Hmm. Are you playing the new edition? That version has tweaked the military game quite a bit, and my own experience (not very many games, admittedly) is that it’s much better now than before - wars don’t drain the defender as badly (no sacrificing) and tactics being possible to copy help the defending players(s). Also, there’s always the peaceful game variant (which I’ve played a couple of times with conflict-averse gamers).
The “surrender rule” is rubbish, though - completely agree.