On this Memorial Day
On Doing Battle
"When you do battle, even if you are winning, if you continue for a long time, it will dull your forces and blunt your edge; if you besiege a citadel, your strength will be exhausted. If you keep your armies out in the filed for a long time, your supplies will be insufficient.
When your forces are dulled, your edge is blunted, your stregnth is exhausted and your supplies are gone, then others will take advantage of your debility and rise up. Then even if you have wise advisors you cannot make things turn out well in the end.
Therefore I have heard of military operations that were clumsy but swift, but I never seen one that was skillful and lasted a long time. It is never beneficial to a nation to have a military operation continue for a long time."
"Those who are near the army sell at high prices. Because of the high prices, the wealth of the common people is exhausted"
On Maneuvering Armies
"In military matters it is not necessarily beneficial to have more strength, only to avoid acting agressively; it is enough to consolidate your power, assess opponents and get people- that is all.
"The individualist without strategy who takes opponents lightly will inevitably become the captive of others"
"When generals are weak and lack authority, instructions not clear, officers and soliders lack consistancy and they form battle lines every which way, this is a riot."
"If the laws of war do not indicate victory, it is appropriate not to do battle, even if the government orders war. Thus one advances without seeking glory, retreats without avoiding blame, only protecting people, to the benefit of the government as well, thus rendering valuable service to the nation."
On Fire Attack
"A government should not mobilize an army out of anger, military leaders should not provoke war out of wrath. Act when it is beneficial, desist when it is not. Anger can revert to joy, wrath can revert to delight, but a nation cannot be restored to existence, and the dead cannot be restored to life. Therefore an enlightened government is careful about this, a good military leadership is alert to this. This is the way to secure a nation and keep the armed forces whole."
---Excerpts from a translated version of Sun-Tzu's The Art of War written in the 6th Century, BCE.
Something our current administration would have benefited from reading at some point...possibly sometime before 2003. Thanks, amanda.
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