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solarz

Thoughts on the Aiel

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38 minutes ago, solarz said:

 

 

Again, if we followed the Aiel ratio, there should have been upward of 50,000 channelers in Randland. Compared to that, even 450 new novices would be a drop in the bucket.

 

Agreed it's still low, but, the 450 are limited to women who want and can learn, are able to leave home (few direct responsibilities and able to afford it), are able to travel to the camp, are willing to join the rebel group, etc etc etc

 

The Aes Sedai at the camp were against the new novices, they won't have been hard recruiting, it's still passive. Maybe the final numbers won't be as high as the Aiel, but they indicate that the traditional methods of recruitment are poor

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Plus, what's the catchment area? Salidar isn't exactly a populous area

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14 minutes ago, BFG said:

Plus, what's the catchment area? Salidar isn't exactly a populous area

 

Not just Salidar. They marched all the way to Murandy, recruiting on the way.

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12 minutes ago, solarz said:

 

Not just Salidar. They marched all the way to Murandy, recruiting on the way.

Which is through village territory in Altara, there's still no major population center and this is a small country. I also dont get any impression that the Aes Sedai were actively recruiting, ie testing everyone they met because most disagreed with the idea. It was more likely a 'proclaim in a village that they're looking for novices/recruits and age doesn't matter anymore' but they're still relying on volunteers

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A couple of notes:

 

The ignoring heat/cold thing is completely unrelated to channeling, it's stated many times to just be a focus thing, trick of the mind, anyone can learn, but channelers are taught it and also practiced at focus.

 

Ratio of channelers: it's stated numerous times that for the most part Aes Sedai don't really recruit at all. The instilled idea is that only young girls who seek out the Tower should be made Novices. Many AS discriminate against wilders, and AS rarely recruit, thinking people should come to them.

 

As mentioned the Rebels merely opened up the Novice book to anyone and got 450 just by letting people come, Egwene wanted to actively recruit, but most AS we're against it.

 

The fact that everyone is blown away by the wonder girls' strength and three of that strength coming to the Tower at the same time, yet finding out there are all kinds of people (wilders, Kin, etc) who are just as strong or stronger I think shows the point that they've not been looking hard. There's talk of people with the spark being forced to go to the Tower if found, but otherwise mentioned many times they don't actively seeking people out. It's AS arrogance causing it.

 

Every other people tests everyone (Aiel who can channel become Wise Ones, Sea Folk who can channel become Windfinders, Seanchan become damane, and Sharans are literally bred specifically for their channeling abilities.

 

The WT is the least effective due to their traditions and arrogance.

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We know from Moraine they do seek out ones like Egwene who are close to their first touching.  But I think it's more of a if they happen to be nearby.  Doesn't seem like many are out specificly with the intent to test girls.  The  issue the Aes Sedai have to deal with is the extreme mistrust of Aes Sedai.  It's unlikely many villages would be happy if Aes Sedai showed up and announced they were going to test every girl in the village from the age of say 12 -18.  

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On 7/29/2018 at 10:45 AM, Talmanes said:

The ignoring heat/cold thing is completely unrelated to channeling, it's stated many times to just be a focus thing, trick of the mind, anyone can learn, but channelers are taught it and also practiced at focus.

 

The only non-channeler we know of who was taught this trick was Min, and she couldn't get it to work.

 

Just because Aes Sedai say or believe something doesn't mean it's true. We've seen plenty of examples of that in the books.

 

On 7/29/2018 at 10:45 AM, Talmanes said:

Ratio of channelers: it's stated numerous times that for the most part Aes Sedai don't really recruit at all. The instilled idea is that only young girls who seek out the Tower should be made Novices. Many AS discriminate against wilders, and AS rarely recruit, thinking people should come to them.

 

So what were Verin and Alanna doing in the Two Rivers? Why did they take 20 girls with them? Why was Cadsuane worried about the number of novices in New Spring?

