Decapitation (military and political strategy)

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Sun Tzu said "What is essential in war is victory, not prolonged operations."

The Encyclopedia of War declares:

The strategy of disrupting or defeating an enemy by eliminating its military and political leadership, “decapitating” the army or society, has long been practiced in conflicts and advocated by strategists as diverse as Sun Tzu and Machiavelli. The principal benefit of decapitation is that much can be gained, immediately, from a limited operation. Removing leaders can bring victory in battle, decisively turn a campaign, or cause an entire country to fall. There are weaknesses inherent in this strategy, however; its success seems dependent on the specific context in which it is employed.[1]

Decapitation and military snipers

Military snipers reduce the enemy's fighting ability by killing/injuring officers (and other high-value targets) and by demoralizing the enemy.[2]

Decapitation and nuclear warfare theory

In nuclear warfare theory, a decapitation strike is a first strike attack that is designed to remove the command and control centers/mechanisms of an opponent.[3]

Decapitation and political/ideological conflicts

In political conflicts, decapitation involves attacking the opposing political leader and/or leadership.[4][5]

The leftist political activists Saul Alinsky declared: "Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it. Don’t try to attack abstract corporations or bureaucracies. Identify a responsible individual. Ignore attempts to shift or spread the blame."

Related quote

“..Strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.." - Zechariah 13:7 (ESV)

See also

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