Dienstag, 4. Dezember 2007

Moral Forces in War

Kleemeier, Ulrike (2007), 'Moral Forces in War', in Hew Strachan, Andreas Herberg-Rothe, eds., Clausewitz in the Twenty-First Century (Oxford: University Press), S. 107-121.


Clausewitz today: Modern times and moral forces
Clausewitz outlines an image of the soldier which is highly individualistic, holistic, and deeply attached to the emotional realm of the human mind. Does all this mean anything to us today, and if so what exactly?

Clausewitzian vitues [1) coup d'oeil: 'intuition' is the word which best captures this power of judgement. We use exactly this term to signify mental acts which happen rapidly, are spontaneous, initmately connected with emotional life, and possess synthesizing power. Of course, this does not mean that intuition cannot be based on experience. Presumably the oppsoite is the case. 2) Bravery or courage: Much more valuable than indifference to danger is boldness (Kühnheit), a form of courage induced by positive motivations. ... Boldness enables a person not just to endure danger but to master and overcome it through acting. All of this demonstrates the mew model of a soldier who acts and thinks as an individual. 3) Self-control: Self-control itself is founded on a feeling of a special kind. It results from the intense mental need to act as somebody who is not just driven by something but instead drives things forward. The source of self-control is nothing other than a particular from of striving for Menschenwürde or human dignity. But this need is of course itself an emotion, a passion in this case, and not a product of the faculty of intellect. ... If you want to control the very strong feelings which are inevitable in war, you can do so only by powers which are themselves located within the emotional realm.] become very relevant when Western forces are involved in this kind of constellation [armed conflicts without clear fronts, wars which are not fought with collective weapons like tanks and rockets, but with Kalashnikovs, knives, machetes and rape, wars where limits between combatants and non-combatants are almost completely dissolved, wars which often seem to be completely irrational and without any political motives, wars with a great deal of primitive violence, but without battles]. With all their inherent individualism, they are in a way even better designed for 'small' warfare than 'big' warfare. People are needed who possess coup d'oeil in situations even more confusing than traditional warfare, and also people who are able to cope and survive without receicing any orders for a long time. On the other hand, you do not of course need people who are likely to assimilate with those criminals or half-criminals they are expected to fight. What is required is a type of soldier deeply committed to Western values and at the same time able to find his say in a kind of warfare dominated not so much by esprit de corps as by a mixture of economic interests and seemingly irrational factors.
...the type of soldier Clausewitz presents to us does not have a subordinate mind. He is characterized by a vivid, independent, and wilful spirit.

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