Post of the Day
March 18, 1998
Subject: Re: Buy!
"There have been good men that have died in that 'withering' machine gun fire, however, I doubt that it was 'millions'. I have researched the 'Wars' (all of them) as a hobby and I don't recall any General sending millions of men into withering machine gun fire, maybe I'm wrong...."
Warning!! This is kind of long, but I swear it applies in spirit to Foolish wisdom, and I was just so excited to stumble across something I know about - Chirodetsky
Actually you are wrong, Buz. I'm a former Contingency Planner for the Air Force with several years of Joint planning and execution experience. I also am an avid student of military history. I helped excecute a war (Desert Storm), and I assure you I make Attila the Hun look like a liberal.
However, around 20 million men were killed in WWI. The vast majority were literally wasted in suicicdal frontal assaults on well prepared positions. It was essentially due to the short-sightedness of European generals who grew up in the 19th century and never quite learned to appreciate the significantly enhanced destructive power of 20th century weapons, especially: magazine fed rifles, machine guns, and vastly improved artillery (the source of the most casualties in WWI). The best known example of this is the battle of Verdun, a month-long fiasco resulting in over 1 million casualties between the two sides. Results: less than a mile of ground (of no strategic value)was gained.
It took about 4 years of senseless slaughter for truly new tactics to be tried. They were developed by the Russian general, Brusilov, and perfected (against the Russians!) by the German General Staff Officer Hutier. These are the very same tactics, Buzz, you learned as a Marine. They consist of things like bypassing and isolating strong points, and mopping them up with specialized (satchel charges, incendiaries, etc.) weapons, and brave assault troops (like the Marines) after you've secured your major strategic objectives. I know these seem like common sense now (just like the Foolish Four), but it took the blood of millions to help the Wise of that time to write the new tactics books. Just like it take billions of $ losses or unrealized gains before people learn the "best" way to invest in the today's market place.
Here's my point: Today's Fool, whether a general or an investor will eventually become tomorrow's Wise if they fail to continue to learn throughout their lives.
Now that I'm off my diatribe Buzz, I want to thank you for your honorable and important service to the country as a Marine. I've always believed that one good Marine Rifle Company does more to preserve world peace than all the hippies with a "Split Wood Not Atoms" sticker on thier VW buses combined.