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Clausewitz Condensed

Theory is a Guide

In the theory of war, Clausewitz says, there can be no "prescriptive formulation universal enough to deserve the name of law." (152) He cites three reasons why a theory of war cannot be subjected to rigid scientific principles:

Moreover, most theorists usually are guilty of at least one of the following three flaws, according to Clausewitz:

In sum, theory should confine itself to simple terms and straight- forward observations of the conduct of war; it must avoid spurious claims and pseudo-scientific forumulae and historical compendia; and it must above all never forget the human element, the moral forces, of war. "Pity the theory, writes Clausewitz, "that conflicts with reason!" (136)