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p. 303. Attrition and exhaustionlocked

  • Antulio J. Echevarria II


Two of the more frequently used military strategies are attrition and exhaustion. Attrition means reducing an adversary’s physical capacity to fight; exhaustion entails wearing down the opponent’s willingness to do so. Both strategies can mean long wars, imposing heavy burdens on a nation’s population and economy, meaning they are not always culturally acceptable or economically practical. The Allies’ strategy in the Second World War is a modern example of attrition. A strategy of exhaustion can take several forms: blockades, sieges, guerrilla warfare, and “scorched earth” policies that destroy the physical ground an attacker might use. Physical and political geographies in the region will affect the implementation of either strategy.

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