WAR: It is a matter of life and death, a road either to safety or to ruin. Hence it is a subject of inquiry which can on no account be neglected
WAR: The art of war, then, is governed by five constant factors, to be taken into account in one's deliberations, when seeking to determine the conditions obtaining in the field. These are: The Moral Law; Heaven; Earth; The Commander; Method and discipline.
WAR: The MORAL LAW causes the people to be in complete accord with their ruler, so that they will follow him regardless of their lives, undismayed by any danger.
WAR: HEAVEN signifies night and day, cold and heat, times and seasons. EARTH comprises distances, great and small; danger and security; open ground and narrow passes; the chances of life and death. The COMMANDER stands for the virtues of wisdom, sincerity, benevolence, courage and strictness.
WAR: These five heads should be familiar to every general: he who knows them will be victorious; he who knows them not will fail.
WAR: Therefore, in your deliberations, when seeking to determine the military conditions, let them be made the basis of a comparison, in this wise: -- Which of the two sovereigns is imbued with the Moral law?
WAR: Which of the two generals has most ability?
WAR: With whom lie the advantages derived from Heaven and Earth? On which side is discipline most rigorously enforced? Which army is stronger? On which side are officers and men more highly trained? In which army is there the greater constancy both in reward and punishment? By means of these seven considerations I can forecast victory or defeat.
WAR: The general that hearkens to my counsel and acts upon it, will conquer: --let such a one be retained in command! The general that hearkens not to my counsel nor acts upon it, will suffer defeat: --let such a one be dismissed! While heading the profit of my counsel, avail yourself also of any helpful circumstances over and beyond the ordinary rules. According as circumstances are favorable, one should modify one's plans.
WAR: All warfare is based on deception.
WAR: Hence, when able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must seem inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near. Hold out baits to entice the enemy. Feign disorder, and crush him. If he is secure at all points, be prepared for him. If he is in superior strength, evade him. If your opponent is of choleric temper, seek to irritate him. Pretend to be weak, that he may grow arrogant. If is taking his ease, give him no rest. If his forces are united, separate them. Attack him where he is unprepared, appear where you are not expected. These military devices, leading to victory, must not be divulged beforehand. Now the general who wins a battle makes many calculations in his temple ere the battle is fought. The general who loses a battle makes but few calculations beforehand. Thus do many calculations lead to victory, and few calculations to defeat: how much more no calculation at all! It is by attention to this point that I can foresee who is likely to win or lose.
WAR: In the operations of war…When you engage in actual fighting, if victory is long in coming, then men's weapons will grow dull and their ardor will be damped. If you lay siege to a town, you will exhaust your strength. Again, if the campaign is protracted, the resources of the State will not be equal to the strain. Now, when your weapons are dulled, your ardor damped, your strength exhausted and your treasure spent, other chieftains will spring up to take advantage of your extremity. Then no man, however wise, will be able to avert the consequences that must ensue. Thus, though we have heard of stupid haste in war, cleverness has never been seen associated with long delays.
WAR: There is no instance of a country having benefited from prolonged warfare. It is only one who is thoroughly acquainted with the evils of war that can thoroughly understand the profitable way of carrying it on. The skillful soldier does not raise a second levy, neither are his supply-wagons loaded more than twice. Bring war material with you from home, but forage on the enemy. Thus the army will have food enough for its needs. Poverty of the State exchequer causes an army to be maintained by contributions from a distance. Contributing to maintain an army at a distance causes the people to be impoverished. On the other hand, the proximity of an army causes prices to go up; and high prices cause the people's substance to be drained away. When their substance is drained away, the peasantry will be afflicted by heavy exactions. With this loss of substance and exhaustion of strength, the homes of the people will be stripped bare, and three-tenths of their income will be dissipated; while government expenses for broken chariots, worn-out horses, breast-plates and helmets, bows and arrows, spears and shields, protective mantles, draught-oxen and heavy wagons, will amount to four-tenths of its total revenue. Hence a wise general makes a point of foraging on the enemy. One cartload of the enemy's provisions is equivalent to twenty of one's own, and likewise a single PICUL of his provender is equivalent to twenty from one's own store. Now in order to kill the enemy, our men must be roused to anger; that there may be advantage from defeating the enemy, they must have their rewards. Therefore in chariot fighting, when ten or more chariots have been taken, those should be rewarded who took the first. Our own flags should be substituted for those of the enemy, and the chariots mingled and used in conjunction with ours. The captured soldiers should be kindly treated and kept. This is called, using the conquered foe to augment one's own strength. In war, then, let your great object be victory, not lengthy campaigns. Thus it may be known that the leader of armies is the arbiter of the people's fate, the man on whom it depends whether the nation shall be in peace or in peril.
WAR: In the practical art of war, the best thing of all is to take the enemy's country whole and intact; to shatter and destroy it is not so good. So, too, it is better to recapture an army entire than to destroy it, to capture a regiment, a detachment or a company entire than to destroy them. Hence to fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting. Thus the highest form of generalship is to balk the enemy's plans; the next best is to prevent the junction of the enemy's forces; the next in order is to attack the enemy's army in the field; and the worst policy of all is to besiege walled cities. The rule is, not to besiege walled cities if it can possibly be avoided.
WAR: The preparation of mantlets, movable shelters, and various implements of war, will take up three whole months; and the piling up of mounds over against the walls will take three months more. The general, unable to control his irritation, will launch his men to the assault like swarming ants, with the result that one-third of his men are slain, while the town still remains untaken. Such are the disastrous effects of a siege.
WAR: Therefore the skillful leader subdues the enemy's troops without any fighting; he captures their cities without laying siege to them; he overthrows their kingdom without lengthy operations in the field. With his forces intact he will dispute the mastery of the Empire, and thus, without losing a man, his triumph will be complete. This is the method of attacking by stratagem.
WAR: It is the rule in war: If our forces are ten to the enemy's one, to surround him; If five to one, to attack him If twice as numerous, to divide our army into two. If equally matched, we can offer battle; If slightly inferior in numbers, we can avoid the enemy; If quite unequal in every way, we can flee from him.
WAR: Hence, though an obstinate fight may be made by a small force, in the end it must be captured by the larger force. Now the general is the bulwark of the State; if the bulwark is complete at all points; the State will be strong; if the bulwark is defective, the State will be weak.
WAR: There are three ways in which a ruler can bring misfortune upon his army:-- By commanding the army to advance or to retreat, being ignorant of the fact that it cannot obey. This is called hobbling the army. By attempting to govern an army in the same way as he administers a kingdom, being ignorant of the conditions which obtain in an army. This causes restlessness in the soldier's minds. By employing the officers of his army without discrimination, but when the army is restless and distrustful, trouble is sure to come from the other feudal princes. This is simply bringing anarchy into the army, and flinging victory away.
WAR: Thus we may know that there are five essentials for victory: He will win who knows when to fight and when not to fight. He will win who knows how to handle both superior and inferior forces. He will win whose army is animated by the same spirit throughout all its ranks. He will win who, prepared himself, waits to take the enemy unprepared. He will win who has military capacity and is not interfered with by the sovereign. Hence the saying: If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.
WAR: The good fighters of old first put themselves beyond the possibility of defeat, and then waited for an opportunity of defeating the enemy. To secure ourselves against defeat lies in our own hands, but the opportunity of defeating the enemy is provided by the enemy himself. Thus the good fighter is able to secure himself against defeat, but cannot make certain of defeating the enemy. Standing on the defensive indicates insufficient strength; attacking, a superabundance of strength. The general who is skilled in defense hides in the most secret recesses of the earth; Thus on the one hand we have ability to protect ourselves; on the other, a victory that is complete. To see victory only when it is within the ken of the common herd is not the acme of excellence. Neither is it the acme of excellence if you fight and conquer and the whole Empire says, "Well done!"