 

The 450 novices Egwene got by opening the novice books are basically women who can learn to channel, but are past the age of acceptance by the White Tower. It doesn't mean there are 100 times that number of channelers still hidden out there. Once again, let me reiterate that the Aiel ratio is 1 : 1000. If the Aiel did not have an exceptional ratio, then the Wetland nations should have 50,000 channelers. There are 1783 Kin, ~1000 Aes Sedai, ~500 novices and Accepted counting those Egwene attracted. Even counting in wilders, there can't be more than 5000 channelers in all of the Wetlands. A difference of that magnitude can't just be explained away by the AS not actively recruiting.

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We know the Asha'man tried to teach the ignore heat/cold trick to their wives but they didn't want to learn it.

 

A few things about Verin and Alanna they only went there after knowing they would find some, and even Perin was suspicious of their real reason for going there.  They might of went there looking for women who could channel but Perin doubted that was their only reason for suddenly turning up in the Two Rivers.  

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Yep we hear about the Asha'man part trying to teach the trick and it's mentioned there too that it's just focus. We see even Aes Sedai sometimes struggling to keep that focus though, it's hard to do, but channelers are more used to focus as a part of their training to channel, which requires extreme focus. People associate it with the Power but it's mentioned several times it's unrelated.

 

As for the channelers numbers, in CoT the Novice number gets well over 1,000 and that's once again just from people along the oath if the Rebels. And the point about the Channelers in the Two Rivers (which even if that was their full motive, which I don't buy for a second considering TR is where the DR and two other ta'veren are from) only goes to prove my point. In one tiny, tiny village, they find that many just by looking, and only taking those within the normal age range.

 

 

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Personally I believed that RJ made them a little bit overpower, its kind of like watching the latest seasons of Game of Thrones and everybody is talking up the Dothraki when really they are only light Calvary and haven't actually had a fight with an organised and disciplined army who wear armour and use tactics. Even Jorah is known as being an average fighter beats a Dothraki Blood-rider just because he is wearing armour and the Dothraki have never fought an enemy like that. The Aiel are an impressive beast of war but there are always ways to beat an enemy even ones who use Guerrilla tactics, the fact that they don't wear armour would also add to that fact.

 

Going to a different note though, I have an idea that the Aiel were not created by the Aes Sedai but rather a Dragon in a previous cycle (why else would a Dragon look so much like an Aiel if the Aes Sedai made them?), it is stated that the Aiel are a tool to be used and during Aviendha's vision of the future not having a purpose breaks the Aiel. Therefore I suspect that a Dragon who was more scientifically orientated made the Aiel to aid his fight against the Dark One, creating the Aiel from his own DNA (or something) and crafted them to be warriors and tools against the Dark One. 

 

I imagine that they completed this cycle and sealed away the Dark One and this Dragon either died or lived, but I could see if this Dragon implemented the Way of the Leaf for the Aiel to follow as a reward for their service in defeating the Shadow, then the next cycle happens and they stick to the Way of the Leaf eventually taking up arms again once the world is significantly effed.

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I mean Rand's father was Aiel, so that's why he looks Aiel: he is.

 

I think honestly the biggest argument against Aiel being 'created' by anyone is the fact that they can Channel (potentially) and ate therefore human. 

 

We know in the AoL they did create nonhuman races like the Nym, but actually creating other human beings that can channel, seems to be Creator proportion, and I don't buy that at all.

 

I still hold to giving the Aiel all if the physical abilities to be warriors wouldn't have made sense for a race of pacifists either. Plus we do know Aiel could channel before the Breaking (in CoT one of the Wise Ones does the baby delving thing and states it's from before the Breaking).

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Channeling is tied to the soul, so to create something you would need to figure out how to give it  a soul which I assume only the creator can do.  All the DO one can do is put a soul in a different body, he can't make souls.  So really unlikely Aes Sedai made Aiel.

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4 hours ago, Talmanes said:

I think honestly the biggest argument against Aiel being 'created' by anyone is the fact that they can Channel (potentially) and ate therefore human. 

 

We know in the AoL they did create nonhuman races like the Nym, but actually creating other human beings that can channel, seems to be Creator proportion, and I don't buy that at all.

 

Not created, genetically engineered.

 

Or perhaps the Aiel were an experiment in breeding more channelers. After all, the Aiel gene-pool is pretty isolated even in the AOL.

