Tho’ it mayhap be one hope forlorn

“The core of the military profession is discipline and the essence of discipline is obedience. Since this does not come naturally to men of independent and rational mind, they must train themselves in the habit of obedience in which lives and the fortunes of battle may some day depend. Reasonable orders are easy enough to obey; it is capricious, bureaucratic or plain idiotic demands that form the habit of discipline.” – Barbara Tuchman, Stillwell and the American Experience in China

They prefer the U.S. Treasury hold the lien

“A home mortgage is the most common example of secured debt in our society, but practically any valuable possession can secure a loan. We really do mean anything, tangible or intangible—a car, a collection of tattered law books, a debt that a third party owes to the borrower, the borrower’s rights under an esoteric contract (such as a musician’s right to receive royalties from a song each time it gets downloaded to an iPod), or a plaintiff’s rights to collect money from a lawsuit. Even a tenant’s interest in a lease or a farmer’s grazing rights on land can be pledged as collateral for a loan. Once you learn the legal power that a lender gets from having collateral, you’ll wonder why lenders ever loan money without taking a security interest.” – Nathalie Martin and Ocean Tama, Inside Bankruptcy Law (emphasis in original)

Free speech is your right, if you dare

“The limits on defamation actions for statements made about public figures exist because of concerns for free speech. False statements are bound to be made in the course of vigorous public debate. One of the prerogatives of American citizenship is the right to criticize public men and measures. Such criticism, inevitably, will not always be reasoned or moderate; public figures will be subject to vehement, caustic, and sometimes unpleasantly sharp attacks. While false assertions have little value, imposing liability for all false statements relating to public figures would have a chilling effect on speech about public figures, and freedoms of expression require breathing room. Without limitations on defamation actions, destructive self-censorship would occur limiting free speech. Given the importance of the free and open exchange of ideas, a public figure is prohibited from recovering damages for defamatory criticism unless there is clear and convincing evidence the defamatory statement was made with actual malice.” – Justice Crothers, Riemers v. Mahar (internal quotes and citations omitted)

No cowboys, neither

“The subordinate infantry commander has at his disposal only one sure means by which he may secure timely and vital information—infantry patrols. A well organized and properly conducted infantry patrol may operate successfully in spite of unfavorable weather, poor visibility, and difficult terrain. Successful patrolling demands the highest of soldierly virtues. Therefore, the selection of personnel for an important patrol must not be a perfunctory affair. The men should be carefully selected and only the intelligent, the physically fit and the stout of heart should be considered. One careless or stupid individual may bring about the death or capture of the entire patrol or cause it to fail in its mission. The moron, the weakling and the timid have no place in this hazardous and exacting duty.” – George C. Marshall, Infantry in Battle

Those cats was killin’ people

“The original judicial approach [to products liability law] had favored the corporation under the theory that fledgling manufacturers needed time and resources to develop their products. The theory was that this ‘breathing space’ would help the United States develop economically, and this increase in overall economic health would essentially work its way down to every member of society. In practice, exactly the opposite occurred. The manufacturers and corporations, like spoiled children, indulged themselves and failed to apply their profits toward improved safety and better design of products. In an environment in which profits are the only yardstick, all other considerations, even those concerning injuries to consumers, take a back seat.” – Neal R. Bevans, Tort Law for Paralegals

We are legally allowed to help each other, within limits

“The rescue doctrine is a rule of law holding that one who sees a person in imminent danger caused by the negligence of another cannot be charged with contributory negligence in a non-reckless attempt to rescue the imperiled person. The doctrine was developed to encourage rescue and to correct the harsh inequity of barring relief under principles of contributory negligence to a person who is injured in a rescue attempt which the injured person was under no duty to undertake.” – Justice Murray, Ouellette v. Carde

I’m grateful I’ve never had to do this

“As the infantry nears the hostile position the supporting fires are forced to lift. Then must the riflemen themselves furnish both the fire and the movement. At this stage, fire without movement is useless and movement without fire is suicidal. Even with both, the last hundred yards is a touch-and-go proposition demanding a high order of leadership, sound morale, and the will to win.” – George C. Marshall, Infantry in Battle