WAR: To lift an autumn hair is no sign of great strength; to see the sun and moon is no sign of sharp sight; to hear the noise of thunder is no sign of a quick ear. What the ancients called a clever fighter is one who not only wins, but excels in winning with ease. Hence his victories bring him neither reputation for wisdom nor credit for courage. He wins his battles by making no mistakes. Making no mistakes is what establishes the certainty of victory, for it means conquering an enemy that is already defeated. Hence the skillful fighter puts himself into a position which makes defeat impossible, and does not miss the moment for defeating the enemy. Thus it is that in war the victorious strategist only seeks battle after the victory has been won, whereas he who is destined to defeat first fights and afterwards looks for victory.
WAR: The consummate leader cultivates the moral law, and strictly adheres to method and discipline; thus it is in his power to control success. In respect of military method, we have, firstly, Measurement; secondly, Estimation of quantity; thirdly, Calculation; fourthly, Balancing of chances; fifthly, Victory. Measurement owes its existence to Earth; Estimation of quantity to Measurement; Calculation to Estimation of quantity; Balancing of chances to Calculation; and Victory to Balancing of chances. A victorious army opposed to a routed one, is as a pound's weight placed in the scale against a single grain. The onrush of a conquering force is like the bursting of pent-up waters into a chasm a thousand fathoms deep.
WAR: The control of a large force is the same principle as the control of a few men: it is merely a question of dividing up their numbers. Fighting with a large army under your command is nowise different from fighting with a small one: it is merely a question of instituting signs and signals. To ensure that your whole host may withstand the brunt of the enemy's attack and remain unshaken - this is effected by maneuvers direct and indirect.. The whole secret lies in confusing the enemy, so that he cannot fathom our real intent. That the impact of your army may be like a grindstone dashed against an egg - this is effected by the science of weak points and strong. In all fighting, the direct method may be used for joining battle, but indirect methods will be needed in order to secure victory. Indirect tactics, efficiently applied, are inexhaustible as Heaven and Earth, unending as the flow of rivers and streams; like the sun and moon, they end but to begin anew; like the four seasons, they pass away to return once more. In battle, there are not more than two methods of attack - the direct and the indirect; yet these two in combination give rise to an endless series of maneuvers. The direct and the indirect lead on to each other in turn. It is like moving in a circle - you never come to an end. Who can exhaust the possibilities of their combination? The onset of troops is like the rush of a torrent which will even roll stones along in its course. The quality of decision is like the well-timed swoop of a falcon which enables it to strike and destroy its victim. Therefore the good fighter will be terrible in his onset, and prompt in his decision. Energy may be likened to the bending of a crossbow; decision, to the releasing of a trigger. Amid the turmoil and tumult of battle, there may be seeming disorder and yet no real disorder at all; amid confusion and chaos, your array may be without head or tail, yet it will be proof against defeat. Simulated disorder postulates perfect discipline, simulated fear postulates courage; simulated weakness postulates strength. Hiding order beneath the cloak of disorder is simply a question of subdivision; concealing courage under a show of timidity presupposes a fund of latent energy; masking strength with weakness is to be effected by tactical dispositions. Thus one who is skillful at keeping the enemy on the move maintains deceitful appearances, according to which the enemy will act. He sacrifices something, that the enemy may snatch at it. By holding out baits, he keeps him on the march; then with a body of picked men he lies in wait for him. The clever combatant looks to the effect of combined energy, and does not require too much from individuals. Hence his ability to pick out the right men and utilize combined energy. When he utilizes combined energy, his fighting men become as it were like unto rolling logs or stones. For it is the nature of a log or stone to remain motionless on level ground, and to move when on a slope; if four-cornered, to come to a standstill, but if round-shaped, to go rolling down. Thus the energy developed by good fighting men is as the momentum of a round stone rolled down a mountain thousands of feet in height. So much on the subject of energy.
WAR: Whoever is first in the field and awaits the coming of the enemy, will be fresh for the fight; whoever is second in the field and has to hasten to battle will arrive exhausted. Therefore the clever combatant imposes his will on the enemy, but does not allow the enemy's will to be imposed on him. By holding out advantages to him, he can cause the enemy to approach of his own accord; or, by inflicting damage, he can make it impossible for the enemy to draw near. If the enemy is taking his ease, he can harass him; if well supplied with food, he can starve him out; if quietly encamped, he can force him to move. Appear at points which the enemy must hasten to defend; march swiftly to places where you are not expected. An army may march great distances without distress, if it marches through country where the enemy is not. You can be sure of succeeding in your attacks if you only attack places which are undefended. You can ensure the safety of your defense if you only hold positions that cannot be attacked. Hence that general is skillful in attack whose opponent does not know what to defend; and he is skillful in defense whose opponent does not know what to attack. O divine art of subtlety and secrecy! Through you we learn to be invisible, through you inaudible; You may advance and be absolutely irresistible, if you make for the enemy's weak points; you may retire and be safe from pursuit if your movements are more rapid than those of the enemy. If we wish to fight, the enemy can be forced to an engagement even though he be sheltered behind a high rampart and a deep ditch. All we need do is attack some other place that he will be obliged to relieve. If we do not wish to fight, we can prevent the enemy from engaging us even though the lines of our encampment be merely traced out on the ground. All we need do is to throw something odd and unaccountable in his way. By discovering the enemy's dispositions and remaining invisible ourselves, we can keep our forces concentrated, while the enemy's must be divided. We can form a single united body, while the enemy must split up into fractions. Hence there will be a whole pitted against separate parts of a whole, which means that we shall be many to the enemy's few. And if we are able thus to attack an inferior force with a superior one, our opponents will be in dire straits. The spot where we intend to fight must not be made known; for then the enemy will have to prepare against a possible attack at several different points; and his forces being thus distributed in many directions, the numbers we shall have to face at any given point will be proportionately few. For should the enemy strengthen his van, he will weaken his rear; should he strengthen his rear, he will weaken his van; should he strengthen his left, he will weaken his right; should he strengthen his right, he will weaken his left. If he sends reinforcements everywhere, he will everywhere be weak. Knowing the place and the time of the coming battle, we may concentrate from the greatest distances in order to fight. But if neither time nor place be known, then the left wing will be impotent to succor the right, the right equally impotent to succor the left, the van unable to relieve the rear, or the rear to support the van. How much more so if the furthest port ions of the army are anything under a hundred LI apart, and even the nearest are separated by several LI! Though according to my estimate the soldiers of Yueh exceed our own in number, that shall advantage them nothing in the matter of victory. I say then that victory can be achieved. Though the enemy be stronger in numbers, we may prevent him from fighting. Scheme so as to discover his plans and the likelihood of their success. Rouse him, and learn the principle of his activity or inactivity. Force him to reveal himself, so as to find out his vulnerable spots. Carefully compare the opposing army with your own, so that you may know where strength is superabundant and where it is deficient. In making tactical dispositions, the highest pitch you can attain is to conceal them;conceal your dispositions, and you will be safe from the prying of the subtlest spies, from the machinations of the wisest brains. How victory may be produced for them out of the enemy's own tactics--that is what the multitude cannot comprehend. All men can see the tactics whereby I conquer, but what none can see is the strategy out of which victory is evolved. Do not repeat the tactics which have gained you one victory, but let your methods be regulated by the infinite variety of circumstances. Military tactics are like unto water; for water in its natural course runs away from high places and hastens downwards. So in war, the way is to avoid what is strong and to strike at what is weak. Water shapes its course according to the nature of the ground over which it flows; the soldier works out his victory in relation to the foe whom he is facing. Therefore, just as water retains no constant shape, so in warfare there are no constant conditions. He who can modify his tactics in relation to his opponent and thereby succeed in winning, may be called a heaven-born captain. The five elements (water, fire, wood, metal, earth) are not always equally predominant; the four seasons make way for each other in turn. There are short days and long; the moon has its periods of waning and waxing.
