Saturday, February 5, 2011

Time and Place in Combat

A good general is always aware of the significance of "time and place".  If a platoon is ambushed the usual best response is retreat. If a mugger suddenly appears the best first response is to back a way.  One realizes that the enemy has chosen this "time and place" for whatever reason to attack. Even if a retreat is only a short distance the subsequent battle is now at the choosing in terms of 'time and place' of the defender.
(Advanced ambushes include a barrier to escape but at least then the defender has their back to a wall. Only if the attacker is a complete novice would immediate attack be indicated but this ploy of weak attack was what lead to Custer's fated arrogant charge and ultimate last stand)
At the simplest this lesson is a wise one for any confrontation.  A person who suddenly goes berzerk or starts a fight probably has some reason for picking this 'time and place'  for the altercation.  Best to negotiate another 'time and place' .
A typical ambush in domestic altercation is for children to raise "issues" when adults are preoccupied at the front door with talking to police or taxman, suturing up the cat's cut jugular,  or shooting at attacking green aliens.  This is of course the best time for an adolescent to bring up allowance or curfew or the friendship with their best friend sex addict drug dealer.  Parents in this 'combat setting' would be wise to retreat and refuse to engage but instead open the discussion when the adolescent has been out all night and wants to sleep in.  This is an example of chosing 'time and place'.
Couples will commonly "fight' when one is wasted after a day at the office while the other has had the day off. Coming through the door or leaving for work are often the best placees for ambushes. Again a studied response is to refuse to engage in this 'time and place' and pick another time and place such as in the middle of the mother in law's visit or during the sister's or brother's wedding rehearsal.
If people really want a reasonable and agreed on diplomatic solution to a problem rather than an 'end run' or 'bullying win" such as preached in 'negotiation through intimidation' the first discussion is best a discussion about when and where the discussion will be held.
That was the case when wars were for gentlemen and women were called ladies before the days of guerrila warfare, terrorism and baby bombers.  Of course if home and office and country politics give no alternative to civilized discussion it is best then to accept 'all's fair in love and war'.  At that point it's best to chose time and place for the altercation.
I personally think nuclear weapons attached to toilet handles have the potential for very pretty pyrotechnics with significant collateral damage.  Alternatively poisoning underwear, sanitary pads or condoms is a particularly well chosen time and place to lay down the gauntlet.
Without consideration of the weapons or tactics the first strategic question is 'time and place'.  Today's marriage is for many not a life long investment but rather a planned combat engagement with intention of withdrawal when children leave kindergarden or high school or one or other of the contestant completes their college degree.. Given the covert agendas implicit in these love wars it's actually amazing how truly civilized we are as a species.  So few kill each other that newspapers actually consider this news.
Faced with threat of combat consider first the concept of 'time and place'.  Post combat analysis takes into consideration what aspects of "time and place" seemed significantly to contribute to the particular combat.
As the best defence is an offence, the whole argument of victim and victimizer has become passe.  It's the stuff to be used by the stupid and childlike but really has no place in the adult world  where there really are only volunteers. Even the suicidal are picking their own 'time and place'. The 'homicidal' have always understood time and place.
Now this is the thinking of combatants.  It's the rule of 'all's fair in love and war', and the rule of politics where war is considered an extension of good business practice as opposed to a very different idea which says war is failure.  In the latter case we should be asking how we can use this time and place for something more constructive. Often war is a childish way of avoiding the adult tasks of building and creating.

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