The war was over, and every man coming in knew it

Thursday, January 14th, 2021

The Army could have fought World War III in 1950, T. R. Fehrenbach says (in This Kind of War), but it could not fight Korea:

As a case in point, take the experiences of one platoon sergeant in Fort Lewis, Washington. During the big war he had held sway over a platoon of seventy-two enlisted men. The platoon was his to run; the officers rarely came around the barracks.

The platoon sergeant was a reasonable man, in charge of reasonable men, who knew why they were in the Army. Their average age was thirty-two; one-fourth of them, roughly, were college trained. Almost all of them were skilled, in one trade or another.

This kind of man cannot be made to dig a six-by-six hole to bury a carelessly dropped cigarette, nor double-timed around the PX on Sunday morning.

The platoon sergeant relieved a multiple-striped young idiot — as he termed the man — who tried just this. The platoon, as platoons can, ruined the former sergeant.

The new platoon sergeant told his men the barracks needed cleaning, but if everyone would cooperate, each man clean his own area each day, he could get a few men off detail to clean the common areas, such as the latrine, and there need be no GI parties.

The platoon cooperated. There were no GI parties, no extra details. A few men went off the track, now and then; the older men of the platoon handled them quietly, without bothering the platoon sergeant.

This was discipline. Ideally, it should well up out of men, not be imposed upon them.

The platoon prospered. It won the battalion plaque for best barracks so often it was allowed to keep the plaque in perpetuity.

Even after VJ-Day, every man fell out for reveille, promptly, because the platoon sergeant explained to them this was the way the game was played. And the platoon was proud of itself; every man knew it was a good outfit, just a little better than the next.

Then, one by one, the men went home, as the war ended.

The platoon sergeant now was promoted to first sergeant, six stripes, an enlisted god who walked. He got a new company of several platoons, all filled with the new, callow faces entering the Army to be trained.

The war was over, and every man coming in knew it.

The first sergeant, wise now in the ways of handling men, as he thought, carefully explained to the newcomers that the barracks must be cleaned, but if everyone would cooperate, each man clean his own area each day, there would be no GI parties, and there would be passes.

On Saturday the barracks were dirty.

The sergeant, who thought that men needed only to understand what was required to obey, carefully explained what he wanted. Friday, with a great deal of hollering, shouting, and horseplay, the new men cleaned the barracks.

On Saturday, the barracks were still dirty, and the captain made a few pointed remarks to the sergeant.

The sergeant got everyone together, and told them how it was going to be. These men on the mops, these men on the brooms, these men with the lye soap. No hollering or sloshing of water or horseplay — just clean the goddam barracks.

It took most of Friday night, and the men had to stay in the latrines to clean their rifles, but they cleaned the barracks. A few of them got out of hand, but there were no older hands who could — or would — hold them in check. The sergeant handled each of these himself.

The platoon prospered, but it wasn’t easy, particularly on the sergeant. Gradually, he came to realize that seventeen- and eighteen-year-olds, mostly from the disadvantaged areas of society, had no feeling of responsibility to the Army or to the Republic for which it stood. They were not self-disciplined, and they tended to resent authority, even more than the college men and skilled artisans he had commanded before. Probably some had resented their parents; definitely most resented the sergeant, even as most of them, back in their home towns, had instinctively resented the police.

There is no getting around the fact that cops and sergeants spoil your fun.

The platoon prospered, as a sort of jail, until someone wrote to his congressman. After that the captain spoke to the sergeant, telling him that it was peacetime and that perhaps the real purpose of an Army was not to learn to use the bayonet, but to engage in athletics and take Wednesday afternoons off.

The sergeant, now a confused young man with six stripes who walked, left the Army, and graduated from college. If the Army was going to hell, it was a lot more pleasant to watch it go to hell from the Officer’s Club than from the Orderly Room.

A decade after Korea, the military traditionalists still grind their teeth. The sociologists still keep a wary eye on them. Both still try to use the Korean battleground, and its dreary POW camps, to further their own particular myths of human behavior.

Probably, both are wrong.


  1. Harry Jones says:

    Never mind the barracks, so long as they fight well. As long as it’s not so filthy as to risk disease outbreaks, it’s good enough for wartime. You’re not planning to be in one spot long, anyway. Are you?

    And if the war is over, there’s no way of knowing if they’d fight well. Somehow I don’t think janitorial prowess is a suitable proxy.