 

9 hours ago, JakeWilson said:

Personally I believed that RJ made them a little bit overpower, its kind of like watching the latest seasons of Game of Thrones and everybody is talking up the Dothraki when really they are only light Calvary and haven't actually had a fight with an organised and disciplined army who wear armour and use tactics. Even Jorah is known as being an average fighter beats a Dothraki Blood-rider just because he is wearing armour and the Dothraki have never fought an enemy like that. The Aiel are an impressive beast of war but there are always ways to beat an enemy even ones who use Guerrilla tactics, the fact that they don't wear armour would also add to that fact.

 

You forget that the Aiel has a proven record of being able to thrash Wetlander armies. They're not just "hyped up". In fact, quite the contrary, most Wetlanders think Aiel are just a bunch of savages and a good cavalry charge would scatter them. Only veterans of the Aiel War know better.

 

Aiel don't use guerilla tactics, they use modern infantry tactics. They prioritize recon and maneuver over formations and fortifications.

 

Game of Thrones is a poor comparison to WOT. GOT is medieval warfare. WOT is 16th century warfare. GOT's armies consist of a few thousand peasants and a few dozen knights. The Aiel military consists of tens of thousands of professional soldiers. A few men in armor has an advantage against dozens of ill-trained peasants, but are just target practice against a squad of professional soldiers with the tools to take down armored opponents.

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12 hours ago, Talmanes said:

I mean Rand's father was Aiel, so that's why he looks Aiel: he is.

 

I think honestly the biggest argument against Aiel being 'created' by anyone is the fact that they can Channel (potentially) and ate therefore human. 

 

We know in the AoL they did create nonhuman races like the Nym, but actually creating other human beings that can channel, seems to be Creator proportion, and I don't buy that at all.

 

I still hold to giving the Aiel all if the physical abilities to be warriors wouldn't have made sense for a race of pacifists either. Plus we do know Aiel could channel before the Breaking (in CoT one of the Wise Ones does the baby delving thing and states it's from before the Breaking).

 

You make a lot of really good points here Talmanes, here is my rebuttal though.

 

The Dragon specifically, not just Rand but also Lews Therin who Rand is a spitting image of (if 2 Dragons are extremely similar its not out of the question to say that every Dragon looks like them). Why would the Dragon Reborn of each cycle look like Aiel, it can always be coincidence. And maybe the Aiel's ability to Channel was a biproduct of their creation, a happy accident that was just another bonus (like the Myraddral who were a biproduct of the Trolloc's)

 

Like Solarz said though, I pertain to the belief that it wasn't "creation" (poor choice of words on my behalf) but genetic engineering with a previous Dragon using large portions of his own DNA or something.

 

You make a really good point when saying why would a race of pacifists be the best warriors, that's why I proposed that pacifism was a reward for their services defeating the Dark One of another age. (Pretty crappy reward but as is stated they are tools and tools need to have a purpose otherwise they erode).

 

7 hours ago, solarz said:

 

Not created, genetically engineered.

 

Or perhaps the Aiel were an experiment in breeding more channelers. After all, the Aiel gene-pool is pretty isolated even in the AOL.

 

 

You forget that the Aiel has a proven record of being able to thrash Wetlander armies. They're not just "hyped up". In fact, quite the contrary, most Wetlanders think Aiel are just a bunch of savages and a good cavalry charge would scatter them. Only veterans of the Aiel War know better.

 

Aiel don't use guerilla tactics, they use modern infantry tactics. They prioritize recon and maneuver over formations and fortifications.

 

Game of Thrones is a poor comparison to WOT. GOT is medieval warfare. WOT is 16th century warfare. GOT's armies consist of a few thousand peasants and a few dozen knights. The Aiel military consists of tens of thousands of professional soldiers. A few men in armor has an advantage against dozens of ill-trained peasants, but are just target practice against a squad of professional soldiers with the tools to take down armored opponents.

 

You make really good points here Solarz, I'm not saying that they don't have a track record of kicking ass and taking names, there is no doubt in my mind that they are one of the best representations of a warrior-race in fictions that I believe would actually be great warriors.

 

Usually they fight other clans who would use similar tactics which creates a stagnation of military thinking when applied to a foreign force, but RJ done something smart by making the Aiel War not so long before the start of WOT as this gives the Aiel credibility to know they can fight and beat Wetlanders since the last time they fought a foreign force they thrashed them and it was only done in living memory and not hundreds of years before hand.

