12. There are five dangerous faults which may affect a general: (1)
Recklessness, which leads to destruction; (2) cowardice, which leads to capture;
(3) a hasty temper, which can be provoked by insults; (4) a delicacy of honor
which is sensitive to shame; (5) over-solicitude for his men, which exposes him
to worry and trouble.
||Here are five sins or
faults that must be avoided.
1. Recklessness is making decisions
based on anger, hope or other dangerous emotions. It is better to
make decisions using knowledge and facts.
2. In war you cannot but make decisions. A decision not to fight
when it is necessary leads to flight and capture and losing all the
same. Not only does cowardice lose the war, it also results in shame
3. A commander or simple soldier who is easily provoked is one
who is easily defeated by the cunning enemy. Provocation which leads
to anger also leads to hasty action and falling into traps.
4. A sense of honor is mostly a good thing, but it can be
hazardous when the thought of shame leads to losing actions, such as
entering into a battle that cannot be won.
5. Caring for your soldiers is also a good thing unless taken to
excess, whereby fear for their safety can lead to unwise strategic
decisions. In war, generals must be ready to send their soldiers to
their deaths in order to achieve the greater goal of victory.
These rules apply to business too, where recklessness and other
foolhardiness can be very expensive.
|14. When an army is overthrown and its leader slain, the cause will surely be
found among these five dangerous faults. Let them be a subject of meditation.
||The five sins are
common, which is why they have been singled out. If you can avoid
these, you will avoid many of the problems that beset armies.