Tuesday, September 19, 2006

More on Rumsfeld, The Art of War...

A number of commentators have done analyses on the conflicts between Sun Tzu's The Art of War and the military strategies of today's neo-cons (who, supposedly, are big followers of Sun Tzu and Carl von Clausewitz). However, since I am a fan of the book, I have wanted for a while to put my spin on it too. The Art of War has to be among the most frequently misinterpreted books in history. The translation that I have is by Thomas Cleary, who says that "Sun Tzu's professed aim was not to encourage warfare but to minimize and curtail it," and that there is "a profound undercurrent of humanism" that runs through Sun Tzu's Taoist text. Here are some of the quotations that have been "Rumsfeldized" for this week's 'toon:
  • Therefore one who is good at martial arts overcomes others' forces without battle, conquers others' cities without siege, destroys others' nations without taking a long time. (emphasis mine)

  • So there are three ways in which a civil leadership causes the military trouble. When a civil leadership unaware of the facts tells its armies to advance when it should not... When the civil leadership is ignorant of military affairs but shares equally in the government of the armies... When the civil leadership is ignorant of military maneuvers but shares equally in the command of the armies.

  • The superior militarist strikes while schemes are being laid. The next best is to attack alliances. The next best is to attack the army. The lowest is to attack a city. Siege of a city is only done as a last resort.

  • When hypocrisy sprouts, even if you have the wisdom of ancient warrior kings you could not defeat a peasant, let alone a crowd of them. (quote by Sun Tzu follower Zhuge Liang)

  • To overcome others' armies without fighting is the best of skills.

See also a pair of older pages of Rumsfeld poetry from Slate, one from Wikipedia, and Think Progress on Rumsfeld's recent lies before the Senate Armed Services Committee.

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