 

I more so think that RJ just put them on too high a pedestal instead of giving them military defeats that resounded to the Aiel. There should be written evidence of defeats that forced them to be better, just like the Seachan who we witness have military defeats but have so many different aspects of the military that it allows them to have a million different opinions but always come to a conclusive victory through analysis.

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12 hours ago, JakeWilson said:

The Dragon specifically, not just Rand but also Lews Therin who Rand is a spitting image of (if 2 Dragons are extremely similar its not out of the question to say that every Dragon looks like them). Why would the Dragon Reborn of each cycle look like Aiel, it can always be coincidence. And maybe the Aiel's ability to Channel was a biproduct of their creation, a happy accident that was just another bonus (like the Myraddral who were a biproduct of the Trolloc's)

 

Lews Therin does not look like Rand. It's been remarked several times in the books that the only common appearance they share is their height.

 

 

12 hours ago, JakeWilson said:

I more so think that RJ just put them on too high a pedestal instead of giving them military defeats that resounded to the Aiel. There should be written evidence of defeats that forced them to be better, just like the Seachan who we witness have military defeats but have so many different aspects of the military that it allows them to have a million different opinions but always come to a conclusive victory through analysis.

 

Aviendha's visions in Towers of Midnight shows that the Aiel failed to adapt when faced with an equally effective military, aka Seanchan.

 

It should be noted that the Aiel do not really know war. In fact, their ji'e'toh is geared toward avoiding the annihilation of their enemies. Aiel are highly effective raiders, the Aiel War is basically one giant raid if you think about it. Yet, unlike the Seanchan, they do not have the mindset to prosecute an all-out war.

 

"Aiel" means "dedicated", and that is what they are really good at: being dedicated. The Da'shain Aiel were dedicated to peace, while the 3rd Age Aiel were dedicated to battle. This dedication makes them really good at what they are dedicated to: Da'shain Aiel endured incredible amounts of punishment without wavering from their beliefs. Ten thousand Da'shain stood linking arms against a mad channeler, singing until the last. The 3rd Age Aiel built their entire society and culture toward churning out highly effective warriors. Unfortunately, the flip side is that this dedication makes them rigid and slow to adapt. The Tinkers in the Two Rivers were so certain their nomadic way of life would protect them, that they refused Perrin's offer to go to Emond's Field, with the consequence that they were slaughtered by the Trollocs.

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Agree with Solarz, they don't look anything alike. Also it is noted that the Aiel only saw the 'Aiel War' as a raid with the sole purpose of killing Laman, not an actual war.

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10 hours ago, solarz said:

 

Lews Therin does not look like Rand. It's been remarked several times in the books that the only common appearance they share is their height.

 

Shit... I kept on seeing an image (must have been from the comics) of Lews Therin and I thought that he just looked like an older Rand with dulled-red hair. I guess that does throw shade on my theory about the Aiel but I also really like my theory... Damn.

 

10 hours ago, solarz said:

Aviendha's visions in Towers of Midnight shows that the Aiel failed to adapt when faced with an equally effective military, aka Seanchan.

 

It should be noted that the Aiel do not really know war. In fact, their ji'e'toh is geared toward avoiding the annihilation of their enemies. Aiel are highly effective raiders, the Aiel War is basically one giant raid if you think about it. Yet, unlike the Seanchan, they do not have the mindset to prosecute an all-out war.

 

"Aiel" means "dedicated", and that is what they are really good at: being dedicated. The Da'shain Aiel were dedicated to peace, while the 3rd Age Aiel were dedicated to battle. This dedication makes them really good at what they are dedicated to: Da'shain Aiel endured incredible amounts of punishment without wavering from their beliefs. Ten thousand Da'shain stood linking arms against a mad channeler, singing until the last. The 3rd Age Aiel built their entire society and culture toward churning out highly effective warriors. Unfortunately, the flip side is that this dedication makes them rigid and slow to adapt. The Tinkers in the Two Rivers were so certain their nomadic way of life would protect them, that they refused Perrin's offer to go to Emond's Field, with the consequence that they were slaughtered by the Trollocs.

