Saturday, July 22, 2023

hard lessons...............................

 More than any of the other early presidents, George Washington learned in early life the pain of loss, humiliation, and hardship.  It is axiomatic among military historians that commanders learn more from defeat than from victory, but this is especially true of Washington.  He had been taught many hard lessons and would have two decades in which to mull them over before he fought again. Reviewing is experiences, he could have distilled them into some general maxims along these lines:

      -Know yourself, and know those who you are fighting.  This is a more complex proposition than it may seem, as it requires introspection, strategic thinking, and reliable intelligence.

     -Study terrain, and make it your friend.

     -As circumstances change, be ready to change views and abandon assumptions.  Listen to dissenters and know how to weigh alternatives.

-Thomas E. Ricks:  First Principles: What America's Founders Learned from the Greeks and Romans and How That Shaped Our Country

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