Military Science Quotes

Quotes tagged as "military-science" Showing 1-5 of 5
David Foster Wallace
“The thing about people who are truly and malignantly crazy: their real genius is for making the people around them think they themselves are crazy. In military science this is called Psy-Ops, for your info.”
David Foster Wallace, Infinite Jest

Carl von Clausewitz
“Our knowledge of circumstances has increased, but our uncertainty, instead of having diminished, has only increased. The reason of this is, that we do not gain all our experience at once, but by degrees; so our determinations continue to be assailed incessantly by fresh experience; and the mind, if we may use the expression, must always be under arms.”
Carl von Clausewitz

Rebecca West
“Before a war military science seems a real science, like astronomy; but after a war it seems more like astrology.”
Rebecca West, The Book Of Military Quotations

Michael O'Hanlon
“Military analysis is not an exact science. To return to the wisdom of Sun Tzu, and paraphrase the great Chinese political philosopher, it is at least as close to art. But many logical methods offer insight into military problems-even if solutions to those problems ultimately require the use of judgement and of broader political and strategic considerations as well. Military affairs may not be as amenable to quantification and formal methodological treatment as economics, for example. However, even if our main goal in analysis is generally to illuminate choices, bound problems, and rule out bad options - rather than arrive unambiguously at clear policy choices-the discipline of military analysis has a great deal to offer. Moreover, simple back-of-the envelope methodologies often provide substantial insight without requiring the churning of giant computer models or access to the classified data of official Pentagon studies, allowing generalities and outsiders to play important roles in defense analytical debates.

We have seen all too often (in the broad course of history as well as in modern times) what happens when we make key defense policy decisions based solely on instinct, ideology, and impression. To avoid cavalier, careless, and agenda-driven decision-making, we therefore need to study the science of war as well-even as we also remember the cautions of Clausewitz and avoid hubris in our predictions about how any war or other major military endeavor will ultimately unfold.”
Michael O'Hanlon

“There is no doubt that 'force multipliers' - squad automatic weapons - have changed the character of warfare once again, just as their predecessors did during the First World War, if perhaps not to quite the same degree. In the immediate future it seems that most armies will be using some form of 5.56mm machine-gun at squad level, be it a box-fed LSW or belt-fed SAW. If there is a cloud on the horizon where modern light machine-guns are concerned it is that they are not powerful enough for long-range work, or for penetrating cover and light armour. Nevertheless, the new generation of light machine-guns will remain in use well into the next century, not least because they are popular with the soldiers who operate them, the machine-gunners. Likewise, there will still be a place for the heavier GPMG, which does have the 'punch' that the LSW lacks.

Machine-guns themselves have become lighter, and their operating principles both more secure and more efficient; the ammunition they use has shrunk to a quarter of its original size and become almost 100 percent reliable. The one important thing which has not changed dramatically is the human component; the attitude with which man faces the prospect of death in battle, and how he prepares himself to face that possibility quite deliberately, for it was the original invention of the machine-gun which reformed that. More than any other single 'advance' in weapons technology, the machine-gun allowed an individual (or actually, a small team of men) to dominate a sector of the battlefield. They had an inhuman advantage which simply had to be exploited if they were to be on the winning side, whether their opponents were Zulus, Sioux, or Dervishes, or other industrialized nations to be beaten into last place in the race toward economic supremacy. Whether the machine-gun has been as important, in any sense at all of the word, as it near-contemporary, the internal combustion engine - or even, date one say it, the bicycle or sewing machine - is still to be decided, but there is one clear, irrefutable fact connected with its short history: it has killed tens of millions of men, women and children and blighted the lives of tens of millions more.”
Roger Ford, The Grim Reaper: Machine Guns And Machine-gunners In Action