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Pentagon promotes words of wisdom by Lawrence of Arabia
The Daily Telegraph ^ | July 6, 2005 | Oliver Poole

Posted on 07/05/2005 10:29:37 PM PDT by MadIvan

The US military has turned to the wisdom of Lawrence of Arabia for guidance on how to win the war in Iraq and understand the mindset of its insurgents.

In the latest list of books recommended to commanders, T E Lawrence's Seven Pillars of Wisdom, his first-person account of the Arab Revolt against the Ottoman Turks between 1917 and 1919, is number two out of 100.

Extracts from the memoir and his essays have also been e-mailed directly to senior officers in the field.

So highly does the Pentagon consider the relevance of his insights that it has officially adopted one lesson he preached on Middle Eastern warfare as a recipe for success in Iraq.

"Do not try to do too much with your own hands," it runs. "Better the Arabs do it tolerably than that you do it perfectly. It is their war, and you are to help them, not to win it for them."

The words, which in today's context are interpreted as evidence of the need to build up independent Iraqi security forces and a functioning national government, are regularly repeated by senior officers.

They also appear on the front of strategic briefing documents given to military personnel and visiting dignitaries.

"Lawrence is a man who spent a lot of time with Arabs and understood them and their culture," said Colonel Stephen W Davis, head of Regimental Combat Team 2, responsible for controlling the troubled western Anbar province.

"There are very few lessons that have not been learnt in history. The skill is to choose to rediscover them."

By his desk he keeps a copy of Lawrence's pamphlet The Evolution of a Revolt, which first appeared in Britain's Army Quarterly and Defence Journal in October 1920.

Although there are vast differences in time and circumstance between Britain's imperial past and America's Iraqi present Lawrence's writings, US officers say, show a unique appreciation of insurgent tactics gleaned while he was assigned as a liaison officer to the Arab Revolt.

Then major confrontations were avoided as the rebels concentrated on guerrilla tactics, mostly blowing up railway tracks and cutting supply lines.

In Iraq today American convoys come under regular attack, sometimes by rocket-propelled grenades but mostly by roadside bombs.

"You can see the parallels," said Lt Col Tim Mundy, the commander of marines based on the Syrian border.

Lawrence also detailed the frustration of facing an enemy who hits briefly then hides, saying repeatedly that time was on the side of the rebels. In the Middle East, he concluded, "war upon rebellion was messy and slow, like eating soup with a knife".

Lt Col John Nagl, who in 2003 was operations officer for a tank battalion based near Fallujah, took the phrase "eating soup with a knife" as the subtitle of a dissertation on counter-insurgency produced last year.

The thesis, which emphasised Lawrence's lesson on not being dependent on fixed fortified posts, was picked up by the Pentagon and distributed to every general in the army.


TOPICS: Extended News; Foreign Affairs; Government; News/Current Events; United Kingdom; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: dod; iraq; lawrence; lawrenceofarabia; oif; pentagon; us
Lawrence was, by the end, quite insane. So I would take what he said with a grain of salt.

Regards, Ivan


1 posted on 07/05/2005 10:29:38 PM PDT by MadIvan
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To: lutz; Deetes; Barset; fanfan; LadyofShalott; Tolik; mtngrl@vrwc; pax_et_bonum; Alkhin; agrace; ...

Ping!


2 posted on 07/05/2005 10:29:53 PM PDT by MadIvan (You underestimate the power of the Dark Side - http://www.sithorder.com/)
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To: MadIvan

---T E Lawrence's Seven Pillars of Wisdom---

Number One: Never let a Turk get behind you.


3 posted on 07/05/2005 10:36:27 PM PDT by claudiustg (Go Sharon! Go Bush!)
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To: MadIvan
"Lawrence was, by the end, quite insane. So I would take what he said with a grain of salt."

What was the cause of his insanity, Syphillis?

4 posted on 07/05/2005 11:00:24 PM PDT by de Buillion (Abortion kills more Democrats than Republicans, More Liberals than Conservatives!)
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To: de Buillion

Hanging out in the desert too long, more likely.

Regards, Ivan


5 posted on 07/05/2005 11:01:45 PM PDT by MadIvan (You underestimate the power of the Dark Side - http://www.sithorder.com/)
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To: MadIvan

Hanging out getting beaten with a cane by his Batman for sexual gratification or being parted from his beloved Brough Superior might also be possible reasons.


6 posted on 07/05/2005 11:13:13 PM PDT by Dave Elias
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To: claudiustg

"---T E Lawrence's Seven Pillars of Wisdom---

Number One: Never let a Turk get behind you."

In other words he was a top.


