Michael Walzer: "According to other writers, it is the women who last longest in sieges, the young men who soonest fall into that deadly lethargy that precedes actual death. But the account is accurate enough: that is what a siege is like. Moreover, that is what it is meant to be like. When a city is encircled and deprived of food, it is not the expectation of the attackers that the garrison will hold out until individual soldiers... drop dead in the streets. The death of ordinary inhabitants of the city is expected to force the hand of the civilian or military leadership. The goal is surrender; the means is not the defeat of the enemy army, but the fearful spectacle of the civilian dead."
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