Practical - Index >
To Do - Index >
The ART of WAR
by Sun Tzu
Around 2,300 years ago Sun Tzu is credited with having written the 'Art of War', a compilation of essays on the strategy of conducting war, we have edited his essays and picked out those points we feel are most applicable to today's struggle to achieve Animal Liberation.
I. LAYING PLANS
All warfare is based on deception.
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.
Attack him where he is unprepared, appear where you are not expected.
II. ATTACK BY STRATAGEM
To fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting.
Thus we may know that there are four essentials for victory: (1) He will win who knows when to fight and when not to fight. (2) He will win who knows how to handle both superior and inferior forces. (3) He will win whose army is animated by the same spirit throughout all its ranks. (4) He will win who, prepared himself, waits to take the enemy unprepared.
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.
III. TACTICAL DISPOSITIONS
To secure ourselves against defeat lies in our own hands, but the opportunity of defeating the enemy is provided by the enemy himself. is able to secure himself against defeat, but cannot make certain of defeating the enemy.
Hence the skillful fighter puts himself into a position which makes defeat impossible, and does not miss the moment for defeating the enemy.
In all fighting, the direct method may be used for joining battle, but indirect methods will be needed in order to secure victory.
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.
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.
V. WEAK POINTS AND STRONG
The clever combatant imposes his will on the enemy, but does not allow the enemy's will to be imposed on him.
O divine art of subtlety and secrecy! Through you we learn to be invisible, through you inaudible; and hence we can hold the enemy's fate in our hands.
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.
Do not repeat the tactics which have gained you one victory, but let your methods be regulated by the infinite variety of circumstances.
So in war, the way is to avoid what is strong and to strike at what is weak.
In war, practice dissimulation, and you will succeed.
Let your plans be dark and impenetrable as night, and when you move, fall like a thunderbolt.
Ponder and deliberate before you make a move.
Disciplined and calm, to await the appearance of disorder and hubbub amongst the enemy - this is the art of retaining self-possession.
VII. VARIATION IN TACTICS
In the midst of difficulties we are always ready to seize an advantage, we may extricate ourselves from misfortune.
These are dangerous faults which may affect a war: (1) Recklessness, which leads to destruction; (2) cowardice, which leads to capture; (3) a hasty temper, which can be provoked by insults.
VIII. THE USE OF SPIES
Hostile armies may face each other for years, striving for the victory which is 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 in honors and emoluments, is the height of inhumanity.
Be subtle! be subtle! and use your spies for every kind of business.