Friday, January 26, 2007

Does it have to be carved in stone for you to get it?

Cause I'm pretty sure the lesson we are missing here, was. What is it that our Leaders are missing? Why is it that defeat is inevitable? How could people, myself included, know that the promises of success and accomplished missions were nothing more than shortsighted vanity? It's not prophesy or magic, just the ability to read. And it helps to either be able to see bullshit when it's flying at you or to give more credence to authors who are actually experienced at what they are writing about than to beltway brigadiers who have never even been in a fist fight.

"“If one ignorant of military matters is sent to participate in the administration of the army, then in every movement there will be disagreement and mutual frustration and the entire army will be hamstrung.”
-Sun Tzu circa 400 BC

He goes on to clarify just what behavior he is talking about,

“Now there are three ways in which a ruler can bring misfortune upon his army:

(1) When ignorant that the army should not advance, to order an advance or ignorant that it should not retire, to order a retirement. This is described as ‘hobbling the army.’

(2) When ignorant of military affairs, to participate in their administration. This causes the officers to be perplexed.

(3) When ignorant of command problems to share in the exercise of responsibilities. This engenders doubts in the minds of the officers.”

And if you are still uncertain who he was talking about...

“Thus, while we have heard of blundering swiftness in war, we have not yet seen a clever operation that was prolonged…For there has never been a protracted war from which a country has benefited.

The worst policy is to attack cities. Attack cities only when there is no alternative.”

“If the general is unable to control his impatience and orders his troops to swarm up the wall like ants, one-third of them will be killed without taking the city. Such is the calamity of these attacks.”

“Thus, those skilled in war subdue the enemy’s army without battle. They capture his cities without assaulting them and overthrow his state without protracted operations.”

“Your aim must be to take All-under-Heaven intact. Thus your troops are not worn out and your gains will be complete. This is the art of offensive strategy.”

Those skilled in war cultivate the Tao and preserve the laws and are therefore able to formulate victorious policies…The Tao is the way of humanity and justice; ‘laws’ are regulations and institutions. Those who excel in war first cultivate their own humanity and justice and maintain their laws and institutions. By these means they make their governments invincible.”

---Sun Tzu "The Art of War"

This article was ripped straight from Blogolitical Sean
Check him out.

1 comment:

warvigilent said...

is awsome to consider how the art of war was so wisely concived that it has many implications in today's modern military and goverment.
i was lucky and found a copy of the text that had a bund of sweet addional matieral: greate commentary on many of the main ideas/concepts by a bunch of later stratagiests including cao cao, a recently found missing add on to the text that was written later than the main body.
one of the things i found surpriseing was his use of taoist philosphy and how he essentially created a far more moral form of warfare that was just and effective .