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The Art of War - Sun Tzu, 500 BC

The Laying of Plans are Governed by Five Constant Factors:

  1. Moral Law - the people in accord with the ruler.
  2. Heaven - signifies night and day; cold and heat; yin and yang.
  3. Earth - distances; danger and security; chances of life and death.
  4. The Commander - wisdom; sincerity; benevolence; courage and strictness.
  5. Method and Discipline - the army's proper subdivisions; gradations of rank.

Five Dangerous Faults of a General *:

  1. Recklessness - which leads to destruction.
  2. Cowardice - which leads to capture.
  3. Delicacy of Honor - which is sensitive to shame.
  4. Hasty Temper - which can be provoked by insults.
  5. Over Solicitude of the Troops - which exposes worry and trouble.
    * Do you think Clinton has any? I believe he has all, except #3.

The Sheathed Sword - to fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting.

Five Essentials of 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 its ranks.
  4. He will win who, prepared himself, waits to take the enemy unprepared.
  5. He will win who has military capacity and is not interfered with by the sovereign.


  1. Put yourself beyond the possibility of defeat. Await opportunity.
  2. The opportunity is provided by the enemy. One may know how to conquer without being able to do it.
  3. Security implies defensive tactics. Victory means offensive tactics. Defense - Hide in the most secret recesses. Attack from the topmost heights.
  4. To see victory when all can is not excellence. True excellence is to plan secretly; to move surreptitiously; to foil the enemy's plans.
  5. Victories must bring neither reputation for wisdom nor credit for courage. Win your battles by making no mistakes.

Variation of Tactics (see Nine Situations):

  1. When in difficult country, do not encamp.
  2. Where high roads intersect, join hands with allies.
  3. In isolated positions, do not linger.
  4. In hemmed-in situations, resort to stratagem.
  5. In desperate positions, you must fight.

Nine Situations (Nine Varieties of Ground):

  1. Dispersive Ground - Your own territory which leads your troops to want to visit their wives and children. Therefore fight not.
  2. Facile Ground - in hostile territory but no great distance from yours. Halt not.
  3. Contentious Ground - of great advantage to either side. Attack not.
  4. Open Ground - each side has liberty of movement. Do not block enemies path.
  5. Intersecting Highways - forms the key to three contiguous states. Join hands with allies.
  6. Serious Ground - hostile territory with the enemy's assets to your rear.Gather in plunder.
  7. Difficult Ground - territory that is hard to traverse. Keep moving.
  8. Hemmed-In Ground - a situation where a small number can crush a larger number. Use Strategy.
  9. Desperate Ground - can only thwart destruction by fighting without delay. Fight.

The divine manipulation of the threads.

"Information is the most important element of war
Upon it depends an army's ability to move.

Information is obtained by the use of spies. There are Five Classes of Spies:

  1. Local Spies - inhabitants of a district.
  2. Internal (Inward) Spies - officials of the enemy.
  3. Converted Spies - covert the enemy's spies to your own.
  4. Doomed Spies - use your disloyal spies to deceive the enemy.
  5. Surviving Spies - the ordinary class who bring back news from the enemy's camp.

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