7 posted on 07/05/2005 11:14:21 PM PDT by Dave Elias
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To: MadIvan

Eccentric maybe, but insane? He seems to be the only Westerner ever to get a fair shake from the nosepickers of the house of Saud.


8 posted on 07/05/2005 11:18:08 PM PDT by SandfleaCSC (Tagline has been appropriated by county council for a much more profitable one)
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To: MadIvan

He seemed to know what he was talking about. He was able to convince a large group of Bedouin to fight the Turks instead of fighting against each other.


9 posted on 07/05/2005 11:41:15 PM PDT by rudyudy
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To: MadIvan
Lawrence was, by the end, quite insane.

Knowing when he was and when he wasn't is the trick.

10 posted on 07/05/2005 11:53:31 PM PDT by Mind-numbed Robot (Not all that needs to be done needs to be done by the government.)
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To: MadIvan

Lawrence regarded them as noble savages. alas; he was only half right..


11 posted on 07/06/2005 12:04:01 AM PDT by sheik yerbouty
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To: Dave Elias

Never read Lawrence's stuff, what was his seven pillars of wisdom? Anybody know?


12 posted on 07/06/2005 12:06:02 AM PDT by sasportas
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To: sasportas

One of the great un-read books of the 20th century. It was the basis for Lawrence of Arabia. It was also self-published.

Better to start off with The Mint, which is not only substantially shorter, but far more entertaining.


13 posted on 07/06/2005 12:10:28 AM PDT by durasell (Friends are so alarming, My lover's never charming...)
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To: durasell

One of the great un-read books of the 20th century. It was the basis for Lawrence of Arabia. It was also self-published.

Undoubtedly you are right, I, for one, haven't read it. But what were his seven pillars of wisdom?


14 posted on 07/06/2005 12:20:07 AM PDT by sasportas
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To: sasportas

bible quote from proverbs...


15 posted on 07/06/2005 12:32:32 AM PDT by durasell (Friends are so alarming, My lover's never charming...)
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To: MadIvan

Insane or not, he did quite an analysis of the essentials of successful guerrilla warfare.

Army magazine (AUSA) this month has a nice article discussing this and modern extrapolations from his seminal works.


16 posted on 07/06/2005 12:40:31 AM PDT by patriciaruth (They are all Mike Spanns)
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To: sasportas

I believe the Seven Pillars of Wisdom refers to the laws of Islam for believers, not the essentials of successful guerrilla warfare that he later distilled in writings and letters from this autobiographic book that he titled that which is about his military work in the Middle East during WWI.


17 posted on 07/06/2005 12:44:31 AM PDT by patriciaruth (They are all Mike Spanns)
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To: durasell

If you ever do read Seven Pillar of Wisdom, be sure to have an unabridged dictionary on hand.

My father gave me his hardback copy to read when I was a teenager, and I needed a dictionary to get passed the first page.

Dad told me that Lawrence wrote the book twice. The original manuscript was accidentally left in a Paris train station, and he had to rewrite the whole thing over.

The first publication was private, and Lawrence gave copies only to his friends.

Liddell Hart's book Strategy used a lot of insight that Lawrence conveyed to him in private correspondence.


18 posted on 07/06/2005 12:52:03 AM PDT by patriciaruth (They are all Mike Spanns)
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To: MadIvan

A Prince of Our Disorder had some Seven Pillars content.
[Snip]
When this Pulitzer Prize-winning biography first appeared in 1976, it rescued T. E. Lawrence from the mythologizing that had seemed to be his fate. In it, Harvard professor of psychiatry Dr. John Mack humanely and objectively explores the relationship between Lawrence's inner life and his historically significant actions. Extensive interviews, far-flung correspondence, access to War Office dispatches and unpublished letters provide the basis for Mack's sensitive investigation of the psychiatric dimensions of Lawrence's personality. In addition, Mack examines the pertinent history, politics, and sociology of the time in order to weigh the real forces with which Lawrence contended and which impinged upon him.


19 posted on 07/06/2005 1:50:26 AM PDT by scramaseaxe2002
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To: de Buillion

In the end he was killed by a motorcycle crash. Are you certain about the insanity. Any support for the syphillis idea?


20 posted on 07/06/2005 4:13:56 AM PDT by em2vn
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To: MadIvan

"There are very few lessons that have not been learnt in history. The skill is to choose to rediscover them."

Great quote.


21 posted on 07/06/2005 4:45:37 AM PDT by KeyWest
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To: em2vn

I remember reading years ago that when Lawrence was approaching puberty he suffered a fall and the blow to his head shocked his pituitary gland so that he stopped growing and hence was short in stature.

