Sunday, June 25th 2017
Mar
2008
15

300: A lesson in leadership

The subliminal message of a Hollywood CGI popcorn movie about the Battle of Thermopylae: George Bush II and Dick Cheney do not walk the talk, in terms of personal sacrifice

300 | Originally uploaded by Ghostdiver.

BY BRIAN CAULFIELD — How hungry are Americans for inspired leadership? To the point that Time Warner has made a movie about a 2500-year old Greek king who fought to the death with his soldiers. It’s the No. 1 movie in America as of this weekend. Unreal.

Imagine George W. Bush or Dick Cheney donning combat gear and personally leading our troops to war. Against impossible odds. And not for oil.

These are two men who have rarely sacrificed a thing in their lives — except for the lives of others. The truly heroic warrior is a figure who has the courage to fight but the cunning to win while avoiding battle.

Sun Tzu, who wrote the Art of War during the same millennium as the drama depicted in 300, was onto this:

Supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting.

The digit in the 300‘s title is from a reference in Herodotus to the elite Spartan soldiers who made an Alamo-style stand against a vastly larger Persian army in 480 B.C. Unlike the Alamo, however, this famous last stand was a strategic success: it allowed Athens to organize a naval counter-offensive which handed the Greeks victory in their power struggle with the Persians.

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