This or That Set of Rules

“Clausewitz thought it was a mistake to believe that war could be mastered by observing this or that set of rules. The variety and constant change in war could never be fully caught by a system. Any dogmatic simplification—that victory depended on the control of key points, for instance, or on the disruption of the opponent’s lines of communication—only falsified reality. Possibly Clausewitz already distrusted the conviction, held by most military theorists of his day, that the scope of chance in war should and could be reduced to a minimum by the employment of the correct operational and tactical doctrine. For someone who passionately wanted to understand war in a systematic and objectively verifiable manner it was particularly hard to accept the power of chance; but by the time he was in his mid-twenties his realism and the logic of his view of historical change had brought him to the point of regarding chance not only as inevitable but even as a positive element in war.” (Peter Paret, The Genesis of On War)


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