Paul Chappell Talk @ Stanford – Part II

This is the second in a series on Captain Paul K. Chappell.


Paul says the turning point of his thinking came with what he learned at West Point. The truth about modern warfare is that it is about winning hearts and minds, not killing the most people. Modern technology, such as the Internet, mass media, cell phones and YouTube, has forced war to evolve. Since the hearts and minds can be won through technology, wars are fought on CNN, Fox News and Al Jazeera as much as they are in battle. These technologies can be used to fuel a war, or they can be used to win hearts and minds without the battle.

Technology has been utilized for peace before – and not just on small scales. Both Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. used technology and peace to solve large problems. Gandhi was more tactically and strategically great than any military leader to be able to defeat the entire British Empire without firing a bullet and then turn his enemy into a friend. MLK Jr used the media to inspire support. The Civil Rights Movement had a uniform at protests of buttoned-down collared shirts and nice slacks and shoes, so the people at home watching the television would recognize one of their own in the protesters; they didn’t see hooligans being beat by the police, they saw their brothers and sisters.

The most powerful thing, truly, is to win a war without firing a single shot. Sun Tzu once said, “winning a hundred victories in a hundred battles is not the pinnacle of excellence; defeating your enemy without bloodshed is the pinnacle of excellence.”

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