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Old 09-13-2012, 06:32 PM   #176
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Re: GOAT Military Leader

Unfair, but they we'd call Dr Who, and it would be okay.

Sorry, please ignore, I'm just having a little fun and really don't want to derail the thread that is clearly one of the best in 2p2 at the moment.
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Old 09-13-2012, 07:43 PM   #177
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Re: GOAT Military Leader

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I understand your point totally, but to put it in modern context, it wasn't a battle by any means. The numbers are lopsided, but they were so lopsided because of our advantage in technology, communications, weaponry, tactics.

We are talking about different generations of warfare, really. This period of history is different than others because there are technological advances which skew the numbers in battles.

I'd go with unfair, even though I can somewhat see people going with impressive.
To to take a small force only accompanied by about 11 ships, 500 men, 13 horses and a small number of cannons and defeat an entire large civilization with 120,000 to 240,000 Aztecs killed is a very impressive victory. This is why Hernán Cortés victory is so impressive at a different point in history.

The Gulf war was also impressive at a different time for many of the same reason's. I admit, I would have to give the nod to Hernán Cortés victory over the Gulf coalition impressive victory as Cortés won with so much less in resources. Both certainly are very impressive.

Great leaders military should not be looking for a fair fight. They should look to put themselves in a position that a total idiot could actually lead the battle and they would still win.
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Old 09-13-2012, 07:47 PM   #178
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Re: GOAT Military Leader

The US is far from perfect.

Like Rome the US has taken it's lumps but also like Rome did for so long the US bounces back most impressively..... as was done in the First Gulf War.

That leads to my next point....

We should give some love to Vo Nguyen Giap in this thread. It’s quite a feat for a small third world country to force, what is the greatest military power in history, out of their country, using not much more than determination and guerrilla tactics. I am not a big fan of communism, but you have to admire the will of a people that are willing to endure several decades of massive carpet bombing for the sake of what they feel is right.
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Old 09-13-2012, 08:42 PM   #179
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Re: GOAT Military Leader

Desert Storm is only impressive to me insofar as it proves what massively superior military technology can do to massively inferior military technology. There were a lot of ways to mess it up, sure, but at the end of the day it's laser-guided missiles, GPS, and depleted uranium rounds against mostly surplus Soviet gear from the 70s.
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Old 09-13-2012, 08:44 PM   #180
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Re: GOAT Military Leader

I understand your perspective, Honey Badger, we just put them at different points on our scales.
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Old 09-15-2012, 03:03 PM   #181
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Re: GOAT Military Leader

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Desert Storm is only impressive to me insofar as it proves what massively superior military technology can do to massively inferior military technology. There were a lot of ways to mess it up, sure, but at the end of the day it's laser-guided missiles, GPS, and depleted uranium rounds against mostly surplus Soviet gear from the 70s.
Interesting perpective but Desert Storm his highly underrated.

It might actually be the most impressive in US history from many perspectives.

As for superior military technology, Vo Nguyen Giap might have something to say about that. That why I mentioned him above. It’s quite a feat for a small third world country to force, what is the greatest military power in history, out of their country, using not much more than determination and guerrilla tactics.

Again the US is like Rome, very resilient with moments of brilliance and huge blunders, but it would be a mistake to underestimate either in it's prime. The Vietnam War/ Desert Storm is very reminiscent of when the Cimbri and Teutones hammered Roman armies. Livy cites the claim by the annalist Valerius Antias that 80,000 soldiers and 40,000 servants and camp followers were killed, even though this is probably an exaggeration it was a huge loss and black eye for Rome. Like the phoenix rising from the ashes Rome recovered causing the rise to power of Marius and his reform of the legions into a professional army."
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Old 09-15-2012, 03:15 PM   #182
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Re: GOAT Military Leader

Yeah desert storm generals don't belong anywhere near this list but the victory is a very impressive statement about the institutional quality of the post vietnam american military.
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Old 09-15-2012, 03:23 PM   #183
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Re: GOAT Military Leader

Desert storm was US led but lets not forget it wasn't solely a US force on the ground (and in the air)
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Old 09-15-2012, 04:21 PM   #184
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Re: GOAT Military Leader

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Desert storm was US led but lets not forget it wasn't solely a US force on the ground (and in the air)
The US allies were there, but the coalition was a political move (a very wise one indeed) to gain support for the aggression, but don't fool yourself into thinking that the US was not by far the key player.

