Monday, April 24, 2006

Sun Tzu

"Thus the pinnacle of military deployment approaches the formless. If it is formless, then even the deepest spy connot discern it or the wise make plans against it."

Very cool. I like this part too...

"Men all know the disposition by which we attain victory, but no one knows the configuration through which we control the victory. Thus a victorious battle [strategy] is not repeated, the configurations of response [to the enemy] are inexhaustible."

If I'm understanding the little notes right "disposition" and "configuration" are translations of the same word.

"Now the army's disposition of force is like water. Water's configuration avoids heights and races downward. The army's disposition of force avoids the substantial and strikes the vacuous. Water configures it's flow in accord with the terrain; the army controls its victory in accord with the enemy. Thus the army does not maintain any constant strategic configuration of power, water has no constant shape. One who is able to change and transform in accord with the enemy and wrest victory is termed spiritual."

4 Comments:

Anonymous dj elliott said...

Sun Tzu wrote of all practical tactics 2300 years ago. The only change is which of those tactics are in acendence depending on capabilities and politics.

It has all happened before...

4:17 PM  
Blogger Synova said...

It's amazing. He's describing warfare with chariots, earth works, and flags to communicate, and he does it in a way that has hardly aged.

But it's logical, too, because anything too detailed and the principle of fluidity is lost.

I like the lists, such as five dangerous traits in a general, five weaknesses... one committed to dying can be slain, one committed to living can be captured, one easily angered and hasty can be insulted, one obsessed with being scrupulous and untainted can be shamed, one who loves the people can be troubled.

So a good general is not committed to living nor to dying, can't be proded into hasty action by insult, can't be controlled by getting dirt on him, and can make the decisions that will get his people killed with a clear head.

6:45 PM  
Anonymous dj elliott said...

It is required reading in most Military Academies. The tactics in "The Little Red Book" were plagerized from it.

7:16 PM  
Blogger Ymarsakar said...

Sun Tzu commands asymmetrical warfare. The Prussian General Clausewitz commands modern symmetrical warfare in the Prussian military model.

The Prussians helped a lot with training american auxilliaries in the revolution, and we learned even more after WWI and WWII. The Marine configuration of machine gun heavy weaps is also configured on the German model. One heavy weapons platoon for every 2 regular ones, I believe. Or was it 1 SAW gunner for every 2 rifleman.

What makes Sun Tzu still applicable and not obsolete, is that Sun Tzu speaks about the psychology of the human condition. Not technology, not specific tactics or strategies. The human mind will never change, well not any time soon anyways. So Sun Tzu went back to basic principles. And that is why he is even MORE important to this Long War and the future war with Iran, than Clausewitz.

What is more basic to life than how water flows, solidifies, and evaporates? Nothing is more basic to life than water. Thus we combine the metaphysical aspects of life with the action-behavior of human psychology and free will.

Sun Tzu vs clauswitz

Remember Sun Tzu's age and nationality, when fake liberals lecture people on how they are the multiculturalists and the military buffoons the Neanderthal thugs.

10:54 AM  

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