Destroying one without doing in the other will, at best, confer only a limited victory. For example, the Russian Army destroyed the German Army in 1944-45 but without the concurrent destruction of the German warmaking industry, that achievement, significant though it was, would not have won a permanent victory. The Arab-Israeli wars are a case in point there, the Israelies repeatedly destroy the Arab armies in the field but since they are unable to destroy the industrial infrastructure that supports those armies, they are incapable of turning those operational victories into a strategic victory.
Sun Tzu (again, leaving aside the issue of whether he actually existed or is a pen-name for a group) lived in an era where armies existed independently of any significant industrial infrastructure and where the destruction inflicted by an Army was directly proportional to its size compared to that of its opponents. So, it was possible for a large army to take on the weak allies of its opponent and overwhelm them, suffering relatively insignificant casualties in the process. Thus, it was entirely possible for such an army to chip away all the weak allies of its enemy without suffering significant damage and then take on its much-weakened main enemy at enhanced advantage. Also, because armies existed independently of industrial infrastructure, once an army had been destroyed, it was very hard to regenerate it so a victory in the field was decisive.
Neither of those conditions apply today. Modern weaponry means that a relatively small force, well armed and well-handled can crucify a much larger enemy (in effect this is what happened in Armageddon????). Thus, if an army tries the strategy of taking on the small allies first, there's a good chance that, by the time it has eliminated them, it will be a battered wreck, incapable of taking on its main opponent. Indeed it may even be so damaged that it is incapable of resisting an attack by that enemy. Hence the phenomenom of winning all the battles and losing the war which the Germans are so surpassingly good at. Furthermore, when attacking the weak allies first, the presence of the strong ally, as yet unmolested, almost by definition means that the victory over the weak allies cannot be strategically complete. The weak allies regenerate while the strong ally adminsters a royal seeing-to against the prime enemy, then while it regroups and regenerates, the weak allies take over again. So Sun Tzu's strategy realluy doesn't apply to the modern age. It's a useful set of aphorisms and it makes people think a bit, sometimes, but it really isn't applicable to the modern world.
Today, the strategy is to hit both the fielded armies and the industrial infrastructure together. Knock them out, decisively, and then clean up the mess.
Gerald Tarrant wrote:
I'm wondering where the "Message-suicides" went. Heaven is supposed to be closed, so shouldn't they be somewhere in Hell? Apologies if I missed something about that.
They're in hell somewhere. A few have been found already and they're the subject of considerable derision.
Stupid question, but what are the seas of hell like? I know it is a Pangea continent so it has less continental shelf and probably less marine less, but are animals from our ocean crossing into hell and vice versa?
Yes, hence the stories about mermaids, Kraken, sea-dragons and all the other mysterious monsters of the deep. The Hell Sea isn't that much different to ours although navigating is a bitch due to the spatial anomalies. The big difference is that on earth the sea:land ratio is around 60:40 but in Hell the sea:land ratio is 30:70. Climactically and energetically, Hell is a lot more placid than Earth, the weather gradients aren't as steep and there's less climactic diversity.
I'm pretty sure that the Terra side of Hellgate Bravo is inside a large Canal lock (or gated lagoon, I don't recall) so nothing is getting into our ocean univited.
Hellgate Beta is actually in the Great Sound of Bermuda. The waters getting out of it are pretty confined but it isn't gated off per se. There are other portals as well, elsewhere and in deep water.
On the suicides, I would think that the suicide rate would actually increase greatly. Think about it. You have terminal cancer on Earth. You've got another life waiting for you where you won't have terminal cancer. Why fight it? Why go through all that suffering and chemo? Or heck, any other long term medical condition, or just the ravages of age. Why be a decrepit 80 year old with heart disease and arthritis and a bladder that doesn't work well? Suicide isn't that big a deal anymore. You can still talk to the people on the other side and visit them but now you don't have to get up every hour and laboriously work your way to the toilet or worry about eating or anything like that.
I think the whole intellectual environment surrounding issues like abortion, capital punishment, suicide, euthanasia etc has been slammed back to step one. The ground rules for all of those controversies have changed out of all recognition. For example, it could well be argued that euthanasia simply becomes a form of drastic medical treatment, "well, we can't cure you here and what has happened to you will make the rest of your life here an unbearable misery, so we suggest that we kill you and you can start your second life right away. By the way, there's a representative from the Euryale Real Estate Company who has some Second Life homes you might be interested in buying."
Some of the issues I honestly shudder to think about. Capital punishment and abortion are two of them.
Oberst Tharnow wrote:
Well, a storm does only wreck one side of the portal (and we have not seen any storms in hell so far). Of course, its still devastating.
We did see in Part Two that energy from the earthside storm was transferring the gate and causing serious problems hellside. Making that point was very important.