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The Art of War

  • It is better to keep the peace than to make it.
  • War is violence pushed to the ultimate extreme.
  • Rulers ignorant of military matters must not participate in them.
  • There are times in war when the ruler need not be obeyed.
  • The object of war is swift victory, not drawn out limited action.
  • A state exhausted by a long war tempts its neighbor to invade.
  • It is better to subdue the enemy than to destroy him.
  • A city captured intact is superior to taking smoking ruins.
  • The army must drill as they fight or they will hesitate in battle.
  • Never commit reinforcing troops and supplies piecemeal.
  • Do not assume attack will not come but rather make yourself ready.
  • Become as stone and quietly await your enemy's unprotected moment.
  • A victorious army is a rushing flood which is perfectly governed.
  • It is better to wait for the enemy to come than to rush out to meet him.
  • Show yourself in places he must hurry to, tiring himself.
  • Against a mysterious strategy the enemy must prepare everywhere.
  • Provoke the enemy commander and determine his tendencies.
  • Be without detectable pattern to frustrate his countermoves.
  • Feed on the enemy to reduce the burden of transporting provisions.
  • Know yourself, and pretend what you are not.
  • Fake dormancy by concealing your activity.
  • Present your troops as bait, as few when they are many.
  • Appear ill-equipped when your army is fully capable.
  • Put on a show of disorder to entice your enemy, then strike.
  • It is only with great courage an army can show false cowardice.
  • Encourage his cockiness with well-orchestrated false confusion.
  • Attack where the enemy does not anticipate you.
  • Move toward the battle by unexpected routes.
  • Do not repeat tactics after a victory* Be unpredictable.
  • If you outnumber your enemy divide him and attack.
  • If equally matched, engage but be capable of withdrawing.
  • If weaker, withdraw but be capable of eluding him.
  • Move at random to shake loose opportunities, and grab them.
  • Create spectacles to fix the attention of your troops.
  • United, the brave will not rush ahead, cowards will not fall back.
  • When he counterfeits a retreat, do not pursue.
  • Leave an escape route to a surrounded enemy and they will retire.
  • Fight downhill and downwind* Always take the high ground.
  • Permit the taking of enemy booty as an incentive for your troops.
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