Friday, March 13, 2015

Alma 55: The Rescue-Heist-Attack

Moroni receives Ammoron's response to his letter and reacts like an incensed third grader who's just been told he's a stupidpants.

Let's Make This More Complicated
Upon receipt of Ammoron's correspondence, Moroni blows a gasket because "he knew that Ammoron knew that it was not a just cause that had caused him to wage a war against the people of Nephi."  Apparently the flimsy political argument Ammoron made had enraged Moroni so much that he completely failed to notice that Ammoron was agreeing to Moroni's absurd proposal for exchanging prisoners.  Instead of going ahead with the swap, Moroni decides to take a more dangerous tack by stealing his countrymen back from the Lamanites.

Why can't Moroni just swallow his pride and go through with a peaceful exchange?  So what if Ammoron's reasons for waging war are stupid?  Surely a man as righteous as Moroni has the integrity to stick to agreements he's proposed and the wisdom to avoid risking more lives over a fit of indignant wrath.

Only One Lamanite Among Them
Moroni's plan to steal back his imprisoned Nephites involves some intrigue and he needs a Lamanite to pull it off.  So he organizes a search to find a descendant of Laman among the Nephites and his men  Apparently every single other person of Lamanite descent is kicking it with the wicked, savage warmongering tribe down south.

It turns out that the reason this guy is around is because he was a former servant of the Lamanite king and Amalickiah had used him as a patsy for his murderous coup.  Because the only logical reason for a Lamanite to be chilling with the good guys is for him to have fled his own country out of fear for his life.
It gets better because this guy's only real usefulness is that he looks like the Lamanites and can blend in with the enemy.  He's only valued because his skin color makes him look like another one of those wicked, savage warmongers.  And to top it off, he even has a stereotypical Lamanite name:  Laman.

The Math Doesn't Add Up
The Nephite prisoners are being held in the city of Gid.  So this Laman guy walks up to the guards around the city one fine evening.  He poses as an escaped prisoner who liberated some wine from Bountiful on his way out of the city.  He proceeds to give them the wine (doesn't this sound familiar?) and they guzzle it down until they all pass out.  I guess those wicked, savage warmongers don't have any sense of self-control.

My question is how much wine did Laman have?  In order to get every last Lamanite guard drunk enough, there would have to have been a lot.  Laman did have an unspecified number of men with him (how, exactly, did the Lamanites not notice they were white?), but there's no mention of whether any kind of vehicle or beast of burden was present to transport the alcohol.  I find it hard to believe that these "escaped prisoners" would have walked all the way from Bountiful each carrying a barrel of wine.  But it's just as unlikely that the plan would have worked if Laman had said, "...and on our way out of the city, we stole these three hundred gallons of wine and loaded them up onto these carts!"

Unless, of course, those wicked, savage warmongers were stupid enough to only keep a handful of guards at night.  Then Laman wouldn't need nearly as much to get them suitably soused.

Pacifism, Thy Name is Moroni
Verse 18 mentions that, in their extremely inebriated state, the Lamanite guards would have been very easy for the Nephites to kill.  The next verse continues:
But behold, this was not the desire of Moroni; he did not delight in murder or bloodshed...he would not fall upon the Lamanites and destroy them in their drunkenness.
Okay, so Moroni doesn't delight in bloodshed, he just does it a lot, even when he really doesn't need to?  Passing on one opportunity for violence doesn't undo a history of aggression, vindictiveness and overkill.

Arm the Prisoners?  Are you an Idiot?
Laman and his team have sneaked into the city of Gid with their oh-so-clever wine trick, but they don't free the captives.  Why not?  Because Moroni's plan is to give the prisoners weapons.  Then Moroni's army will march on the city.  This way, when the Lamanites wake up, they'll be surrounded on the outside and surrounded on the inside.
We'll call it the Krispy Kreme Offensive
If the Nephite army is already going to surround Gid overnight, why would they leave the prisoners inside?  Sure, they're armed, but they're just as much surrounded as the Lamanites are and they're completely cut off from the support of their rescuers. Also, if they're unable to hold their own against the hungover Lamanite forces, the city of Gid gets some free hostages.   But apparently, in Moroni's mind, attacking from behind enemy lines is a great idea in every possible situation. You're surrounding the city, you moron!  Why complicate things for no good reason?

I Wonder Why that Didn't Work
After the bizarre success at Gid, the Nephites ride a wave of military momentum.  The Lamanites, however, keep trying to turn the tide of the war back in their favor (verses 30-31):
And many times did [the Lamanites] attempt to administer of their wine to the Nephites, that they might destroy them with poison or with drunkenness.
But behold, the Nephites were not slow to remember the Lord their God in this their time of affliction.  They could not be taken in their snares; yea, they would not partake of their wine, save they had first given to some of the Lamanite prisoners.
So...the Nephites weren't stupid enough to fall for the exact same trick they'd just used to take the city of Gid?  That's astonishing.  But it's important to remember that the reason for this isn't that they're not complete idiots—it's because they remembered their God and he made sure they didn't fall for any obviously transparent ploys of the Lamanites.

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