In The Art of War, Sun Tzu offers some very relevant advice on retreating.
Paraphrased, he states that when attacking an enemy, you should leave them a way to retreat. This has two advantages – if planned right, you can set up an ambush on the retreat path. However, if you can’t do that, it’s best to allow them some means of escape, lest the enemy, knowing they must either fight or die, rise to heroic actions and do serious damage.
Similarly, if your army is hemmed in with no mean of retreat, let your soldiers know this, so that they might rise to heroic actions and perhaps even pull off a win.
It seems to me these principles have relevance to several current battles in the “culture wars.”