    Discipline is a means to an end, not an end in itself. There is such a thing as being stupidly disciplined.

    They’d better clean their guns, though.

  2. Kirk says:

    Another one what doesn’t get it because they’ve never done it.

    The point of barracks cleanliness isn’t a clean and hygienic barracks, although that is an excellent side-benefit.

    The point of the exercise is that the “big picture” of discipline is built up out of a thousand points of colored light, all working together to create an ordered creature out of raw chaos. A good commander can assess the state of a unit and its leadership within seconds of seeing its living and workspaces–If things are ordered and clean, then the unit is likely well-disciplined and will probably be effective. Disorderly and slovenly? Yeah… Good luck, with that one.

    You don’t get the function without the form. That’s why every military in the world still does close-order drill; there’s nothing better for building teamwork. Frankly, if it were for me to do it, I’d bring back the pike for such things, on the theory that with some razor sharp objects in the formation to focus everyone’s attention, you’d probably get faster results. Plus, you could cull the idjits pretty quick, via the appropriate commands.

    The problems you run into with people who don’t actually know what the f**k goes into creating a really disciplined military unit commenting on the subject is that you get stupidity like this, which will have to be re-learnt and re-invented all over again when the naif idjit tries to build their own forces along their ideas. There are literally thousands of years of experience, going back to the Romans, that tells us what we need to do, and how to do it. Ignore that distilled experience at your peril, ‘cos you’re not substituting anything else for it besides the tuition paid to learn from dire experience.

    And, yes, on one level it’s absolute bullshit, penny-ante chickenshit that goes on to satisfy the power-lust in many men’s hearts. That doesn’t change the fact that there really isn’t any other way to instill and make habitual the discipline and order you need to have in order to survive on the battlefield.

    I used to have an overly-intellectual type working for me, college-bound, IQ well into the Mensa range. Dumbass thought he was smarter than everyone and every institution he found himself in–And, he might well have been. Thing is, though, there ain’t time to work everything out from first principles when you’re actually doing dangerous things around dangerous equipment. You have to listen and obey, or you’re likely to wind up badly injured or dead.

    Incident I’m thinking of, we’re doing an exercise wherein we were the sudden beneficiaries of an aviation asset, to wit, a set of UH-60 helicopters that were suddenly made available to move us from point “A” to objective “B”.

    I should point out that none of this was planned, nor prepared for. We were not “Air Assault Qualified”, either, which meant that the two NCOs who did have experience with working around helicopters had to run a really rapid orientation and instruction on what to do, for the troops. One of the things that this included was the instruction that once we landed, they were to move straight out from the helicopter at 90 degrees, and to never, ever deviate from that towards the rear of the helicopter. No time for the “stupid “WHY?” question”, either–Instruct, obey, succeed.

    Dumbass with the high IQ goes to get off the aircraft and move towards cover, and what does he see? Oh, yeah–Great piece of cover and concealment, right over there… On about a thirty-degree deviation from the ninety towards the back of the aircraft. So, he heads there, instead…

    Did I mention the wind gusts, that the helicopters were taking off into? Did I mention that the birds were lifting as soon as we got off of them, and even a little bitty-bit before we were entirely debarked?

    My team leader was exiting that side of the aircraft, saw what boy genius was doing, and somehow put on a superhuman burst of speed to catch up and tackle him flat to the ground. Which was really, really fortunate, ‘cos about the time the two of them went fully horizontal, the tail rotor passed through the space they’d been in, and ripped the living shit out of my team leader’s ruck–Sleeping bag everywhere, among other things. Had he not had the presence of mind to do that, well… Yeah. It would have been an illustrative set-piece for why we call helicopters “choppers”.

    So. Yeah. Discipline. It’s a good thing, and you have to instill it with every detail of daily life, along with the habit of obedience. You don’t do that with long, heart-felt chats late at night in the barracks.

    And, it’s a passage. If you’re ever around a working SF team, you’ll see the other end of the pipeline, where men automatically demonstrate the habits of discipline inculcated in early life. SF barracks-spaces are always clean, always well-ordered–And, there ain’t nobody yelling at them to make it happen. They do it on their own, seemingly instinctively. Ain’t instinct, though–It’s long years of carefully curated and inculcated discipline that started out as acculturation in Basic Training.