The Numidians for example were far more important allies to Hannibal against Rome, then any of the US allies were to the US in actual operations in Desert Storm.

I admit many of the regional countries allowing the US to build up it's impressive force leading to the decisive battles were very valuable, but we don't need to be giving to much credit to Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Greece, Italy, New Zealand, Niger, Norway, Sierra Leone, Singapore and Spain for the devastating victory Iraq.

It was nice the US got everyone to support the aggression, but lets not be silly about their impact. I don't here anyone talking about how Hanibal would not have given Rome such fits without the Numidians we don't need to be going on about Bangladesh and it's key support for the collation win against Iraq.
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Old 09-15-2012, 04:26 PM   #185
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Re: GOAT Military Leader

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Interesting perpective but Desert Storm his highly underrated.

It might actually be the most impressive in US history from many perspectives.

As for superior military technology, Vo Nguyen Giap might have something to say about that. That why I mentioned him above. It’s quite a feat for a small third world country to force, what is the greatest military power in history, out of their country, using not much more than determination and guerrilla tactics.
Agree with the last paragraph, and indeed it would have been impressive for Iraq to defeat the US-led coalition in Desert Storm, but it's less impressive when the side with overwhelming force wins. I'm hardly an expert on Desert Storm, but in fairness the US was much less handcuffed by geopolitics in that conflict than in Vietnam. In Vietnam, there was always the political risk that an escalation of force could have meant an expanded war with China and/or the Soviet sphere--it was a far more delicate balance than a lot of people realize (which is another reason why that war was so inadvisable... but that's a discussion for another time). That risk was not present with Iraq, Saddam's attempt to drag the wider Arab world into the conflict aside.
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Old 09-15-2012, 04:33 PM   #186
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Re: GOAT Military Leader

The only non-US forces that were given important roles in the ground campaign were predictably the single divisions sent by France and the UK. I think the US had like ten division there.
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Old 09-15-2012, 04:51 PM   #187
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Re: GOAT Military Leader

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Yeah desert storm generals don't belong anywhere near this list but the victory is a very impressive statement about the institutional quality of the post vietnam american military.
I agree, but the use of mobility matched anything the of Germans blitzkrieg in WWII. It was most impressive. Norman Schwarzkopf's original plan was vetoed Dick" Cheney for plans devised by other military leaders. As impressive of a win as it was no-one in an official leadership roles deserves GOAT recognition but that dose not take away from the impressive victory with so little loss to the winning side.
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Old 09-15-2012, 11:09 PM   #188
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Re: GOAT Military Leader

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Interesting perpective but Desert Storm his highly underrated.

It might actually be the most impressive in US history from many perspectives.

As for superior military technology, Vo Nguyen Giap might have something to say about that. That why I mentioned him above. It’s quite a feat for a small third world country to force, what is the greatest military power in history, out of their country, using not much more than determination and guerrilla tactics.
You have a very strange way of looking at things.

The Vietnamese didn't force the US out of the country, the American people lost the heart for the war due to the massive television/media coverage. This is why there is very limited media when it comes to casualties these days.

60k American dead, over a million Vietnamese dead is considered a win? Don't get me wrong, as far as what was set out to be accomplished, the Vietnamese did win, but they never won any significant military battles. The difference in casualties was awful.

On the field, the Vietnamese didn't stand a chance. The US military wasn't prepared for prolonged guerrilla tactics. The US army wasn't set up that way.
Considering what they were up against, the Vietnamese put up a good fight, but to compare 60,000 to over 1,000,000 is ridiculous in terms of keeping score, even if the US withdrew.
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Old 09-16-2012, 08:26 AM   #189
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Re: GOAT Military Leader

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Originally Posted by Honey Badger View Post
The US allies were there, but the coalition was a political move (a very wise one indeed) to gain support for the aggression, but don't fool yourself into thinking that the US was not by far the key player.

The Numidians for example were far more important allies to Hannibal against Rome, then any of the US allies were to the US in actual operations in Desert Storm.

I admit many of the regional countries allowing the US to build up it's impressive force leading to the decisive battles were very valuable, but we don't need to be giving to much credit to Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Greece, Italy, New Zealand, Niger, Norway, Sierra Leone, Singapore and Spain for the devastating victory Iraq.

