Open University of Celestial Hardship (OUCH)
Let Jita Burn - Printable Version

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Let Jita Burn - Bren Genzan - 04-27-2012

War has come to the country. The city is about to be assaulted by a large combat force. The force is powerful enough to do considerable injury to the civilian population, but insufficient to occupy it for a considerable amount of time. Local troops from the surrounding country will eventually come to your aid. However that help is not coming now. The city's population is up in arms over what actions they should take. Should you stand and fight? Should you cut and run? This city is the nation's capital! Not many are willing to leave without giving a good fight, even if it's one that they are certain to lose. They feel compelled to defend, even in the face of certain defeat. They feel that to do anything less would be dishonorable.

In the end, the nations leaders decide to leave a token force to defend the capital. They burn ships currently in construction to prevent their capture, spike the cannon and withdraw to defend a nearby city which is of more strategic value than the capital.

The population evacuates and the city burns at the hands of the invaders. The president's mansion is burned, the senate building burned, but because the buildings are largely made of stone, they are not destroyed. Civilian property is left untouched: the discipline of the invaders restricts damage to public property owned by the government. Civilian losses are minimal, limited to partisans who refused evacuation orders.

After less than two days of occupation, the invading force withdraws, to continue its campaign. Government officials return to the city, civilians return to their homes and businesses, largely untouched. The major work of rebuilding infrastructure will last for several years, but the business of running a country goes on as usual.

This is a snapshot of the Burning of Washington, DC, during the War of 1812 between the United States of America and Britain. A war declared by a young United States over freedom of trade and the impressment of American citizens onto British Merchant ships. The "moral victory" that the British sought in by burning Washington in retaliation for the burning of settlements on the Great Lakes by American forces, was hoped to "teach 'Cousin Jonathan' a lesson", but it ultimately failed because it was seen as "poor form" or "petty revenge" by the British people at home.

Weeks later, the defense of Baltimore, proved to be a key moment in the War of 1812, and was the inspiration for a song titled "Defense of Fort McHenry", which is more commonly known as "The Star-Spangled Banner".

As an aside, one of Britain's best commanders of the period, Major General Robert Ross, whose disciplined troops spared civilian property in the burning of Washington DC, was lost during the Battle of Baltimore. It's arguable that had he survived, he would have lead British forces against General Andrew Jackson in the Battle of New Orleans, and history might be a bit different today.

But history has shown that you don't necessarily need to meet force with force on every front to win the war. You can even let the other guy burn the Presidential mansion and still win the war.

So to carebears and killers alike, I say, "Let Jita Burn". It will be there when we get back from Amarr.