    And, that, right there, is where and why a lot of our training/discipline has demonstrably ‘effed up–This sort of thing is not happening the way it should. Too many men in the middle management bit of the puzzle have mistaken the forms for the substance, and given rein to the urge for petty bullshit to take over, living out their desire for power politics over others. Which drives out a lot of otherwise fine potential soldiers, and warps the hell out of others.

    My advice? Unless you’ve actually lived the life in the middle ground between “junior enlisted” and the officer corps, keep your mouth shut. You just don’t have the background or the context to really discuss this in any other terms than the casually observant. You see petty power-tripping cruelty for the sake of cruelty, and what I see instead is the necessary inculcation of habit that will save men’s lives under fire. You can’t be like my incipient little genius, needing every detail explained to you before you’ll humbly acquiesce following instructions of those who know better–If you are, you’re going to die, and probably take more than a few of your peers with you.

  3. Harry Jones says:

    Kirk, I’ll meet you halfway. Give me a commander who’s won a battle or two, and I’ll give him my trust – and therefore my obedience.

    Most of my bitterest regrets in life involved doing what I was told by someone who claimed to know a lot more than he knew. Nowadays I demand a track record of success before I obey anybody.

    Any moron can bark out orders. I once knew a guy who was literally mentally deficient who would run around acting like a drill sergeant. Everybody thought it was cute. But if he’d had two or three more IQ points he might have tied his shoelaces and tucked his shirt in all the way and then he could have conned people into doing what he said.

    Because that’s how authority works. The ones with those two or three extra IQ points are a big part of what’s wrong with the world.

    Never let them bluff you. Always demand a look at the portfolio.

  4. Dan Kurt says:

    Uncle John died about 25 years ago. I remember him when I was a boy after the 2nd WW as a person who never was sloppy. I recall that he kept his socks rolled and that his personal items were always orderly. He worked all of his adult life out of doors as a railroad brakeman on the P&LE from Pittsburgh to Youngstown–a grimy job as one can imagine yet he always was scrubbed clean. Grandma called him her “Navy Man.” He had gone into the Navy a year after being in the CCC and he stayed in it until just before Korea exploded into war. His years under Navy discipline sure shaped him for the rest of his life.

    When his wife, Aunt Grace, died at age 95 my sister went through her possessions and sold their house after cleaning out everything. She and her husband related that they found that Uncle John had received a Bronze Star for gallantry during the war and many commendations. He had survived two ships lost during enemy action and received a commendation for helping save a ship during Halsey’s Typhoon. His ship was so damaged in that storm that it had to be refitted in Australia which took better than half a year. It is funny that Uncle John never told any of the kids of his exploits. The only reminiscing that he did expound about was his year in the CCC. He loved the outdoor work, the great food served (It was during the Depression.), and the friends he had while building fish hatcheries and other conservation projects.

    At any rate, the discipline he underwent in the Navy molded him into a dependable, tidy, confident adult.

  5. Kirk says:

    Harry, your second, reinforcing post simply proves that you don’t understand the parameters of the issue under discussion.

    This isn’t “should I listen to that guy over there with the stripes”, this is an issue of “how do we get an organic unit that will be able to survive combat”.

    You may be able to throw a bunch of unwashed, inexperienced civilians at the task of making war, as a lot of the Yugoslav partisans did, but the attrition rate as you winnow out the slow and unfit, learning as they go, is gonna be huge. And, end of the day, you’re going to wind up with something that looks a lot like a regular military outfit, with chains of command, hierarchy, and everything else you decry when you talk about “chickenshit discipline”. And, they’re going to be doing the same damn things in the same damn way as the regulars were in the barracks, with their new recruits, for the same damn reasons.

    Romans did what we do in today’s military, and in very similar ways. In fact, through the Dutch experiences, we basically recapitulated a lot of their practices when we took up cohesive drill and discipline again during the Enlightenment.

    Ironically, back then? They treated drill as rocket science, and a man who knew the Dutch system could find work anywhere in Europe as a drillmaster.

    The system does what it does for a reason. As the guy who wrote The Caine Mutiny put it about the Navy, it’s a system designed by geniuses meant to be run by complete idiots. And, that’s a sad truth.

    I’d say that there are probably only one or two guys in any major military organization who really understand the hows and whys of the organic whole of it all–Which is a really sad commentary on the entire issue.