It was nice the US got everyone to support the aggression, but lets not be silly about their impact. I don't here anyone talking about how Hanibal would not have given Rome such fits without the Numidians we don't need to be going on about Bangladesh and it's key support for the collation win against Iraq.
Not disputing the US was by far the key player but just pointing out they weren't the only one. I agree that many nations didn't contribute all that much and were there for political reasons as much as military ones but I'm thinking in terms of the UK who sent a heavy armoured division as well as various RAF squadrons and special forces troops.
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Old 09-16-2012, 06:36 PM   #190
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Re: GOAT Military Leader

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You have a very strange way of looking at things.

The Vietnamese didn't force the US out of the country, the American people lost the heart for the war due to the massive television/media coverage. This is why there is very limited media when it comes to casualties these days.

60k American dead, over a million Vietnamese dead is considered a win? Don't get me wrong, as far as what was set out to be accomplished, the Vietnamese did win, but they never won any significant military battles. The difference in casualties was awful.

On the field, the Vietnamese didn't stand a chance. The US military wasn't prepared for prolonged guerrilla tactics. The US army wasn't set up that way.
Considering what they were up against, the Vietnamese put up a good fight, but to compare 60,000 to over 1,000,000 is ridiculous in terms of keeping score, even if the US withdrew.
I actually agree with several points in your post. The ruthless reality is Vietnam was a disaster for the United States. As you post over 60,000 American soldiers dead. I didn't verify the number, but it was substantial.

The Gulf War was a devastating use of power, and a decisive victory at the time US losses were expected to be significant and even potentially more in number than in Vietnam. The US losses in the Gulf war were de minims.

United States troops fought gallantly in Vietnam, but it is a perfect example in of how a superpower could mismanage itself in what theory should be a relatively easy win. In the Gulf War, the United States learned from many of its political mistakes; thus, lining up all of its allies to allow the suitable level of aggression to devastatingly defeat Iraq.

I know others will disagree with this, but if you are rooting for the US to remain the worlds most impressive superpower China should've been dealt with far more aggressively in the 1960's and 1970's.

In 2012 how this plays out still unknown, but dealing with Chinese communism when the US clearly had the upper hand and providing catalyst for much more Japanese like economy and government would have potentially lead to a much better world, and certainly help perpetuate America's superpower status well into this century. Think United States made a serious mistake and potentially will pay dearly for that in decades to come. The Chinese history as a great power would be foolish to underestimate.

The United States as a country is a blip on the radar screen compared to what we call China. The US has to be very careful or it will follow the path of Rome. Chinese culture will then outlast another great superpower and the US ends up looking like present-day Greece or Italy. A great historical tradition, but a joke as an future economic or military power.

Last edited by Honey Badger; 09-16-2012 at 06:42 PM.
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Old 09-16-2012, 11:25 PM   #191
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Re: GOAT Military Leader

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I actually agree with several points in your post. The ruthless reality is Vietnam was a disaster for the United States. As you post over 60,000 American soldiers dead. I didn't verify the number, but it was substantial.

The Gulf War was a devastating use of power, and a decisive victory at the time US losses were expected to be significant and even potentially more in number than in Vietnam. The US losses in the Gulf war were de minims.

United States troops fought gallantly in Vietnam, but it is a perfect example in of how a superpower could mismanage itself in what theory should be a relatively easy win. In the Gulf War, the United States learned from many of its political mistakes; thus, lining up all of its allies to allow the suitable level of aggression to devastatingly defeat Iraq.

I know others will disagree with this, but if you are rooting for the US to remain the worlds most impressive superpower China should've been dealt with far more aggressively in the 1960's and 1970's.

In 2012 how this plays out still unknown, but dealing with Chinese communism when the US clearly had the upper hand and providing catalyst for much more Japanese like economy and government would have potentially lead to a much better world, and certainly help perpetuate America's superpower status well into this century. Think United States made a serious mistake and potentially will pay dearly for that in decades to come. The Chinese history as a great power would be foolish to underestimate.

The United States as a country is a blip on the radar screen compared to what we call China. The US has to be very careful or it will follow the path of Rome. Chinese culture will then outlast another great superpower and the US ends up looking like present-day Greece or Italy. A great historical tradition, but a joke as an future economic or military power.
The problem is that the nature of warfare has changed so drastically in the 2,000-year timespan we are discussing. Things are not viable anymore politically. The US could absolutely crush any foreign power at this point in history, but we can't use all weapons at our disposal. As the wold's sole super-power, we have a responsibility to conduct ourselves in a measured manner. Indeed, a thousand years ago people could simply be put to the sword and dominated. Total decimation is not something we can do anymore. Iraq would be a joke if we REALLY fought and just cleaned house with no regard to civilian casualties, but that is not an option because of the condemnation we'd receive world-wide.