WAR: In war, the general receives his commands from the sovereign. Having collected an army and concentrated his forces, he must blend and harmonize the different elements thereof before pitching his camp.
WAR: After that, comes tactical maneuvering, than which there is nothing more difficult. The difficulty of tactical maneuvering consists in turning the devious into the direct, and misfortune into gain. Thus, to take a long and circuitous route, after enticing the enemy out of the way, and though starting after him, to contrive to reach the goal before him, shows knowledge of the artifice of DEVIATION. Maneuvering with an army is advantageous; with an undisciplined multitude, most dangerous. If you set a fully equipped army in march in order to snatch an advantage, the chances are that you will be too late. On the other hand, to detach a flying column for the purpose involves the sacrifice of its baggage and stores. Thus, if you order your men to roll up their buff-coats, and make forced marches without halting day or night, covering double the usual distance at a stretch, doing a hundred LI in order to wrest an advantage, the leaders of all your three divisions will fall into the hands of the enemy. The stronger men will be in front, the jaded ones will fall behind, and on this plan only one-tenth of your army will reach its destination. If you march fifty LI in order to outmaneuver the enemy, you will lose the leader of your first division, and only half your force will reach the goal. If you march thirty LI with the same object, two-thirds of your army will arrive. We may take it then that an army without its baggage-train is lost; without provisions it is lost; without bases of supply it is lost. We cannot enter into alliances until we are acquainted with the designs of our neighbors. We are not fit to lead an army on the march unless we are familiar with the face of the country--its mountains and forests, its pitfalls and precipices, its marshes and swamps. We shall be unable to turn natural advantage to account unless we make use of local guides. In war, practice dissimulation, and you will succeed. Whether to concentrate or to divide your troops, must be decided by circumstances. Let your rapidity be that of the wind, your compactness that of the forest. In raiding and plundering be like fire, immovability like a mountain. Let your plans be dark and impenetrable as night, and when you move, fall like a thunderbolt. When you plunder a countryside, let the spoil be divided amongst your men; when you capture new territory, cut it up into allotments for the benefit of the soldiery. Ponder and deliberate before you make a move. He will conquer who has learnt the artifice of deviation. Such is the art of maneuvering.
WAR: The Book of Army Management says: On the field of battle, the spoken word does not carry far enough: hence the institution of gongs and drums. Nor can ordinary objects be seen clearly enough: hence the institution of banners and flags. Gongs and drums, banners and flags, are means whereby the ears and eyes of the host may be focused on one particular point. The host thus forming a single united body, is it impossible either for the brave to advance alone, or for the cowardly to retreat alone. This is the art of handling large masses of men. In night-fighting, then, make much use of signal-fires and drums, and in fighting by day, of flags and banners, as a means of influencing the ears and eyes of your army. A whole army may be robbed of its spirit; a commander-in-chief may be robbed of his presence of mind. Now a solider's spirit is keenest in the morning; by noonday it has begun to flag; and in the evening, his mind is bent only on returning to camp. A clever general, therefore, avoids an army when its spirit is keen, but attacks it when it is sluggish and inclined to return. This is the art of studying moods. Disciplined and calm, to await the appearance of disorder and hubbub amongst the enemy:--this is the art of retaining self-possession. To be near the goal while the enemy is still far from it, to wait at ease while the enemy is toiling and struggling, to be well-fed while the enemy is famished:--this is the art of husbanding one's strength. To refrain from intercepting an enemy whose banners are in perfect order, to refrain from attacking an army drawn up in calm and confident array:--this is the art of studying circumstances. It is a military axiom not to advance uphill against the enemy, nor to oppose him when he comes downhill. Do not pursue an enemy who simulates flight; do not attack soldiers whose temper is keen. Do not swallow bait offered by the enemy. Do not interfere with an army that is returning home. When you surround an army, leave an outlet free. Do not press a desperate foe too hard. Such is the art of warfare.
WAR: We come now to the question of encamping the army, and observing signs of the enemy. Pass quickly over mountains, and keep in the neighborhood of valleys. Camp in high places, facing the sun. Do not climb heights in order to fight. After crossing a river, you should get far away from it. When an invading force crosses a river in its onward march, do not advance to meet it in mid-stream. It will be best to let half the army get across, and then deliver your attack. If you are anxious to fight, you should not go to meet the invader near a river which he has to cross. Moor your craft higher up than the enemy, and facing the sun. Do not move up-stream to meet the enemy. In crossing salt-marshes, your sole concern should be to get over them quickly, without any delay. If forced to fight in a salt-marsh, you should have water and grass near you, and get your back to a clump of trees. In dry, level country, take up an easily accessible position with rising ground to your right and on your rear, so that the danger may be in front, and safety lie behind. So much for campaigning in flat country. These are the four useful branches of military knowledge which enabled the Yellow Emperor to vanquish four several sovereigns. All armies prefer high ground to low. and sunny places to dark. If you are careful of your men and camp on hard ground, the army will be free from disease of every kind, and this will spell victory. When you come to a hill or a bank, occupy the sunny side, with the slope on your right rear. Thus you will at once act for the benefit of your soldiers and utilize the natural advantages of the ground. When, in consequence of heavy rains up-country, a river which you wish to ford is swollen and flecked with foam, you must wait until it subsides. Country in which there are precipitous cliffs with torrents running between, deep natural hollows, confined places, tangled thickets, quagmires and crevasses, should be left with all possible speed and not approached. While we keep away from such places, we should get the enemy to approach them; while we face them, we should let the enemy have them on his rear. If in the neighborhood of your camp there should be any hilly country, ponds surrounded by aquatic grass, hollow basins filled with reeds, or woods with thick undergrowth, they must be carefully routed out and searched; for these are places where men in ambush or insidious spies are likely to be lurking. When the enemy is close at hand and remains quiet, he is relying on the natural strength of his position. When he keeps aloof and tries to provoke a battle, he is anxious for the other side to advance. If his place of encampment is easy of access, he is tendering a bait. Movement amongst the trees of a forest shows that the enemy is advancing. The appearance of a number of screens in the midst of thick grass means that the enemy wants to make us suspicious. The rising of birds in their flight is the sign of an ambuscade. When there is dust rising in a high column, it is the sign of chariots advancing; when the dust is low, but spread over a wide area, it betokens the approach of infantry. When it branches out in different directions, it shows that parties have been sent to collect firewood. A few clouds of dust moving to and fro signify that the army is encamping. Humble words and increased preparations are signs that the enemy is about to advance. Violent language and driving forward as if to the attack are signs that he will retreat. When the light chariots come out first and take up a position on the wings, it is a sign that the enemy is forming for battle. Peace proposals unaccompanied by a sworn covenant indicate a plot. When there is much running about and the soldiers fall into rank, it means that the critical moment has come. When some are seen advancing and some retreating, it is a lure. When the soldiers stand leaning on their spears, they are faint from want of food. If those who are sent to draw water begin by drinking themselves, the army is suffering from thirst. If the enemy sees an advantage to be gained and makes no effort to secure it, the soldiers are exhausted. If birds gather on any spot, it is unoccupied. Clamor by night betokens nervousness. If there is disturbance in the camp, the general's authority is weak. If the banners and flags are shifted about, sedition is afoot. If the officers are angry, it means that the men are weary. When an army feeds its horses with grain and kills its cattle for food, and when the men do not hang their cooking-pots over the camp-fires, showing that they will not return to their tents, you may know that they are determined to fight to the death. The sight of men whispering together in small knots or speaking in subdued tones points to disaffection amongst the rank and file. Too frequent rewards signify that the enemy is at the end of his resources; too many punishments betray a condition of dire distress. To begin by bluster, but afterwards to take fright at the enemy's numbers, shows a supreme lack of intelligence. When envoys are sent with compliments in their mouths, it is a sign that the enemy wishes for a truce. If the enemy's troops march up angrily and remain facing ours for a long time without either joining battle or taking themselves off again, the situation is one that demands great vigilance and circumspection. If our troops are no more in number than the enemy, that is amply sufficient; it only means that no direct attack can be made. What we can do is simply to concentrate all our available strength, keep a close watch on the enemy, and obtain reinforcements. He who exercises no forethought but makes light of his opponents is sure to be captured by them. If soldiers are punished before they have grown attached to you, they will not prove submissive; and, unless submissive, then will be practically useless. If, when the soldiers have become attached to you, punishments are not enforced, they will still be useless. Therefore soldiers must be treated in the first instance with humanity, but kept under control by means of iron discipline. This is a certain road to victory. If in training soldiers commands are habitually enforced, the army will be well-disciplined; if not, its discipline will be bad. If a general shows confidence in his men but always insists on his orders being obeyed, the gain will be mutual.