    If you go out and ask the average Staff Sergeant “Why do you do this? Why all the attention paid to the petty details about barracks cleanliness and the mindless uniformity with regards to the uniform and things like walking on the grass…?”, the answer you’re going to get is a dumbfounded look of utter confusion, and an inability to articulate the “why” of anything going on around him. All he knows is that was what they were doing when he joined, and that was how he was trained, and that’s how it’s gonna be, see?

    The fact that you keep the troops in uniform so as to remind them that they’re soldiers under discipline is a psychological point he’s never been exposed to, formally. The fact that the daily minutiae of housekeeping is there to engrain habitual discipline and obedience is also beyond him, and like a shark swimming through water, he is simply not cognizant of it all. Ask him why the commander two levels up is such a dick about clean windshields in the field, on exercises where the rain is falling and mud is everywhere, and he’ll just know that he’s gotta have his driver out cleaning windows at every stop, and that the headlights and other lights on the vehicles also have to be kept clean, in order to avoid the attention of the higher-ups.

    What he’ll likely never cotton on to is the fact that his seniors are using those outward indicators to identify units and elements without discipline enough to keep those measures going in the field, and those are the ones where they need to focus their attention in order to prevent disasters from happening. Nine-tenths of those “silly chicken-shit” sorts of things you decry are there simply because they make amazingly precise indicators for who and what units need attention most. Sloppy adherence to things like “clean windshields and readable operator/NCOIC names on them” are lightning rods for where attention should be focused, because the fact that something like that is noticeably out of alignment with policy means that that party/vehicle probably ain’t following any policies at all.

    If the leader is smart, they’re going to use indicators like that as “I need to look at that…”, and not excuses to give into the inner martinet.

    We had a cook while I was in Germany. He was basically a senior private, what the Army ranks as a Specialist Fourth Class. Dude could cook his ass off, and when he was running our field kitchen, doing the job of a man two grades higher who we’d relieved for incompetence, we ate like kings. His field kitchen was easily one of the best-run things I’d ever seen in the military–Spotless from top to bottom, everything where it was supposed to be, and he had the books (which were not an insignificant thing, back in the day…) immaculately kept, within budget. He always had enough money left after feeding us for a two-week field problem to spring for real steaks and sometimes even shrimp or lobster.

    However, comma, all the work he had to put into things meant that something had to slip, something had to give. He regularly worked 18-20 hour days during recovery from exercises, returning his field kitchen to garrison standards. This meant, of course, that his personal appearance and room always looked like crap, and he was exhausted at the end of every day.

    We had a bit of a disconnect with a new First Sergeant and some leadership in the Headquarters Platoon, such that the usual compensatory measures were not taken to avoid trouble during the post-recovery inspection. Our inspecting Sergeant Major came through the barracks at the appointed time, on the appointed day, and discovered said cook sound asleep in a room that looked like a small war had been fought in it. Everyone expected him to do what he’d done elsewhere in the company, where he’d literally thrown furniture out of third-floor windows upon finding unsat conditions. Instead, he looked around, said “Oh, this is where your cook lives…? Get him some help to clean all this up…”, and then quietly turned and left things the way he’d found them. Didn’t even wake him up, just let him sleep, still in a filthy uniform from cleaning his field equipment up.

    Who got their ass chewed? The First Sergeant, for not ensuring that someone took up the slack for the cook. That’s how it’s all supposed to work, with allowances made for situations. Unfortunately, not too many men in the system really understand that, and simply ape their betters, going through the motions and creating nothing but dissension and strife.

    It probably didn’t hurt that our filthy-ass cook had just earned the battalion the only “commendable” for field kitchen operations during the exercise we came off of, and that his field kitchen set was also evaluated as “extremely commendable” (which wasn’t even a thing, TBH…) by the same set of inspectors who were also looking at the recovery-from-exercise process.

    The whole system looks rotten, from the outside, but there are reasons it is set up the way it is, and those reasons work. They also date back to the Romans, who I suspect would have found a lot of familiar points with the military of modern times, when they are functional and working properly.

  6. Harry Jones says:

    I’ll grant that a bunch of disciplined, obedient morons is preferable to a bunch of undisciplined and disobedient morons. But why have morons in the first place? Is this all to sneak social Darwinism in the back door? Let the enemy use up their ammo improving our gene pool?

    At some point you’ll want men smart enough to fight effectively. The sort who discipline themselves when and where they need it.

