Journal: Sun Tzu & How NOT To Lose…

Chuck Spinney

A biography of the author of this excellent essay can be found here.

Phi Beta Iota: When the public disconnects from public policy, policy is made without regard to intelligence.  This is one reason we concluded that to save the value of secret intelligence (i.e. prevent its being ignored and manipulated) we needed to create a public intelligence foundation to keep policy and acquisition honest.

Sun Tzu and America’s Way of War
by Jon Basil Utley, February 04, 2010

America’s way of war is, actually, not so new under the sun. Centuries ago, China’s Sun Tzu would have recognized some of our ways and errors. Indeed he would be rolling over in his grave at seeing how his famous dictums for successful wars are ignored and violated by America: a trillion-dollar war in Iraq, losing our allies, creating more and more fanatical enemies willing to do suicide missions against us, borrowing from foreigners to finance our wars. In fairness, part of our failure is the simple determinant that democracies can’t run empires and most armies hate occupation duty. Our military still trains to re-fight World War II, not for unending wars of occupation and trans-national terrorism. So now we fear and isolate ourselves from most Muslims, nearly a quarter of the world’s population, and are nearly bankrupted. However, bin Laden’s campaign followed Sun Tzu’s teachings to a “T.” (See “How Bin Laden Bankrupted America.” For why we can’t win our wars, see Andrew Bacevich’s “When Was the Last Time We Won A War?“)

Following are some of Sun Tzu’s main maxims from The Art of War and how and why America breaks them:

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See also:

Journal: Afghanistan, Sun Tzu, State, & “Intelligence”

Journal: New QDR–Pentagon Goes Intellectually AWOL

Journal: Pentagon's Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) as a Metaphor for a Predictable Defense Meltdown

Review: Defense Facts of Life–The Plans/Reality Mismatch

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