 

My interpretation of the war between Aiel and Seachan was that due to Rand dying and so much time passing without the Aiel having any mission or task to complete that they started to go looking for a task and focused on the Seachan, it is because Rand did not give them a purpose that they started that war. Hence why in AMOL the Aiel push to be apart of the Dragon's Treaty, just to be given a purpose.

 

You are incredibly right to, I have been focusing way to much on the Aiel as a military might rather than a society. Ji'e'toh is geared towards avoiding deaths and doing things that gain a person honour amongst the Aiel (which is why the Aiel like Perrin, because everything he does is around trying to be honourable), But as they say the Dragon will break the Aiel, maybe that is just one of the ways he breaks them, that so long down the track when he is just a name Ji'e'toh is far less concrete to the Aiel and is far more opened to interpretation throughout all of Aiel society.

 

It is also completely understandable why they would fight the Seachan, most of Randland revere Channeler's but the Seachan are openly collaring them, and most of Randland are nations that do not have the capabilities to fight the Seachan successfully like the Aiel do. So it makes sense that the Aiel would lead the charge against them and provoke a war with the Seachan. It's the Aiel's dedication to fighting the enemy whoever that is.

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On 8/2/2018 at 1:39 AM, solarz said:

 

So what were Verin and Alanna doing in the Two Rivers? Why did they take 20 girls with them? Why was Cadsuane worried about the number of novices in New Spring?

 

Anyone that believes Verin and Alanna went to the Two Rivers to recruit girls... seriously. Verin is never doing what she says she is.

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On 9/3/2018 at 1:21 AM, shintemaster said:

 

Anyone that believes Verin and Alanna went to the Two Rivers to recruit girls... seriously. Verin is never doing what she says she is.

 

No, they went to recruit. They arrived at the TR before the Whitecloaks, therefore they could not have had any inkling that Rand or Perrin would be coming to the TR. Furthermore, the fact that they took some 20 girls with them when they left shows how much importance they placed on recruitment.

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Verin especially isn't going to put herself out of the way simply to bring back a few girls.  The girls there were a reason but it's hard to believe that was Verin's only reason.  Even Perin thought their explanation made sense but didn't answer all his questions or settle all his doubts.  Also would look a little odd to say we came seeking girls who could channel and then leave with none.  Mat's sister was one, what better way to have a possible link to ta'veren then to have people such as Mat's sister in the tower.  

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5 hours ago, Sabio said:

Verin especially isn't going to put herself out of the way simply to bring back a few girls.  The girls there were a reason but it's hard to believe that was Verin's only reason.  Even Perin thought their explanation made sense but didn't answer all his questions or settle all his doubts.  Also would look a little odd to say we came seeking girls who could channel and then leave with none.  Mat's sister was one, what better way to have a possible link to ta'veren then to have people such as Mat's sister in the tower.  

 

They went there because the Dragon Reborn came from there. I think that is pretty obvious. The hunting girls is a cover and a side benefit - we have seen throughout this series that AS traditionally have placed very little value on looking for girls that can channel. They wait for them to come to the Tower.

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On 9/5/2018 at 5:44 PM, Sabio said:

Verin especially isn't going to put herself out of the way simply to bring back a few girls.  The girls there were a reason but it's hard to believe that was Verin's only reason.  Even Perin thought their explanation made sense but didn't answer all his questions or settle all his doubts.  Also would look a little odd to say we came seeking girls who could channel and then leave with none.  Mat's sister was one, what better way to have a possible link to ta'veren then to have people such as Mat's sister in the tower.  

 

On 9/5/2018 at 11:07 PM, shintemaster said:

 

 

They went there because the Dragon Reborn came from there. I think that is pretty obvious. The hunting girls is a cover and a side benefit - we have seen throughout this series that AS traditionally have placed very little value on looking for girls that can channel. They wait for them to come to the Tower.

 

 

If it was just a cover, why take 20 girls? Why not just two? IIRC, only one or two of those girls were Sparkers, so if recruitment wasn't a strong motivation, why would they burden themselves with a gaggle of teenagers?

 

Furthermore, we saw how much prestige the Red Ajah gained via Elaida finding Elayne. If finding strong novices was a way to win prestige, then it would make no sense to claim Aes Sedai place no importance on recruiting.

