Books I love (an ongoing series) – The Art of War by Sun Tzu

I won’t go on about the WMD lies, the pre-meditated plan to invade, the taking advantage of 9/11 and letting the real enemies get away. Declaring an “axis of evil” and ignoring 2 of the 3 axes (axi? Iran and North Korea) to focus on something not remotely involved and not possibly a threat to us. Ok…I went on for a moment, but that was HIGHLY restrained.

Instead, I’d like to share some items from “The Art of War” and I leave for you to consider whether such insight might have prevented or reduced much of what’s occurred on Earth since 9/11/01. There’s that well known old saying-those who don’t study history are doomed to repeat it. Let’s pretend in fantasy land, that Iraq was legitimate as a target of the most powerful nation on the planet’s war machine (later we’ll visit Lollipop land and feed marshmallow treats to the flying unicorns).

What should have been involved in our leader’s thoughts/planning? The Art of War by Sun Tzu. A great book a highly recommend to everyone-for a time in the 80s it became the “bible” for Wall Street businessman trying desperately to emulate the Japanese businessman using it to guide their efforts (and then Japan’s economy collapsed…hey wait a minute).

Just looking at one part of his writing (more than 2,000 years old), you can quickly see how a $20 book could have saved the us what will end up being TRILLIONS of dollars (Side note-ever wonder what 1 TRILLION dollars looks like? Find out here!).

According to a report to Congress that I found with a single Google search, dated October 15, 2008 by Amy Belasco (Specialist in U.S. Defense Policy and Budget Foreign Affairs, Defense, and Trade Division):

Total War Funding As of the FY2009 Bridge Fund In the FY2008 Supplemental (H.R. 2642/P.L.110-252), Congress funded DOD’s war costs not only for the rest of FY2008 but also for the first part of FY2009 in order to give a new Administration breathing room to set its war policies. As of enactment of H.R. 2642, the FY2008 Supplemental, the cumulative total for funds appropriated since the 9/11 attacks to DOD, State/USAID and VA for medical costs for the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and enhanced security total $864 billion. “(page 5) “Of this total, 76% if for Iraq, 20% for Afghanistan, 3% for enhanced security and 1% unallocated. Almost all of the funding for Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) is for Afghanistan.” (page 6)

And I have to quote the following: “In an August 2008 update, the Congressional Budget Office projected that additional war costs for the next ten years from FY2009 through FY2018 could range from $440 billion, if troop levels fell to 30,000 by 2010 to $865 billion, if troop levels fell to 75,000 by about 2013. Under these CBO projections, funding for Iraq, Afghanistan and the GWOT could total about $1.3 trillion or about $1.7 trillion for FY2001-FY2018. (page 2) (Source: CRS Report for Congress: “The Cost of Iraq, Afghanistan, and Other Global War on Terror Operations Since 9/11“)

Sun Tzu on Waging War (key points):
4. When the army engages in protracted campaigns the resources of the state will not suffice.
7. For there has never been a protracted war from which a country has benefited.
8. Thus those unable to understand the dangers inherent in employing troops are equally unable to understand the advantageous ways of doing so.

Sun Tzu on Offensive Strategy (key points):
1. Generally in war the best policy is to take a state intact; to ruin it is inferior to this.
3. For to win 100 victories in 100 battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the acme of skill.
4. Thus, what is of supreme importance in war is to attack the enemy’s strategy.
10. Thus, those skilled in war subdue the enemy’s army without battle. They capture his cities without assaulting them and overthrow his state without protracted operations.
11. Your aim must be to take All-under-Heaven intact. Thus your troops are not worn out and your gains will be complete. This is the art of offensive strategy.

Those are just a few of the many thoughtful perceptions on not just war, but the state/government. Some things are of course outdated related to the means of warfare, but overall, this is an amazing historical text that has survived and should still guide the hands of those who point their fingers at a computer screen and authorize warfare.

I consider myself liberally moderate (left of center), am not a far left-wing nut job, and don’t hate our troops. They defend us. I just hope/wish that before someone gives the command we think and plan and ensure we know what we’re going to do and what the consequences are. And it really enrages me that the real mastermind of 9/11 remains hidden and hasn’t been brought to justice. And when I look around and see foreclosures, unemployment, business/banks failing, and then read those dollar amounts above-it just kills me.

Seems like we could have had a war on poverty, poor education/schools and decaying infrastructure to make the country more powerful in the process to remain a leader in the 21st century and beyond. Hopefully it’s not too late to alter course to a better future for the whole planet.

In the end, we are all citizens of this green ball of life going around the sun. If we are to avoid ending up like the dinosaurs and instead be ready for a brave and exciting future that could be full of wonder and exploration in space-we all need to work together and be humans of Earth not little groups here and there focused on our differences and superiority complexes.

I know I’ve gone on a bit, but re-reading “The Art of War” and that report really made me think about what’s going on and where we’re at. What do you think?

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The Art of War by Sun Tzu (translated by Samuel B. Griffith
Order now: The Art of War by Sun Tzu
Translated by Samuel B. Griffith
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