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"He does not understand [his army's] military affairs but [directs them] in the same way as his [civil] administration."

 

 

Sun-tzu and Bush's Iraqi War ALL THE WRONG MOVES
Posted June 29, 2004 thepeoplesvoice.org

By: Ted Lang


"Warfare is the greatest affair of state, the basis of life and death, the Way (Tao) to survival and extinction. It must be thoroughly pondered and analyzed." This is a quote purportedly from the great Chinese military strategist, Sun-tzu, and the first of his basic pronouncements relative to his list of tactical and strategical philosophies relating to combat and war. It is from Sun-tsu - The Art of War, published by Barnes & Noble Books in New York, translated and commented upon by Ralph D. Sawyer, who established the copyright in 1994.

I offer the term "purportedly" because there is no real hard evidence that Sun-tzu even existed. There is no question that the pronouncements exist - they have been found in archaeological explorations and finds. But the character of Sun-tzu himself has been difficult to verify. Someone made the pronouncements, but there are two schools of intellectual and archaeological thought on this: one accepts the existence of the warrior, and another offers his existence as a myth and offering that someone else wrote the treatises with which he is credited.

Interestingly, along with my apologies, I cannot help but project my thoughts to the works of yet another author, one A. A. Milne, the author of the "Winnie-the-Pooh" series of children's books. As Pooh fans know, Milne tried to capture the make-believe world of what eventually was learned to be his son's, under the name, "Christopher Robin," and the "adventures" of his stuffed toy bear, Winnie-the-Pooh. I realize I am seriously digressing here, but I just can't get over Sun-tsu's admonition involving the term "thoroughly pondered."

It brings back an image of Pooh, created by the book's illustrator, Ernest Shepard, wherein Pooh is sketched contemplatively in a position similar to that of Rodin's famous sculpture, "The Thinker." I can see a befuddled Pooh, stuffed head leaning on his stuffed paw, "a bear of very small brain" as Milne used to write, except now, with the face of G. Bush, a president of . Nah, let's not go there!

Does anyone really believe that the neoconservative Project for the New American Century, or PNAC, most of whose members transitioned as Bush advisors, really designed a well thought-out military "strategy" for easy-to-pick-on-Iraq, or did they merely offer the invasion of Iraq as an "opportunity" justified by America's fear and rage over 9-11? Did the neoconservative, neo-Nazi PNACers attack Iraq because Iraq "had better targets," as offered by Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld? Did anyone carefully dope out the expected "cakewalk" as offered by Bush advisors Ken Adelman and Richard Perle? Let's see how the predictions of these defense geniuses and presidential advisors stack up to the advice of a real or fictional Sun-tsu, from a warrior's treatise compiled circa 500 B.C.:

"There are three ways by which the army is put into difficulty by the ruler:

He does not know that [his army] should not advance but instructs them to advance, or does not know [his army] should not withdraw and orders a retreat. This is termed 'entangling the army.'

He does not understand [his army's] military affairs but [directs them] in the same way as his [civil] administration. Then the officers will become confused.

He does not understand [his army's] tactical balance of power (ch'?an) but undertakes responsibility for command. Then the officers will be doubtful.

When the [army is] already confused and doubtful, the danger of the [enemy taking advantage of the situation] arises. This is referred to as 'a disordered army drawing another on to victory.'"

Another way of describing the preceding is to offer: snatching defeat out of the jaws of victory. President Bush and his advisors amply qualify for the term "ruler." And the Bush administration's failure to heed the advice of their senior battle-tested advisors and generals, General Anthony Zinni, General Eric K. Shinseki, and Secretary of State and former General, Colin Powell, just to name a few, provides testimony and support to the example offered by Sun-tzu whereby a ruler overrides the military advice of his military specialists.

Commenting on his translations of Sun-tzu's treatises, Ralph Sawyer offers: "The commander's qualifications and responsibilities also changed during the period, with strategy becoming so complex that the replacement of a general could, and frequently did, result in an army's defeat and the endangerment of the entire nation. Although rulers continued to meddle in army matters - with catastrophic results - often at the instigation of jealous ministers or corrupt officials acting on behalf of foreign powers [think Israel], in general, professional officers who specialized solely in military affairs appeared. [Comment inserted.]

With regard to our protracted war in Iraq, Sun-tzu offers this: "When employing [the army] in battle, a victory that is long in coming will blunt their weapons and dampen their ardor. If you attack cities, [the army's] strength will be exhausted. If you expose the army to a prolonged campaign, the state's resources will be inadequate. [Think of the growing deficit and war spending, and then of the rebuilding effort.]

When the weapons have grown dull and spirits depressed, when our strength has been expended and resources consumed, then the [enemy] will take advantage of our exhaustion to arise. Even though you have wise generals, they will not be able to achieve a good result.

Thus in military campaigns I have heard of awkward speed but have never seen any skill in lengthy campaigns. No country has ever profited from protracted warfare. Those who do not comprehend the dangers inherent in employing the army are incapable of truly knowing the potential advantage of military actions."

Now for more startling wisdom and how the Bush administration and the Pentagon has fouled up our military: "One who excels in employing the military does not conscript the people twice or transport provisions a third time." And, "The state is impoverished by the army when it transports provisions far off. When provisions are transported far off, the hundred surnames [taxpayers] are impoverished."

And then there is this truly enlightening and apropos statement: "Thus what [motivates men] to slay the enemy is anger; what [stimulates them] to seize profits from the enemy is material goods. Thus in chariot encounters, when ten or more chariots are captured, reward the first to get one. Change their flags and pennants to ours; intermix and employ them with our own chariots." I am highlighting this in bold especially to draw attention to the current Bush methods as regards POWs. "Treat the captured soldiers well in order to nurture them [for our use]. This is referred to as 'conquering the enemy and growing stronger.'"

As regards the Coalition Provisional Authority and our colonial Viceroy, L. Paul Bremmer, Sun-tzu offers this: "In general, the method for employing the military is this: Preserving the [enemy's] state capital is best, destroying their state capital second-best. Preserving their army is best, destroying their army second-best."

Then there is this, which speaks to the Bush administration's violation of the Constitution and abolishing our two-hundred plus years of a military self-defense posture: "Unlike the incident retold earlier in which the king of Ch'u committed troops over a [requested gift of a] few mulberry trees, or politics advanced by the Legalists in which military measures are simply another instrument for increasing the wealth and prosperity of the state, Sun-tzu stressed that warfare should not be undertaken unless the state is threatened. Haste, fear of being labeled a coward, and personal emotions such as anger and hatred should never be permitted to adversely influence state and command decision-making. The army must not be rashly thrown into an engagement, thrust into a war, or unnecessarily mobilized."

Considering that these reflections date back to about 500 years before the birth of Christ, it would seem that documented wisdom knows no age and never becomes obsolete. The same thing can therefore be said of our Constitution - it is not obsolete, but only so to plotters, schemers and the assorted array of political parasites that prey upon a nation's fears, anger and weaknesses in order to enrich themselves or to advance the agenda of others. A defeated military made so by the treason of its own politicians in serving another state was offered by Sun-tzu 2,500 years ago, and now we' re killing people in Iraq, a nation that never threatened US nor posed a threat, in order to serve the Zionist lobby in Washington and Israel's Likud Party and prime minister.

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THEODORE E. LANG 6/29/04 All rights reserved. Ted Lang is a political analyst and a freelance writer.

 

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