WAR: We may distinguish six kinds of terrain, to wit: Accessible ground; Entangling ground; Temporizing ground; Narrow passes; Precipitous heights; Positions at a great distance from the enemy. Ground which can be freely traversed by both sides is called ACCESSIBLE . With regard to ground of this nature, be before the enemy in occupying the raised and sunny spots, and carefully guard your line of supplies. Then you will be able to fight with advantage. Ground which can be abandoned but is hard to re-occupy is called ENTANGLING. From a position of this sort, if the enemy is unprepared, you may sally forth and defeat him. But if the enemy is prepared for your coming, and you fail to defeat him, then, return being impossible, disaster will ensue. When the position is such that neither side will gain by making the first move, it is called TEMPORIZING ground. In a position of this sort, even though the enemy should offer us an attractive bait, it will be advisable not to stir forth, but rather to retreat, thus enticing the enemy in his turn; then, when part of his army has come out, we may deliver our attack with advantage. With regard to NARROW PASSES, if you can occupy them first, let them be strongly garrisoned and await the advent of the enemy. Should the army forestall you in occupying a pass, do not go after him if the pass is fully garrisoned, but only if it is weakly garrisoned. With regard to PRECIPITOUS HEIGHTS, if you are beforehand with your adversary, you should occupy the raised and sunny spots, and there wait for him to come up. If the enemy has occupied them before you, do not follow him, but retreat and try to entice him away. If you are situated at a great distance from the enemy, and the strength of the two armies is equal, it is not easy to provoke a battle, and fighting will be to your disadvantage. These six are the principles connected with Earth. The general who has attained a responsible post must be careful to study them. Now an army is exposed to six several calamities, not arising from natural causes, but from faults for which the general is responsible. These are: Flight; Insubordination; Collapse; Ruin; Disorganization; Rout. Other conditions being equal, if one force is hurled against another ten times its size, the result will be the FLIGHT of the former. When the common soldiers are too strong and their officers too weak, the result is INSUBORDINATION. When the officers are too strong and the common soldiers too weak, the result is COLLAPSE. When the higher officers are angry and insubordinate, and on meeting the enemy give battle on their own account from a feeling of resentment, before the commander-in-chief can tell whether or no he is in a position to fight, the result is RUIN. When the general is weak and without authority; when his orders are not clear and distinct; when there are no fixes duties assigned to officers and men, and the ranks are formed in a slovenly haphazard manner, the result is utter DISORGANIZATION. When a general, unable to estimate the enemy's strength, allows an inferior force to engage a larger one, or hurls a weak detachment against a powerful one, and neglects to place picked soldiers in the front rank, the result must be ROUT. These are six ways of courting defeat, which must be carefully noted by the general who has attained a responsible post. The natural formation of the country is the soldier's best ally; but a power of estimating the adversary, of controlling the forces of victory, and of shrewdly calculating difficulties, dangers and distances, constitutes the test of a great general. He who knows these things, and in fighting puts his knowledge into practice, will win his battles. He who knows them not, nor practices them, will surely be defeated. If fighting is sure to result in victory, then you must fight, even though the ruler forbid it; if fighting will not result in victory, then you must not fight even at the ruler's bidding. The general who advances without coveting fame and retreats without fearing disgrace, whose only thought is to protect his country and do good service for his sovereign, is the jewel of the kingdom. Regard your soldiers as your children, and they will follow you into the deepest valleys; look upon them as your own beloved sons, and they will stand by you even unto death. If, however, you are indulgent, but unable to make your authority felt; kind-hearted, but unable to enforce your commands; and incapable, moreover, of quelling disorder: then your soldiers must be likened to spoilt children; they are useless for any practical purpose. If we know that our own men are in a condition to attack, but are unaware that the enemy is not open to attack, we have gone only halfway towards victory. If we know that the enemy is open to attack, but are unaware that our own men are not in a condition to attack, we have gone only halfway towards victory. If we know that the enemy is open to attack, and also know that our men are in a condition to attack, but are unaware that the nature of the ground makes fighting impracticable, we have still gone only halfway towards victory. Hence the experienced soldier, once in motion, is never bewildered; once he has broken camp, he is never at a loss. Hence the saying: If you know the enemy and know yourself, your victory will not stand in doubt; if you know Heaven and know Earth, you may make your victory complete.