China is no where near what you are implying. The Chinese have been a world-wide embarrassment for the last 100 years. They've played no part in becoming a dominant force in terms of military. They are light years behind us in technology. Nuclear aircraft carriers aren't exactly easy to build. They have much longer to go than you think.

The world does not wait for China. They have become an economic player, but that's because of their industrialization that we've outsourced to them as we move to a service-based economy and they pick up on manufacturing. They are where we were 30 years ago. They have resources and massively cheap labor. We've moved away from that as our society advances.

The Chinese have a long way to go, and there is no indication they will become stronger than the US. Surely the potential is there, but they have to get there first. If they show the same strength as Japan and South Korea has, just by their number of citizens they have a chance to surpass us, but do not think this will happen tomorrow. If they didn't have 3-4 times the population of the United States, they would be of no concern, just like Japan and Korea are.

Don't pat them on the back just yet. Their society has a lot of changes to go through before we turn to them, and we have a much better system of government and innovation than they do.
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Old 09-17-2012, 04:15 AM   #192
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Re: GOAT Military Leader

The interesting thing about Desert storm was that Iraq had the 4th largest army in the world and the US had a 10,000 mile long supply chain. Even than Iraq has crushed in one of the most one sided battles in history. I believe it did a lot to prevent Russia, China and other regional powers form looking to expand since the US proved how superior it's military is compared to the rest of the world.
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Old 09-17-2012, 10:12 AM   #193
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Re: GOAT Military Leader

Reminder: This is the History Forum not a current events forum or the politics forum. The main topic of this thread is great militarty leaders of the past and let's stay on topic within that framework. This has been a very good thread so far, let's not derail or waver too much off topic or post things that are more appropriate for other forums. Thanks.
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Old 09-17-2012, 01:39 PM   #194
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Re: GOAT Military Leader

Sulla needs more love, IMO.

The following is an excerpt from the book Cicero by Anthony Everitt, (Random House, New York, 2002, p.40, Hardback Edition):

__________________________________________________ ___________

In 83 Sulla was back at last after an absence of three years. He landed in Brundisium and marched inexorable up Italy like an avenging angel. The polularis regime that had been governing the Republic fought back. However, having brushed aside on army in the north, Sulla resoundingly defeated another outside one of the gates of Rome and in 82, entered the city. He regulated his position by reviving the disused post of Dictator, which gave him supreme authority in the government. He had himself appointed for an indefinite period, instead of the traditional six months, and set himself the task of reforming and restoring the institutions of the Republic.

Another massacre of the ruling class now took place. Under Marius, men of the political right had been struck down. Now it was the turn of the left. After a period of indiscriminate slaughter, a young Senator complained to Sulla. “We are not asking you to pardon those you have decided to kill; all we ask is that you free from suspense those you have decided not to kill.”

The Dictator took the point and agreed to put some order into the mayhem. He posted proscription lists on white tablets in the Forum, which gave the names of those he wanted dead. Anybody was legally entitled to kill a proscribed person and on the presentation of convincing evidence (usually a head) could claim a substantial reward of 1,200 denarii. As a rule, the heads of those killed were displayed in the Forum.

__________________________________________________ _____________

Casting aside the political bias in the above, one can only admire the military efficiency, practical acumen, and wise course of Sulla as illustrated in the excerpt. His mixture of class slaughter and military victories puts him high form and a standard almost all by himself. I couldn’t have done it any better myself.
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Old 09-17-2012, 02:43 PM   #195
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Re: GOAT Military Leader

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Sulla needs more love, IMO.

The following is an excerpt from the book Cicero by Anthony Everitt, (Random House, New York, 2002, p.40, Hardback Edition):

__________________________________________________ ___________

In 83 Sulla was back at last after an absence of three years. He landed in Brundisium and marched inexorable up Italy like an avenging angel. The polularis regime that had been governing the Republic fought back. However, having brushed aside on army in the north, Sulla resoundingly defeated another outside one of the gates of Rome and in 82, entered the city. He regulated his position by reviving the disused post of Dictator, which gave him supreme authority in the government. He had himself appointed for an indefinite period, instead of the traditional six months, and set himself the task of reforming and restoring the institutions of the Republic.

