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Attributes & the theatre of war

Posted by Sunjuvo on November 20, 2003

Hi, forumites.

***The quotation;
Conan doyle ignored his mother. He did not always agree with her and they could at times quarrel heatedly when they met but, ultimately, she usually won. On this occasion, she did not. It was probably the only time in his life he disobeyed his mother's wish over a matter of true gravity. In his reply, he stated, 'I learned patriotism from my mother, so you must not blame me.' It was, he told her, his duty to volunteer. He had said as much in a letter to the Times, advocating the drafting of all men who could ride and shoot, attributes he believed (quite rightly) would be much needed in the African theatre of war. ***

My question is about 'attributes' in the last sentence. What did Conan Doyle mean by 'attributes'? Men as just tools for the war? Or any war needs men either as the subject or the object?
Would you please help me?