All these men had names

“And so, at the appointed hour, this brigade of 6,000 highhearted and determined men stood up and at the word of command fixed their bayonets, shouldered their rifles, and marched forward in quick time and in step to assault an intrenched enemy armed with machine guns. One can only surmise the thought in the minds of those German gunners as they saw the dense and serried waves of skirmishers marching stolidly toward them. As the leading wave approached the German position the French artillery lifted and the enemy’s artillery, machine guns and rifles opened with a concerted roar. The leading wave went down, the others surging forward were literally blown apart. In a matter of minutes the attack had melted away. A few men reached the wire in front of the German position, but there they were forced to take cover in shell holes. The entire brigade, nailed to the ground by a merciless fire, could do nothing but wait for nightfall.” – George C. Marshall, Infantry in Battle

Ten miles north of Duxford

“Ten miles north of Duxford on a broad thirty-acre slope along Madingley Road lies the American Military Cemetery at Madlingley, a tiny village just west of Cambridge. There are 3,811 Americans buried here, 24 of them unknown. An occasional rose lies at the base of a marble marker, though fewer now than a generation ago, as the personal links between living and dead dwindle. A 472-foot Wall of Remembrance bears the names of 5,125 men, all missing in action.” – John McDonough, “Return to East Anglia”

Words mean things — but what?

“The term ‘proximate cause’ is applied by the courts to those more or less undefined considerations which limit liability even where the fact of causation is clearly established. The word ‘proximate’ is a legacy of Lord Chancellor Bacon, who in his time committed other sins. The word means nothing more than near or immediate; and when it was first taken up by the courts it had connotations of proximity in time and space which have long since disappeared. It is an unfortunate word, which places an entirely wrong emphasis upon the factor of physical or mechanical closeness. For this reason ‘legal cause’ or perhaps even ‘responsible cause’ would be a more appropriate term.” – William Prosser, Prosser and Keeton on the Law of Torts

A hero is unmade

“On August 12 [1942] the Japanese High Command in Tokyo ordered Lieutenant General Haruyoshi Hyakutake’s Seventeenth Army to take over the ground action on Guadalcanal, and Rear Admiral Raizo Tanaka’s Eighth Fleet to take over at sea. The nearest thing at hand for Hyakutake’s use was a 2,000-man force of infantry, artillery, and engineers under Colonel Kiyono Ichiki that had been put together as the landing force for Midway. Tanaka put the first echelon—some 900 men—of Ichiki’s force ashore on Guadalcanal on August 18. What happened now was a calamity for the Japanese. Without waiting for the rest of his men, cocky Colonel Ichiki sent those he had across the sandspit at the Tenaru River against the Marines on the night of August 21. He lost 600 men, accomplished nothing, and expressed his chagrin by committing suicide.” – George McMillan, “I’ve Served My Time in Hell”

Come here right now

“Special emphasis should be laid on the language employed in orders. Leaders of all grades should be trained to test every word, every phrase, every sentence, for ambiguity and obscurity. If, by even the wildest stretch of the imagination, a phrase can be tortured out of its true meaning, the chance is always present that it will be. Short, simple sentences of simple, commonplace words, will go far toward making an order unmistakable.” – George C. Marshall, Infantry in Battle

Good luck with that

“Even if information be lacking, the leader must produce decisions. In most cases a poor decision will be better than no decision at all. Negligence and hesitation are more serious faults than errors in choice of means. No rule can tell us how to time decisions correctly.” – George C. Marshall, Infantry in Battle

There are laws and conventions

“The art of war has no traffic with rules, for the infinitely varied circumstances and conditions of combat never produce exactly the same situation twice. Mission, terrain, weather, dispositions, armament, morale, supply, and comparative strength are variables whose mutations always combine to form a new tactical pattern. Thus, in battle, each situation is unique and must be solved on its own merits.” – George C. Marshall, Infantry in Battle