I don't know what other health problems such a pituitary insufficency would have caused.

People may have the wrong take on the man, due to Hollywood and other implications from his writings. But he may have simply been a very bright man whose mental life was complicated by a medical conditon.


22 posted on 07/06/2005 9:17:09 AM PDT by patriciaruth (They are all Mike Spanns)
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To: durasell
One of the great un-read books of the 20th century. It was the basis for Lawrence of Arabia.


23 posted on 07/06/2005 11:53:22 AM PDT by Donald Rumsfeld Fan ("Memos on Bush Are Fake but Accurate". NYTimes)
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To: Donald Rumsfeld Fan

Yep. That's the one.


24 posted on 07/06/2005 12:39:54 PM PDT by durasell (Friends are so alarming, My lover's never charming...)
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To: em2vn
"In the end he was killed by a motorcycle crash. Are you certain about the insanity. Any support for the syphillis idea? "

em2vn- you sound slightly confused. You are mixing what MadIvan stated in the first post with my reply to him/her in #4. The only support I have for the syphillis question (MY question) is that back then, syphillis was a common cause of insanity as well as being incurable. The statement about insanity came in the original post by MadIvan. You need to aks him/her about that. Any particular reason for your "touchiness" on this subject?

25 posted on 07/06/2005 8:46:45 PM PDT by de Buillion (Abortion kills more Democrats than Republicans, More Liberals than Conservatives!)
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To: patriciaruth

The first paragraphs of the Seven Pillars is alledgedly a dedication to his gay lover.


26 posted on 07/07/2005 12:04:47 AM PDT by Dave Elias
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To: Dave Elias
first paragraphs of the Seven Pillars is alledgedly a dedication to his gay lover.

I did not see it that way when I read Seven Pillars of Wisdom several different times during different stages of my life. I saw it as an apologia for many of the Arab male friendships he observed during his exploits, especially the two youngsters who were devoted to each other, Doud and ? forgot the other one's name.

27 posted on 07/07/2005 12:11:36 AM PDT by patriciaruth (They are all Mike Spanns)
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To: MadIvan
GEE I guess because he was homosexual his observations are worthless. Good Grief. T. E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia)

British Soldier and Author

1888 - 1935

All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity:

but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes, to make it possible.

—T. E. Lawrence from "The Seven Pillars of Wisdom"

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Thomas Edward (T.E.) Lawrence was born on August 16, 1888 at Tremadoc in North Wales. He was the second of five sons of Sir Thomas Chapman and Sarah Junner. Popularly known as Lawrence of Arabia, Lawrence became famous for his exploits as British Military liaison to the Arab Revolt during the First World War.

Lawrence had been fascinated by archaeology since childhood. After graduating with honors from Oxford in 1910, he served as an assistant at a British Museum excavation in Iraq (then known as Mesopotamia). When war broke out with Germany in 1914, Lawrence spent a brief period in the Geographical Section of the General Staff in London, and was then posted to the Military Intelligence Department in Cairo. In 1916 the Arabs rebelled against the Turkish empire. Lawrence was sent to Mecca on a fact-finding mission, ultimately becoming the British liaison officer to the Arabs. His account of the revolt is chronicled in his classic books, "Seven Pillars of Wisdom, A Triumph" and "Revolt in the Desert."

After the war Lawrence served in the British Delegation at the Paris Peace Conference, where he promoted the cause of Arab independence. Despite his efforts Syria, Palestine and Iraq were mandated to France and Britain. Lawrence returned to England exhausted and disappointed. By the end of 1920, British attempts to impose a colonial rule in Iraq had provoked an open rebellion. Winston Churchill was appointed by the British Colonial Office to find a solution, and persuaded Lawrence to join him as adviser. By the summer of 1922 Churchill, with considerable aid from Lawrence, had achieved a settlement of the situation.

In 1922 Lawrence resigned his position with the Colonial Office and enlisted in the RAF under an assumed name. After four months he was discovered by the press and discharged. With the help of a highly-placed friends he re-enlisted in the Tank Corps as 'Thomas Edward Shaw'. Between 1922 and early 1927 Lawrence revised "Seven Pillars" for publication, and edited an abridgement of the book called "Revolt in the Desert." Half way through this work he succeeded in transferring back to the RAF.

In March 1935 his twelve-year enlistment came to an end and he retired to "Clouds Hill " (the name of his cottage) in Dorset, England. Two months later he was thrown from his motorcycle while on a local errand. He suffered severe head injuries and died some days later without regaining consciousness.

by Robin Chew, 1996

28 posted on 07/07/2005 12:20:54 AM PDT by marty60
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To: MadIvan

T.E. Lawrence: So long as the Arabs fight tribe against tribe, so long will they be a little people, a silly people - greedy, barbarous, and cruel, as you are.