WAR: The art of war recognizes nine varieties of ground: Dispersive ground - When a chieftain is fighting in his own territory, it is dispersive ground; Facile ground - When he has penetrated into hostile territory, but to no great distance, it is facile ground; Contentious ground - Ground the possession of which imports great advantage to either side, is contentious ground; Open ground - Ground on which each side has liberty of movement is open ground; Ground of intersecting highways - Ground which forms the key to three contiguous states, so that he who occupies it first has most of the Empire at his command, is a ground of intersecting highways; Serious ground - When an army has penetrated into the heart of a hostile country, leaving a number of fortified cities in its rear, it is serious ground; Difficult ground - Mountain forests, rugged steeps, marshes and fens--all country that is hard to traverse: this is difficult ground; Hemmed-in ground - Ground which is reached through narrow gorges, and from which we can only retire by tortuous paths, so that a small number of the enemy would suffice to crush a large body of our men: this is hemmed in ground; Desperate ground - Ground on which we can only be saved from destruction by fighting without delay, is desperate ground. On dispersive ground, therefore, fight not. On facile ground, halt not. On contentious ground, attack not. On open ground, do not try to block the enemy's way. On the ground of intersecting highways, join hands with your allies. On serious ground, gather in plunder. In difficult ground, keep steadily on the march. On hemmed-in ground, resort to stratagem. On desperate ground, fight. Those who were called skillful leaders of old knew how to drive a wedge between the enemy's front and rear; to prevent co-operation between his large and small divisions; to hinder the good troops from rescuing the bad, the officers from rallying their men. When the enemy's men were united, they managed to keep them in disorder. When it was to their advantage, they made a forward move; when otherwise, they stopped still. If asked how to cope with a great host of the enemy in orderly array and on the point of marching to the attack, I should say: "Begin by seizing something which your opponent holds dear; then he will be amenable to your will." Rapidity is the essence of war: take advantage of the enemy's unreadiness, make your way by unexpected routes, and attack unguarded spots. The following are the principles to be observed by an invading force: The further you penetrate into a country, the greater will be the solidarity of your troops, and thus the defenders will not prevail against you. Make forays in fertile country in order to supply your army with food; Carefully study the well-being of your men, and do not overtax them. Concentrate your energy and hoard your strength. Keep your army continually on the move, and devise unfatho mable plans; Throw your soldiers into positions whence there is no escape, and they will prefer death to flight. If they will face death, there is nothing they may not achieve. Officers and men alike will put forth their uttermost strength; Soldiers when in desperate straits lose the sense of fear. If there is no place of refuge, they will stand firm. If they are in hostile country, they will show a stubborn front. If there is no help for it, they will fight hard. Thus, without waiting to be marshaled, they will do your will; without restrictions, they will be faithful; without giving orders, they can be trusted. Prohibit the taking of omens, and do away with superstitious doubts. Then, until death itself comes, no calamity need be feared. If our soldiers are not overburdened with money, it is not because they have a distaste for riches; if their lives are not unduly long, it is not because they are disinclined to longevity. On the day they are ordered out to battle, your soldiers may weep.. But let them once be brought to bay, and they will display the courage of a Chu or a Kuei. The skillful tactician may be likened to the shuai-jan. Now the shuai-jan is a snake that is found in the ChUng mountains. Strike at its head, and you will be attacked by its tail; strike at its tail, and you will be attacked by its head; strike at its middle, and you will be attacked by head and tail both. Asked if an army can be made to imitate the shuai-jan, I should answer, Yes. For the men of Wu and the men of Yueh are enemies; yet if they are crossing a river in the same boat and are caught by a storm, they will come to each other's assistance just as the left hand helps the right. Hence it is not enough to put one's trust in the tethering of horses, and the burying of chariot wheels in the ground. The principle on which to manage an army is to set up one standard of courage which all must reach. How to make the best of both strong and weak--that is a question involving the proper use of ground. Thus the skillful general conducts his army just as though he were leading a single man, willy-nilly, by the hand. It is the business of a general to be quiet and thus ensure secrecy; upright and just, and thus maintain order. He must be able to mystify his officers and men by false reports and appearances, and thus keep them in total ignorance. By altering his arrangements and changing his plans, he keeps the enemy without definite knowledge. By shifting his camp and taking circuitous routes, he prevents the enemy from anticipating his purpose. At the critical moment, the leader of an army acts like one who has climbed up a height and then kicks away the ladder behind him. He carries his men deep into hostile territory before he shows his hand. He burns his boats and breaks his cooking-pots; like a shepherd driving a flock of sheep, he drives his men this way and that, and nothing knows whither he is going. To muster his host and bring it into danger:--this may be termed the business of the general. The different measures suited to the nine varieties of ground; the expediency of aggressive or defensive tactics; and the fundamental laws of human nature: these are things that must most certainly be studied. When invading hostile territory, the general principle is, that penetrating deeply brings cohesion; penetrating but a short way means dispersion. When you leave your own country behind, and take your army across neighborhood territory, you find yourself on critical ground. When there are means of communication on all four sides, the ground is one of intersecting highways. When you penetrate deeply into a country, it is serious ground. When you penetrate but a little way, it is facile ground. When you have the enemy's strongholds on your rear, and narrow passes in front, it is hemmed-in ground. When there is no place of refuge at all, it is desperate ground. Therefore, on dispersive ground, I would inspire my men with unity of purpose. On facile ground, I would see that there is close connection between all parts of my army. On contentious ground, I would hurry up my rear. On open ground, I would keep a vigilant eye on my defenses. On ground of intersecting highways, I would consolidate my alliances. On serious ground, I would try to ensure a continuous stream of supplies. On difficult ground, I would keep pushing on along the road. On hemmed-in ground, I would block any way of retreat. On desperate ground, I would proclaim to my soldiers the hopelessness of saving their lives. For it is the soldier's disposition to offer an obstinate resistance when surrounded, to fight hard when he cannot help himself, and to obey promptly when he has fallen into danger. We cannot enter into alliance with neighboring princes until we are acquainted with their designs. We are not fit to lead an army on the march unless we are familiar with the face of the country--its mountains and forests, its pitfalls and precipices, its marshes and swamps. We shall be unable to turn natural advantages to account unless we make use of local guides. To be ignorant of any one of the following four or five principles does not befit a warlike prince. When a warlike prince attacks a powerful state, his generalship shows itself in preventing the concentration of the enemy's forces. He overawes his opponents, and their allies are prevented from joining against him. Hence he does not strive to ally himself with all and sundry, nor does he foster the power of other states. He carries out his own secret designs, keeping his antagonists in awe. Thus he is able to capture their cities and overthrow their kingdoms. Bestow rewards without regard to rule, issue orders without regard to previous arrangements; and you will be able to handle a whole army as though you had to do with but a single man. Confront your soldiers with the deed itself; never let them know your design. When the outlook is bright, bring it before their eyes; but tell them nothing when the situation is gloomy. Place your army in deadly peril, and it will survive; plunge it into desperate straits, and it will come off in safety. For it is precisely when a force has fallen into harm's way that is capable of striking a blow for victory. Success in warfare is gained by carefully accommodating ourselves to the enemy's purpose. By persistently hanging on the enemy's flank, we shall succeed in the long run in killing the commander-in-chief. This is called ability to accomplish a thing by sheer cunning. On the day that you take up your command, block the frontier passes, destroy the official tallies, and stop the passage of all emissaries. Be stern in the council-chamber, so that you may control the situation. If the enemy leaves a door open, you must rush in. Forestall your opponent by seizing what he holds dear, and subtly contrive to time his arrival on the ground. Walk in the path defined by rule, and accommodate yourself to the enemy until you can fight a decisive battle. At first, then, exhibit the coyness of a maiden, until the enemy gives you an opening; afterwards emulate the rapidity of a running hare, and it will be too late for the enemy to oppose you.
WAR: There are five ways of attacking with fire. The first is to burn soldiers in their camp; the second is to burn stores; the third is to burn baggage trains; the fourth is to burn arsenals and magazines; the fifth is to hurl dropping fire amongst the opponent. In order to carry out an attack, we must have means available. The material for raising fire should always be kept in readiness. There is a proper season for making attacks with fire, and special days for starting a conflagration. The proper season is when the weather is very dry; the special days are those when the moon is in the constellations of the Sieve, the Wall, the Wing or the Cross-bar; for these four are all days of rising wind. In attacking with fire, one should be prepared to meet five possible developments: When fire breaks out inside to opponent's camp, respond at once with an attack from without; If there is an outbreak of fire, but the opponent's soldiers remain qui et, bide your time and do not attack; When the force of the flames has reached its height, follow it up with an attack, if that is practicable; if not, stay where you are; If it is possible to make an assault with fire from without, do not wait for it to break out within, but deliver your attack at a favorable moment; When you start a fire, be to windward of it. Do not attack from the leeward. A wind that rises in the daytime lasts long, but a night breeze soon falls. In every army, the five developments connected with fire must be known, the movements of the stars calculated, and a watch kept for the proper days. Hence those who use fire as an aid to the attack show intelligence; those who use water as an aid to the attack gain an accession of strength. By means of water, an opponent may be intercepted, but not robbed of all his belongings. Unhappy is the fate of one who tries to win his battles and succeed in his attacks without cultivating the spirit of enterprise; for the result is waste of time and general stagnation. Hence the saying: The enlightened ruler lays his plans well ahead; the good general cultivates his resources. Move not unless you see an advantage; use not your troops unless there is something to be gained; fight not unless the position is critical. If it is to your advantage, make a forward move; if not, stay where you are. Anger may in time change to gladness; vexation may be succeeded by content. No leader should put troops into the field merely to gratify his own spleen; no leader should fight a battle simply out of pique. But a kingdom that has once been destroyed can never come again into being; nor can the dead ever be brought back to life. Hence the enlightened leader is heedful, and the good leader full of caution.
