Friday, March 23, 2012

Fed With the Flesh of Their Husbands

The following is an abstract for a potential paper. I proposed this for the Mormon Scholars in the Humanities conference. Southern Virgina University, my alma mater, hosted it this year. So I looked forward to presenting there. But my abstract did not make the cut.

Now it goes into a weird limbo stage. I have many projects on which I'm currently working, which is the subject of a future post. Yet I thought my readers might appreciate a peak into this topic. Most likely this will end up being a chapter in a follow up book on warfare in The Book of Mormon.

Fed with the Flesh of Their Husbands:
The High Spiritual Costs of Waging Economic War

The Roman politician Cicero once called money the “sinews of war”. Due to the high cost of waging war many entities have attempted to lessen this cost through the use of particular tactics and strategy. One of the most well known cost effective strategies is the “Chevauchee”, performed by medieval English leaders whose armies devastated much of France during the 100 years war.(1337-1453AD) A Chevauchee describes a march through the countryside typified by burning, pillage, rape, and murder. This allows a nation to supply its army at the cost of the opposing nation even as the attacker’s rapacious tactics undermine the legitimacy of the defending ruler and his ability to wage war. While this practice is interesting to study and certainly allows the attacking nation to wage war on a limited budget, it often disregards an important moral dimension to warfare. The Book of Mormon also relates devastating conflicts and details practices that match and sometimes exceed the devastation of a Chevauchee. As both the Nephites and Jaredites resort to these tactics in the denouement of their nations this paper will argue that the decision to wage war “on the cheap” through pillaging is both a cause and reflection of their decaying spiritual condition. And it tentatively applies these principles in a modern context.

Thanks for reading. Stay tuned for more updates on my current projects and ideas.

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