Thursday, December 31, 2020

How Many Cards are in Your Deck?

But Petraeus also absorbed intellectual lessons from his self-taught crash course in French military history. He took particular note of a passage midway through The Centurions [the novel by Jean Larteguy] in which a French officer first realizes that the Viet Minh had a different concept about how to wage war. Talking with a fellow officer in the POW camp, he likens it to the difference between the card games of belote and bridge: "When we make war, we play belote with thirty-two cards in the pack. But the Viet Minh's game is bridge, and they have fifty-two cards, twenty more than we do. Those twenty cards short will always prevent us from getting the better of them. They've got nothing to do with traditional warfare, they're marked with the signs of politics, propaganda, faith, agrarian reform."

- From The Insurgents: David Petraeus and the Plot to Change the American Way of War by Fred Kaplan

[I definitely regard this as a Wow book. Aside from the military topics, it has a great deal of insight on management and bureaucracy.]

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