Monday, March 26, 2007

A Reminder from Sun Tzu

I was re-reading the Art of War. Perhaps a refresher course is needed here in Washington?

Book Two

2.When you engage in actual fighting, if victory
is long in coming, then men's weapons will grow dull and
their ardor will be damped. If you lay siege to a town,
you will exhaust your strength.

3. Again, if the campaign is protracted, the resources
of the State will not be equal to the strain.

4. Now, when your weapons are dulled, your ardor damped,
your strength exhausted and your treasure spent,
other chieftains will spring up to take advantage
of your extremity. Then no man, however wise,
will be able to avert the consequences that must ensue.

5. Thus, though we have heard of stupid haste in war,
cleverness has never been seen associated with long delays.

6. There is no instance of a country having benefited
from prolonged warfare.

19. In war, then, let your great object be victory,
not lengthy campaigns.

Book Three

12. There are three ways in which a ruler can bring
misfortune upon his army:--

13. (1) By commanding the army to advance or to retreat,
being ignorant of the fact that it cannot obey.
This is called hobbling the army.

14. (2) By attempting to govern an army in the
same way as he administers a kingdom, being ignorant
of the conditions which obtain in an army. This causes
restlessness in the soldier's minds.

15. (3) By employing the officers of his army
without discrimination, through ignorance of the
military principle of adaptation to circumstances.
This shakes the confidence of the soldiers.

Nick, you could also add this one, which I guess the Bush team decided to ignore when it came to Iraq:

Sun Tzu said: In the practical art of war, the best thing of all is to take the enemy's country whole and intact; to shatter and destroy it is not so good. So, too, it is better to recapture an army entire than to destroy it ...
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