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The Annotated Art of War (Parts 2.19-20: Victory not Campaigns)

 

Disciplines > Warfare > The Annotated Art of War > Parts 2.19-20: Victory not Campaigns

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II. Waging War

 

Sun Tzu said: Commentary
19. In war, then, let your great object be victory, not lengthy campaigns. The goal is to win, not to overrun everything and everyone. It is to defeat the enemy, not to fight forever.

Whilst there may be glory in battle there is also great cost. Beware of letting glory becoming the ends that battle provides. Stories of derring-do are good for later cheer but they are not good for the nation when easier victory can be gained.

20. Thus it may be known that the leader of armies is the arbiter of the people's fate, the man on whom it depends whether the nation shall be in peace or in peril. The actions of the leader will build reputation. A useful reputation to seek is one of just power, where you can and will mete out justice where it is due. When people think you fair, they may fear and will trust you. Respect is a most powerful tool.

 

 

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