Derek Gregory on fog, friction and war. Tim Cresswell has just done a nice chapter on friction and mobility for our Handbook of Mobilities coming out later this year.
I suspect most people attribute the metaphoric “fog of war” to Clausewitz’s critical reflections on the Napoleonic wars and then fast-forward to Erroll Morris‘s brilliant 2003 film about Robert Strange (sic) McNamara, The Fog of War, which centres on the Second World War and Vietnam.
Both turn out to be more problematic than they seem. First, although Clausewitz mentioned ‘fog’ several times in his manuscript On War he never used the phrase “fog of war”; this is the sentence that probably comes closest to the contemporary meaning:
‘War is the realm of uncertainty; three quarters of the factors on which action is based are wrapped in a fog of greater or lesser uncertainty’ [Der Krieg ist das Gebiet der Ungewißheit; drei Vierteile derjenigen Dinge, worauf das Handeln im Kriege gebaut wird, liegen im Nebel einer mehr oder weniger großen Ungewißheit’].
In a brief commentary, Eugenia Kieslingsuggests that…
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