    War is chaos. A good fighter is one adapted to chaos. He looks nothing like a good janitor.

    A society that thinks of human beings primarily in terms of well regimented units is not a society I would be willing to fight and die for. Against, maybe.

    When there’s a war going around you, if you’re at all mentally normal you don’t need to be reminded that you’re a soldier. Just don’t forget that you’re a warrior.

    When there’s no war going on, train for war. Not for effin’ parades and inspections. No enemy is going to care if your boots are shiny. Keep your gun clean and let everything else be filthy.

    Every minute spent polishing your boots is a minute not spent on the firing range or the obstacle course. You’re worried a unit isn’t up to snuff? Look at the groupings on their target sheets. Look at the their times on the obstacle course. Measure what matters.

  7. Paul from Canada says:

    Kirk understands the “reason why”. It is like the story (possibly apocryphal) of a rock band demanding a bowl of only brown M&Ms in their dressing room. The point was not to be prim a-dona dickheads or to just mess with the local promoter because they can.

    Rather it was to test the local setup to ensure they paid attention to the little details. If the brown M&Ms were there, then likely the specifications for the pyro and the setup instructions for the stage props had also been followed correctly. Since a miss-rigging of the pyro and the heavy, awkward stage props could literally be of life or death importance to the band, this mattered.

    If the M&Ms were not in the dressing room as specified in the contract, then that was the trigger to have their own crew double check the locals’ rigging.

    There is something from the biography of one of the big Israeli tank generals, about discipline. After a series of accidents (including fatalities) because of sloppy ammunition handling drills, he started demanding marching, paying of compliments, rigid adherence to “chickensh*t” so as to tighten things up, and save lives.

    The Israelis are pretty casual and don’t do much of the “chickensh*t”, and it costs them.

    One of the reasons that the FN FAL rifle was not particularly successful in Israeli service was that the conscripts of the time lacked the discipline to maintain them properly. Besides not cleaning them enough, they messed with the gas settings. You have to set the adjustable gas system to balance the amount of gas used to operate the rifle reliably in the field, but not to use too much so that the rifle battered itself to death. The conscripts realized that adjusting the gas lower reduced recoil, so they did so, and in so doing reduced the reliability.

    The reason the Galil rifle had a bottle opener built into the bipod retainer was because the Israeli army could not cure some of the conscripts of the habit of forgetting to bring a bottle opener, and using their magazine feedlips to open coke and beer bottles!

    In my library, I have several memoirs written by French Foreign Legion veterans. One of them related that the brutal discipline that the Legion was notorious for continues pretty much still. Even when the practices of informal corporal punishment were officially abolished, they stayed in the Legion.

    This was for a reason. With recruits from all over the third world, hygiene was of paramount importance. So it was important to get recruits to not spit on the floor. Now a Sgt could explain reasonably, that spitting on the floor was unsanitary and dangerous to the health of the unit, and that is why you should not spit on the floor.

    A recruit from rural Indonesia, China or the wherever might nod and say “Oui Sergeant”, but would not really understand, or be willing to break a lifetime habit and keep spitting on the floor. But he would soon stop if the NCOs punched him in the back of the head whenever he did it.

    When I did my basic officer training, once we had gone some way through the process, it was explained to us why it was done that way. The military really runs on willing subordination and self discipline, but not everyone (particularly when conscripted in time of war) has the mindset (or in the case of teenage conscripts), or the maturity. So at least initially, discipline has to be imposed.

    This is also why, though it never goes away completely, the “chickensh*t” gets less and less as you progress. Most extreme in basic, less at training schools, and least at your final unit.

    Doing foot and arms drill teaches instant obedience to crucial orders, and forces teamwork and coordination. “Chickensh*t” teaches teamwork and coordination, and attention to detail, especially when exhausted. There are plenty of military tasks that it is vital to get exactly right, all the time, following the exact format, even when exhausted. Having recruits make their beds to an exacting standard, like the sheet fold must be exactly 8 inches wide, and the locker layout for inspection must be exactly the same as the example to the inch,is a cheap and easy way to train and to test this.

    When recruits do basic, the standards are deliberately set higher than they can achieve at first, and their lives made a misery. However, soon a couple of things happen. They get better with practice, and start working as a team. You can’t get the bathrooms to the required standard AND get your boots polished to the required standard, unless you do the bathrooms as a team, and/or divide the rest of the labour. I suck at ironing, you have a black belt in it, but suck at shoe shining, so you do all the ironing and I will shine all our shoes. Teamwork! Also, so gradually that you don’t notice, the instructors lighten up a bit, once the lesson has been learned. The level of chickensh*t can be dialed up or down in accordance with the progress of the class.

