If they are invisible, a well-concealed spy cannot spy on them, and a wise man cannot make plans against them. Sun Tzu clearly appreciated the value of wars speedily under-taken and quickly concluded. Prolonged wars are, needless to say, costly and drain soldiers of their staying power. No state has ever gained from protracted war. Given the nature of war, speed is essential. And it is heartening to see approaches evolve in Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan in which our forces modest in size compared to the numbers deployed during the Surge years are training, equipping, advising, assisting, and enabling host nation forces, but in which the host nation forces are doing the fighting on the front lines.
That makes lengthy endeavours much more sustainable than when we have very large deployments and are also on the front lines. It was to facilitate such understanding at all levels, in fact, that I published, and distributed to the entire chain of command, counterinsurgency guidance for both Iraq and Afghanistan when I led the coalitions there, a practice that has typically been continued.
Sun Tzu had unusual insight into the potential of combining action by regular and irregular troops and also the conduct of regular and irregular warfare - what he described as unorthodox or strange tactics. So if you are good at irregular warfare you will be as inexhaustible as the sky and the earth. All those who have been engaged in the wars of the past sixteen years have had to confront irregular warfare - and, to varying degrees, to conduct it as well.
In particular, our forces have blended and integrated various types of special operations forces with general purpose forces in ways seldom seen before. It is thus very timely to have this new edition published now, in the midst of what likely will be a generational struggle against extremism. They are as hard to know as shadows. They move like rolling thunder.
Sun Tzu's Art of War translation (not Giles) - Sonshi ☯ Sun Tzu's Art of War Educational Resource
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The Art of War by active 6th century B.C. Sunzi
The enemy should be forced to react or be provoked into reaction, always following the initiative of the eventual victor. One should occupy the battlefield first, becoming familiar with it and the dispositions of the enemy. If it is formless, then even the deepest spy cannot discern it or the wise make plans against it" ibid , On the difficulties of moving an army in the field and ensuring troops are kept together and not separated from each other or their supplies:.
Thus the army is established by deceit, moves for advantage, and changes through segmenting and reuniting. Thus its speed is like the wind, its slowness like the forest; its invasion and plundering like a fire; unmoving, it is like the mountains.
It is as difficult to know as the darkness; in movement it is like thunder. The army can be made more cohesive by ensuring all are motivated to fight and will receive their rewards. It can also be better managed as a unit on the battlefield by the use of fires, flags, and drums.
The commander must always weigh the advantages of gain and the dangers of losses with every action he takes. A commander should occupy high ground when he can and he should not remain near rivers, gorges, forests or marshlands. Such places are prime locations for ambush. There then follows a list of points on how to spot what the enemy is up to, from troop movements to their level of hunger.
Sun-Tzu identifies the most common forms of terrain: accessible allowing freedom of troop movement , suspended where retreat is difficult , stalemated where movement by both sides brings no particular advantage , constricted troops must occupy all of the terrain in order to defend it , precipitous the high ground must be occupied for success , and expansive where engagement is not desirable for either side. Weaknesses of armies are identified such as militarily poor officers, generals who do not apply discipline, and insubordinate junior officers.
When the general regards his troops as young children, they will advance into the deepest valleys with him. When he regards the troops as his beloved children, they will be willing to die with him. Sun-Tzu identifies the different targets for incendiary attacks: men, provisions, supply trains, armouries, and formations. Again, preparation, timing, and weather conditions must all be considered to maximise the effectiveness of the attack.
The negative effects of warfare on the local population are considered.
The importance of knowing the enemy is repeated, and this can be acquired through the use of spies. There are several types of spies that can be usefully employed: locals, expendable, those with a high position in the enemy government, double agents, and those who return after performing their duty. Spies must be rewarded generously, one should be wary and prepared to be spied upon oneself, and a good commander can use spies to misinform the enemy. In general, as for the armies you want to strike, the cities you want to attack, and the men you want to assassinate, you must first know the names of the defensive commander, his assistants, staff, door guards, and attendants.
You must have our spies search out and learn them all. Medieval Japanese commanders consulted it, Napoleon was said to have employed many principles expounded in the book, and the Chinese leader Mao Zedong was a great fan of the work and cited it as a contributing factor in his victory over Chiang Kai-shek in the civil war of the midth century CE.
As the most famous military treatise in Asian history, the work continues to be as popular as ever and is often included as essential reading on curriculums worldwide for courses in history and political science. Editorial Review This Article has been reviewed for accuracy, reliability and adherence to academic standards prior to publication.
Cartwright, M. The Art of War. Ancient History Encyclopedia. Cartwright, Mark.
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- The Art of War () - IMDb.
- The Art of War (Sun).
- The Art of War by Sun Tzu - Free at Loyal Books?
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Remove Ads Advertisement. Bibliography Cosmo, N.
Military Culture in Imperial China. Harvard University Press, Dillon, M. Routledge, Feng, L. Early China. Cambridge University Press,