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But when Lawrence looked at his ragtag band of Bedouin fighters he realized that a direct attack on Medina would never succeed. The Turks sat in Medina “on the defensive, immobile.” There were so many of them, consuming so much food and fuel and water, that they could hardly make a major move across the desert.Instead of attacking the Turks at their point of strength, Lawrence reasoned, he ought to attack them where they were weak—along the vast, largely unguarded length of railway line that was their connection to Damascus.
If a businessman waits until the end of the month to collect and count his receipts, he’s “batch processing.” There is a gap between the events in the company—sales—and his understanding of those events. The information on which a trader based his decisions was scattered across a number of databases.
The trader would collect information from here and there, collate and analyze it, and then make a trade. Ranadivé views this move from batch to real time as a sort of holy mission.
“Our largest available resources were the tribesmen, men quite unused to formal warfare, whose assets were movement, endurance, individual intelligence, knowledge of the country, courage.” The eighteenth-century general Maurice de Saxe famously said that the art of war was about legs, not arms, and Lawrence’s troops were legs.
In one typical stretch, in the spring of 1917, his men dynamited sixty rails and cut a telegraph line at Buair on March 24th, sabotaged a train and twenty-five rails at Abu al-Naam on March 25th, dynamited fifteen rails and cut a telegraph line at Istabl Antar on March 27th, raided a Turkish garrison and derailed a train on March 29th, returned to Buair and sabotaged the railway line again on March 31st, dynamited eleven rails at Hediah on April 3rd, raided the train line in the area of Wadi Dhaiji on April 4th and 5th, and attacked twice on April 6th.
Three of our men died of bites; four recovered after great fear and pain, and a swelling of the poisoned limb.
Howeitat treatment was to bind up the part with snake-skin plaster and read chapters of the Koran to the sufferer until he died.
When they finally arrived at Aqaba, Lawrence’s band of several hundred warriors killed or captured twelve hundred Turks, and lost only two men.
The Turks simply did not think that their opponent would be mad enough to come at them from the desert. David can beat Goliath by substituting effort for ability—and substituting effort for ability turns out to be a winning formula for underdogs in all walks of life, including little blond-haired girls on the basketball court.
Vivek Ranadivé decided to coach his daughter Anjali’s basketball team, he settled on two principles. This was National Junior Basketball—the Little League of basketball.
The team was made up mostly of twelve-year-olds, and twelve-year-olds, he knew from experience, did not respond well to shouting.