WAR: Raising a host of a hundred thousand men and engaging them in war entails heavy loss on the people and a drain on the resources. The daily expenditure will amount to a thousand ounces of silver. There will be commotion at home and abr oad, and men will drop out exhausted. Opposing forces may face each other for years, striving for the victory which may be decided in a single day. This being so, to remain in ignorance of the enemy's condition simply because one grudges the outlay of a hundred ounces of silver is the height of stupidity. One who acts thus is no leader of men, no present help to his cause, no master of victory. Thus, what enables the wise commander to strike and conquer, and achieve things beyond the reach of ordinary men, is foreknowledge. Now this foreknowledge cannot be elicited from spirits; it cannot be obtained inductively from experience, nor by any deductive calculation. Knowledge of the enemy's dispositions can only be obtained from other men. Hence the use of spies, of whom there are five classes: Local spies - Having local spies means employing the services of the inhabitants of an enemy territory; Moles - Having moles means making use of officials of the enemy; Double agents - Having double agents means getting hold of the enemy's spies and using them for our own purposes; Doomed spies - Having doomed spies means doing certain things openly for purposes of deception, and allowing our spies to know of them and report them to the enemy; Surviving spies - Surviving spies means are those who bring back news from the enemy's camp. When these five kinds of spy are all at work, none can discover the secret system. This is called "divine manipulation of the threads." It is the commander's most precious faculty. Hence it is that which none in the whole army are more intimate relations to be maintained than with spies. None should be more liberally rewarded. In no other fields should greater secrecy be preserved. Spies cannot be usefully employed without a certain intuitive sagacity; They cannot be properly managed without benevolence and straight forwardness; Without subtle ingenuity of mind, one cannot make certain of the truth of their reports; Be subtle! be subtle! and use your spies for every kind of warfare; If a secret piece of news is divulged by a spy before the time is ripe, he must be put to death together with the man to whom the secret was told. Whether the object be to crush an enemy, to storm a territory, or to kill an enemy general, it is always necessary to begin by finding out the names of the attendants, the aides-de-camp, and door-keepers and sentries of the general in command. Our spies must be commissioned to ascertain these. The enemy's spies who have come to spy on us must be sought out, tempted with bribes, led away and comfortably housed. Thus they will become double agents and available for our service. It is through the information brought by the double agent that we are able to acquire and employ local and inward spies. It is owing to his information, again, that we can cause the doomed spy to carry false tidings to the enemy. Lastly, it is by his information that the surviving spy can be used on appointed occasions. The end and aim of spying in all its five varieties is knowledge of the enemy; and this knowledge can only be derived, in the first instance, from the double agent. Hence it is essential that the double agent be treated with the utmost liberality. Hence it is only the enlightened and wise general who will use the highest intelligence of the army for purposes of spying and thereby they achieve great results. Spies are the most important asset, because on them depends an army's ability to march.
(This translation with commentaries was found at- http://www.kimsoft.com/polwar.htm. Originally translated by Lionel Giles, M.A. Assistant in the Department of Oriental Printed Books and MSS. in the British Museum. First Published in 1910. The online version has several typos and spelling errors; I've tried to correct the most obvious ones and modified it slightly.)
Carol Brouillet: The State is the greatest threat to humanity and life.
LIFE: In the past hundred years, more people have been killed by their own governments than in conflicts between nation states: civilians, unarmed men, women, and children outnumbered the soldiers who were killed. State-sponsored violence and war divert vital resources from human needs, causes unnecessary suffering, and the devastation of the natural world.
Respectful, peaceful co-existence between humanity and the natural world endured longer than the empires that concentrate wealth and power while destroying their ecological base.
LIFE: War is organized insanity, a crime against humanity. The business of war is the world's largest industry, enriching the few while impoverishing the many. In the era of transnational corporations, there is no allegiance to one particular country or another, all countries may be victimized by a criminal elite who have seized the reins of government through fraudulent elections and manipulations. Corrupt politicians serve their own interests, and the elite interests of those who helped install them into positions of power. There is fierce competition over resources, markets, water, oil, the lucrative drug industry and geostrategic regional control.
Cooperation, between people, is the best hope for humanity at a time of mass extinctions, the end of the Cenozoic Era. Cooperation in all areas--- within families, within the organs of the human body, within the diverse human communities that cover the planet--- is a better survival strategy than competition... and more fun.
LIFE: With politicians chosen, stage managed, to sell wars and policies that benefit the few over the many; they are bereft of legitimacy, moral authority, and the support of the majority; their public personas are fictions that masks their character and intentions. With the criminalization of the State and the passage of laws designed to protect corporate and government interests from the wrath of their victims, people must organize and stand up for their rights or they will lose them. The first casualty in war is "truth." When weapons manufacturers own the major communications networks, mainstream news inevitably becomes a "propaganda device."
Communicating the truth, and helping people to see through media hoaxes, are the obvious ways to counter the deceptions used to trick people into supporting war. Fortunately, the current communications renaissance allows people to contact each other directly, bypassing government and corporate gatekeepers. Even so, powerful interests dominate general discourse, are trying to extend their monopoly to the digital domain; they cling to legitimacy by marginalizing or ridiculing those that challenge them. To make the truth known, people must make their voices be heard at all levels- within the community, locally, regionally, nationally, internationally, at government meetings, in the streets, at community events, on the radio, on television, on the web; through music, through art, through film, through literature, through new forms of organizations, and through direct action. We must champion- truth, justice, freedom, healthy food and water, endangered species and ecosystems, agriculture, housing, transportation, energy, healthcare, human rights, labor rights, racial equality, education, land and monetary reforms, accountable governance, a voice in our collective future, or Big Lies will continue to dominate the public mind, discourse, and pave the way for perpetual war.
LIFE: Commanders lose their authority when a country or army loses faith in their words, actions or stated purpose.
When there is blind obedience to authority, it does not change the fact that everyone is responsible for their own actions. The military gives people within the army a license to kill, to break all moral laws in support of a loftier goal – the survival of the State, but when it is the State that kills, threatens, terrifies the people it is supposed to be safeguarding this imposes a moral dilemma upon every soldier and every citizen. People have an innate moral compass and know that it is wrong to kill, lie, cheat, steal, oppress.
Each person is a manifestation of their belief systems; their actions and words affect the lives that they touch. Helping, caring for, respecting others is uplifting for everyone involved. For good or ill; together we can do what no one of us can do alone. We are part of an evolutionary process that may spiral downwards towards extinction, or may spiral upwards towards the realization of our human potential. By our individual and collective decisions, we each, in a profound way, can help or hinder this process.
Reason, not force, will cause the downfall of tyrants and oppressive systems. Of all the myths used to perpetuate corrupt empires, a key one is the idea that "things always work out well for some people, but not all"- that there will always be rich and poor, that there will always be violence, that the strong will always take advantage of the weak. There is another force, the bonding empathy, which in animal and human groups is manifested by caring behaviors, protecting, healing, the wounded, the sick, the injured, the young. Domination of society by bullies, tyrants, and illegitimate power grabbers have been challenged throughout human history by those in solidarity with the oppressed, leading to the abolishment of slavery, the emancipation of women, child labor laws, environmental protection legislation. The many have successfully tried to challenge and curb the excesses of self proclaimed "God anointed rulers." In nature, mature, thriving ecosystems are incredibly complex and there is great diversity. Monoculture is unhealthy for humans and nature.
LIFE: Humans are problem solvers and most aspire to help people by solving the problems that continually confront people on inumerable levels. True leaders challenge the flawed existing systems and inspire a vision for a better world. They enable others to take action, they model the changes they wish to see. They recognize people's contributions and offer encouragement. In social systems we can correct a few major flaws- protection should flow downwards and anxiety should flow upwards. People, particularly children and those who need special care, should not be terrorized or manipulated and controlled by fear.