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@solarz it might not make a lot of sense, but that's what AS have traditionally done. Especially in the Salidar arc we consistently get comments from AS (and thoughts in their POVs) that while it's amazing they have so many Novices, they don't like it and feel they shouldn't have to recruit, or change from only taking young girls as Novices. AS would take girls with the spark to the Tower if they came across them, but it's stated way early on in the books that those born with the spark are way less common vs. those that can be taught. Many AS even specifically state they think they should go back to the old way with pretty much just letting people come to them.

 

It's shortsighted arrogance but it comes from a long line of tradition which we know AS view almost like law. They think they're too good to go out recruiting, and that if it's meant to be it will happen.

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@solarzWell, the Power can kill you if you don't learn how to use it.  So if twenty girls were in danger, it would be irresponsible for Verin and Alanna to leave them behind.  That and the twenty were willing, after Moraine had saved them.  The two AS were quite effective manipulators--but, although I did consider Alanna somewhat irresponsibly, I did not think Verin was that.

 

On the Aiel--I always saw them as like many warrior cultures--eg in Afghanistan right now or our war with Japan.  It's very difficult to fight an extremely mobile and fast army, especially if they employ guerrilla tactics.  I think even Alexander the Great failed to get Afghanistan.  Guerrilla tactics involve infiltrating places and being extremely fast--and so guerrilla forces are extremely hard to isolate and to be "forced" into a battle. They can come and go on a whim.  The Aiel can infiltrate everywhere and go anywhere to surprise enemies kind of like that.  That's also one of the reasons the Aiel can only attack, though, not defend (as Rodel Ituralde points out to Rhuarc at some point)--just as the Taliban is extremely mobile and fast and so it can run circles around regular American forces, but whenever we pin them down, we win.  Imagine fighting the Taliban if they had the same tools we did--that's what we're talking about with the Aiel.

 

(I hate making a comparison with terrorists, but the point still stands).

 

I think RJ was probably thinking of Japan when he described the Seanchan, but again, Japan was extremely fast and relied on surprise--just with a traditionally organised army, unlike what America's facing now.  They conquered much of the British Empire in Asia before the Brits could respond.  And one of the main reasons America could fight back and win is simply distance.  It was too far away from Japan for Japan to make an effective attack. They tried to when attacking Pearl Harbor, but by luck all of America's Pacific navy wasn't in the harbor and America had the resources to come back from the attack.  

 

But this, again, is part of the Aiel.  They can hide in the middle of everywhere, are extremely fast, but also (like Japan) have an organised army.

 

So, yup.  I just wrote quite a lot, didn't I?

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On 9/8/2018 at 11:00 AM, haycraftd said:

On the Aiel--I always saw them as like many warrior cultures--eg in Afghanistan right now or our war with Japan.  It's very difficult to fight an extremely mobile and fast army, especially if they employ guerrilla tactics.  I think even Alexander the Great failed to get Afghanistan.  Guerrilla tactics involve infiltrating places and being extremely fast--and so guerrilla forces are extremely hard to isolate and to be "forced" into a battle. They can come and go on a whim.  The Aiel can infiltrate everywhere and go anywhere to surprise enemies kind of like that.  That's also one of the reasons the Aiel can only attack, though, not defend (as Rodel Ituralde points out to Rhuarc at some point)--just as the Taliban is extremely mobile and fast and so it can run circles around regular American forces, but whenever we pin them down, we win.  Imagine fighting the Taliban if they had the same tools we did--that's what we're talking about with the Aiel.

 

This is a common mistake readers make. Aiel do not employ guerilla tactics. They employ good recon tactics and use flanking maneuvers, both tactically and strategically.

 

You only use guerilla tactics when you cannot stand against your enemy head to head. Aiel attack wetlander armies head on all the time, and more often than not emerge victorious. They may be highly mobile, but they are no more a guerilla force than light cavalry is a guerilla force.

 

Aiel can absolutely defend. That part about Ituralde using Defenders instead of Aiel is pretty ridiculous based on numbers alone. The Defenders number, what, a few thousand? The Aiel numbered hundreds of thousands. Aiel defend their holds against raids all the time.

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