Flypaper strategies
Posted by aogSunday, 14 September 2003 at 22:36 TrackBack Ping URL

Whether or not the idea of fighting with the Caliphascists in Iraq after the invasion was planned or not, it is a good idea. Any competent wargamer will tell you that you win by going out and messing with the other guy’s stuff, not by “turtling” in your own territory. Turtling is more cost efficient but what’s lost is that it means the other guy will have more resources so that his losses may well be proportionately less and even if not he wins when he breaks the turtle. The strategically agressive player, in addition to superiour resources, gets the pick the time, place and manner of the attack which is also an advantage.

This is an excellent example of the difference between strategy and tactics. Being on defense is excellent tactics. Generally it is considered necessary for the attacker to have 3-1 advantage to successful press an assault against a defending enemy. But strategically one wants to be agressive and on the offense. The best blend is exactly what we’ve done in Iraq, taking a key location and then letting the enemy come at us. The very fact that we’re fighting over Iraq instead of New York City means we’re winning.

The game of go has a term for this, “sente”. It translates roughly as “advantage” or “initiative” but what it means is that the player with sente is the one driving the flow of the game, the one who acts. The other player, without sente, reacts. Most of the strategy of go is how to acquire and maintain sente, so conflicts can be played where one has the advantage. It’s important enough that one should sometimes accept tactical losses to regain it. Judging how much of a loss and when it’s worth it what separates the masters from the novices. In go terms, attacking Iraq was a standard kind of move, to force the main flow elsewhere and thereby acquire sente. Of course, the target must be worthwhile or the other side will simply ignore it. Iraq seems like an excellent choice in this regard, relatively easily taken but not really possible for the Caliphascists to ignore.