Love and respect are healthy motivators, but should be earned by nurturing behavior and actions. Legitimate power is earned by service that benefits society, the world, as a whole, and increases everyone's capacity to love and serve the common good. Societies should be richly diverse, self governing, and working cooperatively to serve all, bearing future generations in mind, during all decision making processes.
LIFE: The best leaders are invisible. They empower others to act, and to experience the joy and confidence that comes from overcoming their problems. One or two leaders are not enough to solve all the problems facing humanity at this time. We need processes that encourages people to shoulder leadership and responsibility, to recognize the unique contributions of the diverse social movements that have arisen to challenge the assaults upon all aspects of our existence, to strengthen the connection among multiple movements, and to recognize interdependent and the complementary goals of all people.
LIFE: Leadership includes listening to everyone and articulating the collective wisdom. Power that comes from the threat of violence or other means of coercion is not truly empowering. It is a fear-based, "illusory" sense of power, which leads to paranoia and corruption. Greater power comes from the heartfelt support and encouragement of people who share a vision that benefits all.
LIFE: The skills of leadership should be learned, shared, developed, and rotated within a community, so that no one bears the burden of all the decision-making. The wealth of a community lies in its collective wisdom, knowledge, and skills that can be shared and multiplied.
LIFE: Although a brutal and powerful army may kill the most people, destroying much of the earth in the process, those who participate in this destruction will suffer the loss of their own humanity---many will commit suicide or travel further on the path of insanity. The greater the tyranny exercised over others; the greater the resistance will be.
Courage means standing up for what is right and standing up against oppression. The forces of life and love are ultimately greater than forces of fear and greed, which drive insane men to kill those that they cannot control. Enlightened people do not seek to kill or to control other people; they find joy and inner peace through healthy relationships and harmony within their families, amidst their friends, their communities, and the larger world that they serve. Ultimately, power comes from the consent, support and cooperation of the governed, earned by those who serve their community and are known by their deeds, as well as by their words, and share the deeply held values of humanity.
LIFE: Warfare represents the ultimate failure of a tyrant to extend his control over other people’s territory by any other means. The fact that wars are carried out secretly, or by ruses geared to cloud the rational judgement of distressed people, reveals how unacceptable and immoral they are, even to the people of the state that has launched the attacks.
If the true history of war and current events were revealed, humanity would be outraged, warmongers would fall from power, and war would become obsolete.
War is the failure of truth, reason, justice to prevail and the naked admission that violence is the only tool that will serve an immoral cause. Modern warfare is dependent upon the suppression of actual news and the dominance of war supporting propaganda.
LIFE: Tyrants rely on bribes, greed, and fear to wage war, and must corrupt some with the loot from conquered people to maintain support in their country. Recruitment of soldiers is the Achilles Heel of an empire; desperation, poverty, coercion, and false promises, are used to build the armed forces where patriotic myths fail. The human sacrifice of the young for the benefit of the old violates fundamental human values which recognize and value children and future generations.
LIFE: It is not power which corrupts, it is fear- fear of losing power and fear of the scourge of those who wield it. War drains, and destroys those whose lives it touches; it maims the spirit, the land, and pulls time and energy away from activities that could develop and enrich lives.
LIFE: A tyrant, a victim of self-deception, will attempt to convince people that the fate of their country is tied to the fate of their head of state. Blinded by hubris, a tyrant is capable of outrageous crimes in an effort to maintain and extend his power regardless of the costs. A collective delusion, supported by the state apparatus, feeds the folly that gambles for world domination, placing the entire world at risk.
It is a great service to one’s people, and to the entire planet, to challenge the delusion, “the righteousness of war,” the foundation myth that gives legitimacy to tyrants.
Honors should go to those who challenge the mechanisms by which the state wages war---recruitment, weapons delivery systems, supply lines, war propaganda---and who engage in increasingly creative acts of resistance. Creative resistance to war includes citizen diplomacy as well as deploying peaceful people to countries targeted for attack to prevent violence and bombings, and to witness and report their direct observations.
LIFE: Conquest is devastating to the conquered, and the conquerors. The price of occupation is rising as it becomes more expensive to conceal the atrocities, the truth, under increasingly complex lies.
Humor, love, courage, music, art revive the strength and spirit of people to survive and overcome injustice.
When the whole world realizes which few corporations, industries, and politicians are benefiting from staggeringly expensive wars, the day of reckoning draws nearer for war criminals.
LIFE: There is no justification for besieging countries, towns and cities that pose no threat and simply wish to live in peace.
LIFE: Self-governance is the best form of governance. Transparency, accountability and multiple feedback loops are vital to avoid tyranny and the oppression of powerful interests that seek only profit and do not care for the people or the land upon which all life depends.
LIFE: International bullies are cowards who choose weak targets. Their immoral and criminal actions must be resisted not only by the countries they attack, but by all people who share the human aspirations for peace, freedom and justice. Through international solidarity against tyranny, by developing communications between people that bypass the corporate and government gaekeepers, we can put an end to war.
LIFE: When the state respects individual rights and serves people, freedom will flourish. When the people fear and serve the state, tyranny and corruption will flourish.
LIFE: By dehumanizing their own citizens and turning them into killing machines, and by dehumanizing the enemy and unleashing the “Dogs of War” against them, tyrants destroy their own people, as well as those they seek to conquer.
LIFE: Self-deception drives men to war. Enlightenment benefits everyone and lights the path for a peaceful, hopeful future for all.
LIFE: Those who seek power rush to the head of the parade, to avoid being trampled. True leaders are those who empower the people to march together, in solidarity, for freedom, for justice, for their right to stand up for their beliefs- despite efforts to frighten and splinter them. In many ways it is irrelevant who is at the head of the parade- it is the cumulative message, beliefs, and desires of the multitude that give strength and power to their collective voice.
LIFE: Corrupt politicians, stolen elections, the influence of major corporations who seek only profits for themselves-- -revelations have challenged the legitimacy of those who hold the reins of power. Who do politicians serve- the people or transnational corporate interests? Who does the military serve- the public good or corporate interests? How can the military impose “freedom” upon people? Removing “installed dictators” has always been a charade, not legitimate liberation.
It is the sole responsibility of a people to hold their rulers responsible for their actions. If the people do not hold their leaders accountable, then they leave themselves open for other countries to "help" them with "regime change,” at great cost to their land and liberty.
LIFE: The farther the generals and politicians are from battle, the less likely they are to know what is really happening, and the more likely they are to misrepresent the the truth about a war, so that they can manipulate public opinion.
The confusion, fear, and chaos of war, increase the chances of soldiers being killed by their own army. Experimentation with new weapons and the liquidation of inconvenient witnesses,are other dangers for soldier/pawns who are at the mercy of those who value profit over human life. Soldiers who experience war firsthand may become powerful peacemakers- who come to value and cherish life, and devote themselves to the cause of truth, peace, and healing. They may testify against war and the human costs born by soldiers, as well as civilians.
The trauma of war and violence may also result in suicide, or be passed on to others, and passed from one generation to the next. Turning from the wanton destruction of life to the painstaking care and nurturing of the wounded, and the young, lies a critical moment of decision. Not only the soldier, but every individual is faced with decisions in thier daily which when multiplied by the collective actions of others aid or condemn humanity. Each person has tremendous power to choose whether they will serve Life or succumb to Fear.
LIFE: Next to brute military force, money is the most powerful tool of empire. Invaders force people into slave labor, or they force people off their land, so that the people become enslaved in a place where money is vital for survival. But just as war and tyranny seek to destroy all connections, the human spirit gains strength from recognizing our heartfelt connectedness- our connections to others, to the earth, to the larger struggles for peace and freedom that our ancestors have faced for millennia. The word “community” is derived from the “free exchange of gifts.” We can create and nurture community, wherever we are, by sharing whatever gifts we have- our attention, our stories, our food, our homes, our skills- to improve our own understanding, the world, and the future.