    Unfortunately, every so often you get a CO or Sergeant-Major who loses sight of the original purpose and mistakes the form for the function.

    Then you get a damaged unit where bullsh*t and painted rocks becomes more important than the actual efficiency and effectiveness of the unit. The unit looks sharp and well disciplined, but that is only on the surface. Underneath morale is destroyed and retention goes to hell.

    Good professional soldiers want to be out in the field doing their job, not doing endless police calls. You also get stupidity like starching and pressing combat uniforms so that they stop providing effective camouflage and wear out prematurely.

    There is a fine line between instilling and maintaining standards, and just jacking the men around with bullsh*t and power tripping, just as there is a fine line between team and character building and hazing.

  8. Kirk says:


    It’s a nice fantasy, but that’s not the way it really works. Not when you’re trying to set the initial reflexes and foundational attitudes you need for good soldiers.

    It’s like scuba diving; one of my good friends in high school was probably the most scatter-brained fly-by-night character I’ve ever known. He was a changed man, the last time I saw him–And, you know what did it? 15 years as a commercial salvage diver, where you either develop habits of conscientious self-discipline, or you die ugly. His first few years in the trade, and doing the schooling for it were monumentally ugly, and he’ll happily tell you that it was all his own fault, along with the way his hippie parents raised him.

    You don’t magically turn Joe and Jane Civilian into Joe and Jane Soldier unless you first essentially destroy a lot of the things that make them up, in the first place. Especially with the typical civilian we have today, who would almost certainly be determined to be among some of the most self-indulgent and least likely to put off self-gratification in the history of our species. The habits of mind that you need, like being able to lay in a wet hole silently for hours on end while waiting for an enemy patrol to wander into your sight picture, do not come easily at all to men and women who’ve no earthly idea about what it means to put off things for their own comfort.

    You don’t make them clean the latrines to a state of spotlessness because you want to achieve an entirely unnecessary hygienic standard (although, that is sometimes not a bad idea…), you do it so that Joe and Jane don’t quibble at putting their hands in the nasty out in the field, if necessary. You also do it so they’re accustomed to doing as they are told, when they are told, and to which bloody standard they are told.

    You can do things the way you imagine it would work, but you’re going to kill off an awful lot of your tyro soldiers before they learn the necessary the hard way. An awful lot of what we traditionally do in training serves as a shortcut to train and accustom the mind to the necessities, and to weed out those who are constitutionally unable to fit into that environment. It’s better to drive them away early, before you’ve spent the money to equip and ship them overseas so that some two-bit tribesman can cut their throats in a moment of inattentiveness.

  9. Harry Jones says:

    Kirk, this is dystopian.

    Screw Joe and Jane brainwashed soldier. Give me warriors or give me some other culture that can produce warriors.

    Because if you’re right, Joe and Jane are not worthy of freedom.

  10. Kirk says:


    You’ve got no idea at all. None.

    Your use of the word “warrior” is indicative of the depth of your ignorance. Warriors are not soldiers; they are generally brigands, thieves, and looters out for their own gain and pleasure. Untrained and undisciplined rabble, a menace to all civilization.

    The reason you put soldiers through what you ignorantly term “brainwashing” is so that they do not become “warriors”, prone to acts of self-interest and brigandage. The fact you do not understand this is why you should never, ever be placed in charge of anything remotely relating to war or warfare; men under your tutelage would be forces of chaotic destruction unleashed on the unsuspecting innocent.

    Warriors are anathema to civilization, good only for tearing it down or destroying it. Soldiers are quite the opposite, defenders of order and subordinate to the interests of said civilization. It’s a not-so-subtle distinction that escapes all too many, but it is a very important one.

    The other thing about “warrior” types is that they rarely work together at all well, and are very unpredictable. I’d rather face a lion with five disciplined cowards than one brave “warrior”, if only because I’d know what the hell those cowards are going to do when I tell them to. Which makes them a much better choice, despite what your fantasy-land views are telling you.

  11. Harry Jones says:

    Call it what you like, but I refuse to choose between slaves or losers. I demand a third option. And I think there are several more.

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