Another massacre of the ruling class now took place. Under Marius, men of the political right had been struck down. Now it was the turn of the left. After a period of indiscriminate slaughter, a young Senator complained to Sulla. “We are not asking you to pardon those you have decided to kill; all we ask is that you free from suspense those you have decided not to kill.”

The Dictator took the point and agreed to put some order into the mayhem. He posted proscription lists on white tablets in the Forum, which gave the names of those he wanted dead. Anybody was legally entitled to kill a proscribed person and on the presentation of convincing evidence (usually a head) could claim a substantial reward of 1,200 denarii. As a rule, the heads of those killed were displayed in the Forum.

__________________________________________________ _____________

Casting aside the political bias in the above, one can only admire the military efficiency, practical acumen, and wise course of Sulla as illustrated in the excerpt. His mixture of class slaughter and military victories puts him high form and a standard almost all by himself. I couldn’t have done it any better myself.
One of his rivals, Gnaeus Papirius Carbo, described Sulla as having the cunning of a fox and the courage of a lion - but that it was the former attribute that was by far the most dangerous.

Sulla was everything Khan was......maybe more.
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Old 09-17-2012, 04:00 PM   #196
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Re: GOAT Military Leader

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Reminder: This is the History Forum not a current events forum or the politics forum. The main topic of this thread is great militarty leaders of the past and let's stay on topic within that framework. This has been a very good thread so far, let's not derail or waver too much off topic or post things that are more appropriate for other forums. Thanks.
"War is the continuation of politics by other means."
Karl Von Clausewitz

Point taken.

That is why 1990 is probably a good cut off period for the board to prevent the discussion from turning into a current events discussion. That said, History really is a political discussion with the ability to analyze events with the benefit of knowing what actually happened and events how events played out. But on the flip side I certainly don't want to be a factor in derailing the thread.

I bring up Von Clausewitz for a second purpose. He should be given some attention in this thread. So many great military minds have studied his work and if given proper attention it's brilliant. He is not the typical person discussed in this thread but clearly is a top ten GOAT for influencing military thinking.
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Old 09-17-2012, 07:23 PM   #197
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Re: GOAT Military Leader

It blows my mind that no one seems to realize that a desert is the US Militaries wet dream. There is very little cover for the enemy and it is very flat. Basically all we have to do is press a few buttons and we've blown up an entire armored division... from many many miles away.

Putting up Cortez or the US military in Gulf War 1 is an insult to military commanders that won actually difficult battles. There have been lots of lopsided wins in history... And most of them are rightfully filed under 'massacre of x'. No one made this list because of something like that.
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Old 09-17-2012, 11:56 PM   #198
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Re: GOAT Military Leader

To be clear, I'm not precluding political discussions within the obvious necessities of this military discussion thread (or any other thread in the History Forum). I err on the side of caution as I don't wish this forum to be overrun with current/recent affairs which will bring in the poltard menace. Also, a discussion of the first Gulf War is a very legitimate topic for our forum; twenty years is enough time distance to give a historical perspective. Any wars beyond that timeframe are best left alone.

And by the way, General Norman Schwarzkopft gave an excellent debrief to the press on the first gulf war that was a fantastic 101 on how to conduct military operations, and the failings of the opposition.

I would suggest that if people wish to discuss the first Gulf War that a separate thread be started so as to maintain the integrity and stability of this one.
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Old 09-18-2012, 09:30 AM   #199
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Re: GOAT Military Leader

Politics in general shouldn't be discussed in this thread, but it's obviously affected warfare in the last century, mostly in line with the emergence of world-wide instant communications. Anything before 1960 or so should be pretty safe from that influence.

I agree with BoredSocial, but that's pretty obvious by my posts. I don't consider massacres military achievements at all.
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Old 09-18-2012, 04:38 PM   #200
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Re: GOAT Military Leader

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I agree with BoredSocial, but that's pretty obvious by my posts. I don't consider massacres military achievements at all.
Well that's kinda what the Mongols did.

Nothing about many of the Mongols campaigns were all the different from Desert Storm or Hernán Cortés exploits. Again Cortés did his damage with a self financed army with so little in resources.

Iraq before Desert Strom was not Grenada and anyone that makes it sound the it was has little understanding of potential military power.

Not that the Mongols faced all roll over opponents. But no-one has ever made the case they were even in the zip code of GOAT worthy either.

Serval of the Roman's mentioned in this thread faced GOAT worthy opposition. Some posters have even listed Hannibal as a possible GOAT yet he was soundly defeated by Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus.

Score one for the Romans and in particular Scipio.
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