LIFE: When all is well at home, is there any reason to attack your neighbors? The fallacy of military ideology is the blind need to dominate and control other people, and the inherent assumption of the superiority of one person or group over others.
LIFE: Why would a soldier invade and plunder another country? Either for the "loot" or more likely because the soldier has been deceived into believing that the other country poses a threat to his country, his home. "False flag" operations are commonly used to frighten people, to create hatred that can be directed against the “country that has attacked us.” When George Orwell wrote “Ignorance is Strength,” he was referring to a deliberately “dumbed down” population that could be deceived and misled into supporting criminal acts of war on behalf of a criminal regime.
LIFE: There is nothing honorable about war; it is wrong to rob others of their lives, their land, and their wealth. It is a crime against humanity, no matter what pretty phrases are used to “sell the war and cloak it under the veil of lofty ideals.”
LIFE: It is fear, not bravery that binds an army; they must be more afraid of disobeying orders than of following them. The bravest people are those who refuse to be recruited, who refuse to kill, who refuse to be mercenaries in the service of tyrants.
LIFE: Using modern technology, a few people at a great distance can kill hundreds of thousands, even millions, of people. No longer does one nation wage war against another nation.
A new game has begun in which a transnational global elite is pitted against the vast majority of humanity. Cloaking this new war in the phrase “War on Terrorism,” those who profit from military expenditures, and from the seizure of resources- including the surveillance industry- have given the green light to all countries to re-lable whoever is opposed to government or corporate policy to be “terrorists.” The World Trade Organization, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the World Economic Forum- all are involved in orchestrating new assaults against the growing global opposition to corporate rule and militarism. This global conflict pits the "necrophiliacs"- those who think they have the right to kill or destroy any territory they cannot own- against the "biophiliacs"- people who love and respect life and feel connected to each other by a common struggle and hope for a better future for themselves, their children, and the planet.
LIFE: When people engage in self-deception, they cannot trust anyone- they must live in a prison of their own creation, always fearing discovery, retaliation, or betrayal. Fear dominates their lives and is their weapon of choice to control others.
At the heart of most religions and philosophies is forgiveness, acceptance, and love. Being honest with oneself and others is vital in developing trust and genuine community. The honest, heartfelt networks of trust allow people to live and function in community, and draws people together in joy and celebration. Courage involves honesty, acceptance, trust in yourself, and in your community.
LIFE: A dependency upon spies, lies, superior military force, betrays the inherent weakness of an Empire, which benefits few, and impoverishes and threatens the many, as well as the ecosystems that sustains life.
The evolution of governance from the divine rights of kings towards recognition of the inherent rights of all has been achieved through the combined efforts of a multitude of liberation movements throughout history. Peaceful, popular movements can grow, and depend upon truth, a vision of justice and liberty for all to nourish them. Violent militant regimes depend upon deception, propaganda, secrecy.
LIFE: The cornerstone of American foreign policy is the nuclear threat. The United States, which is the only country that has ever used nuclear weapons against others- has pressured other countries to succumb to American demands or face economic sanctions, military threats, and the ultimate threat of nuclear annihilation. The last “superpower” has provoked the hatred and anger of much of the world’s population, and maintains domestic support only through massive control of the corporate press, resulting in the most heavily propagandized population in the world today.
Public opinion has never been so powerful and has the ability to destroy entire economies whose currency is dependent upon “public confidence.”
Money is backed more by “belief” than military force. On the bright side, emerging technologies have facilitated revolutionary change by allowing people to communicate in ways bypassing traditional information gatekeepers, resulting in massive protests throughout the world.
The ruling elite panicked when they saw a rising threat to all the major institutions that allow them to dominate most of the world’s people. In response, 9-11 was an act of fear, terrorism, and a calculated act of intimidation, designed to frighten Americans, and the world, into silence and submission. As Pearl Harbor was orchestrated and eventually used as a pretext to create “the national security state;” 9-11 was orchestrated to create a “transnational security state”- to protect a global elite against the vast majority of people who object to their rule.
What can six billion people do against an arsenal that can destroy the planet a hundred times over? They can do a lot- especially by withdrawing support from corporations that profit from war while threatening people and the planet, and by withdrawing support from all the militaries that support wars, including the police forces designed to protect major criminals from the outrage of those who are harmed by corporate and governmental policies. Opposition to tyranny can take a multitude of forms. Simply asking questions, speaking truth, challenging corporate propaganda and govenment lies, raising consciousness wherever possible is the first step in every social justice movement seeking the greater good for all people.
LIFE: When people understand what is happening, they are able to make intelligent decisions and take action.
When the situation is cloudy and unclear, they are unable to act.
In today’s world there are multiple competing worldviews clamoring for attention, although the view that represents the establishment has by far the biggest platform. Never have so few people had so much control over the mainstream sources of information— television, radio, newspapers, film- but the Internet, the independent press, Indymedia, public access television, and community radio continue to challenge “official sources and the corporate press.” The corporate press is in a legitimacy crisis, just as emerging technologies are opening up possibilities for people to gain access to a greater part of the airwaves.
In his study of violence, Bill Moyer, author of the acclaimed Doing Democracy: The MAP Model for Organizing Social Movements, noted that men and large institutions act in “self defense” to protect their image of themselves and their “worldview;” they do so through physical, verbal and psychological violence to coerce others into supporting their views. Control over “communications” is essential for any state to remain in power that has not earned its legitimacy through popular support. Puppet dictators must serve powerful interests to remain in power, and even that is not assured if their behavior is so oppressive that a population rebels against them. As George Orwell said, “In a time of universal deceit- telling the truth is a revolutionary act.”
Nothing threatens the legitimacy of the state as much as exposure of the crimes committed by the most powerful “leaders” and “heads of state.”
The ways in which the mainstream media can be challenged are endless---through demonstrations, speeches, and direct action; through art, music, literature, theatre, and film; through the creation of new forms of organizations that challenge existing models; through any activities that allow the irrepressible spirit of truth to be heard over the din of official lies. Overcoming media censorship is essential to mobilizing people to hold their officials accountable for their actions.
Enlightened people will reject lies, the war-path and choose the path towards truth, peace, justice, freedom, and healing for the benefit of all people, and all life.
(This is a response to Sun Tzu's Art of War and the military mindset which seems bent on global conquest. Although written by Carol Brouillet, the ideas are not original and are derived from a range of sources, notably Lao Tzu, Confucius, Herman Hesse, Aung Sung Suu Kyi, Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., Bill Moyer, Norie Huddle, Elisabet Sahtouris, Dr. Jacques S. Jaikaran, Tom Atlee, Ahmed Motiar, Ken Jacobson, Erich Fromm, Daniel Brouillet, Christian Pecaut, Neil Robert Miller, and from the book- The Leadership Challenge by James M. Kouzes, Barry Z. Posner, Tom Peters and from a course given by Leadership Mid-Peninsula. Carol Brouillet is Co-Founder of a number of organizations including the International Media Project, the Who's Counting Project, The Northern California 9-11 Truth Alliance, organizer of the San Francisco International Inquiry into 9-11, publisher of The Deception Dollars, and producer of "Behind Every Terrorist- There is a Bush," and host of a weekly radio show entitled- Questioning War- Organizing Resistance, and the Green Party candidate for Congress in 2006 and 2008 in California's Disrict 14. Written years ago, this emotional outpouring against the military mindset, could certainly be improved upon, and I welcome editorial suggestions. The looming threat of a "nuclear 9/11" or expansion of the "War on Terror" into Iran, have prompted me to finally post this.)