29 posted on 07/07/2005 12:23:17 AM PDT by MinorityRepublican
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To: Dave Elias; All
To Dave Elias:

To S.A. 
I loved you, so I drew these tides of men into my hands 
and wrote my will across the sky in stars 
To earn you Freedom, the seven-pillared worthy house, 
that your eyes might be shining for me 
When we came. 
Death seemed my servant on the road, till we were near 
and saw you waiting: 
When you smiled, and in sorrowful envy he outran me 
and took you apart: 
Into his quietness. 
Love, the way-weary, groped to your body, our brief wage 
ours for the moment 
Before earth's soft hand explored your shape, and the blind 
worms grew fat upon 
Your substance. 
Men prayed me that I set our work, the inviolate house, 
as a menory of you. 
But for fit monument I shattered it, unfinished: and now 
The little things creep out to patch themselves hovels 
in the marred shadow 
Of your gift.

To ALL: here are some websites:

T. E. Lawrence Studies http://www.telstudies.org/research/spw/sptexts.htm

Seven Pillars of Wisdom http://www.wesjones.com/lawrence1.htm

30 posted on 07/07/2005 12:35:27 AM PDT by sonofatpatcher2 (Texas, Love & a .45-- What more could you want, campers? };^)
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To: sonofatpatcher2

What a beautiful tribute to the death of a friend.


31 posted on 07/07/2005 12:40:20 AM PDT by marty60
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To: marty60

He may have been homosexual, or he may have been a victim of the pituitary deficiency he suffered after an accidental blow to the head in his late childhood, the accident that stopped his growth, making him short in stature.

When I first read The Seven Pillars of Wisdom in the early 60's these things weren't talked about openly. However, my prudish father still recommended the book for me to read.

So, I have never come to a conclusion one way or another about the issue, but then I haven't been exposed to information that would have been more openly brought forward in the last anything goes decades.


32 posted on 07/07/2005 12:58:37 AM PDT by patriciaruth (They are all Mike Spanns)
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To: patriciaruth
I realize his writings are somewhere in the genius stratosphere, but if you really read them, they are quite beautiful.

I sometimes wonder if the people that pine for the "good " ole days of the FBI g-Men, are bothered by the fact that J Edger was homosexual.

The whole issue on BOTH sides is very unpleasent. I trust God will sort it all out.

33 posted on 07/07/2005 2:24:06 AM PDT by marty60
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To: marty60

I wonder if the second manuscript was the best or the first one that was lost in the Paris train station was the best.

One thing about Heaven that I am counting on is that little questions like this will be answered.

That is the question I am more interested in having answered.


34 posted on 07/07/2005 4:51:46 AM PDT by patriciaruth (They are all Mike Spanns)
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To: MadIvan
"There are very few lessons that have not been learnt in history. The skill is to choose to rediscover them."

True.

35 posted on 07/07/2005 4:54:48 AM PDT by Aquinasfan (Isaiah 22:22, Rev 3:7, Mat 16:19)
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To: em2vn
In the end he was killed by a motorcycle crash.

Wasn't that Duane Allman?

36 posted on 07/07/2005 4:56:52 AM PDT by Aquinasfan (Isaiah 22:22, Rev 3:7, Mat 16:19)
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To: MadIvan
"Do not try to do too much with your own hands," it runs. "Better the Arabs do it tolerably than that you do it perfectly. It is their war, and you are to help them, not to win it for them."
"Lawrence is a man who spent a lot of time with Arabs and understood them and their culture," said Colonel Stephen W Davis, head of Regimental Combat Team 2, responsible for controlling the troubled western Anbar province.

SCREW 'EM!!!

I haven't CARED since 9/11...and 7/7 has just caused me to become even MORE enraged!

I don't care if you are Shi'a...Sunni...Sofa...loveseat...Whaabist....

You are ALL my enemy...your words and ACTIONS have confirmed it!

I do NOT show my enemies mercy...I MIGHT show the CONQUERED it...but NOT NOW!

Light the Fires, and Kick the Tires...time to check ALL Mosques...and their "Religion" be DAMNED!

Let us find ONE bullet...ONE pro-Islamazi piece of evidence...and it's time to pull them ALL down...preferrably around their Mullah' EARS!

NEVER AGAIN! NEVER!

37 posted on 07/07/2005 5:03:25 AM PDT by Itzlzha ("The avalanche has already started...it is too late for the pebbles to vote")
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