Art of War

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My opinion of this book, not only Marines, but anyone in a position of leadership should read this book. Sun Tzu was not only a great General, but also a very wise man, and an elite strategist. We are lucky to have access to this document, and I believe it has made a great addition to the CMC reading list. In reading “The Art of War” written by Sun Tzu, I have learned many things, along with the importance of some things I already knew. Such as: the strength of military discipline; the ability to exploit the enemy’s weakness, (physically, mentally and emotionally) and masking our own as well. Also, the employment of strategy and knowing when, and how to use physical force. In this essay I will elaborate on these things among other key points I found while reading this book.

One of the first things that stood out to me while reading this book is the importance of discipline. The book shares a story of a General Ts’ao, who lived around the early second century A.D. The General was such a strict disciplinarian that once he condemned himself for merely allowing his horse to stray off of the beaten path into a field of corn. Instead of his men beheading him, his lieutenants persuaded him to satisfy his sense of justice by cutting off his hair. This story, however extreme, goes to show how dedicated soldiers were in the early centuries, because they believed that if they had been dishonored, or if their integrity had been put into question, that it would bring shame upon not only themselves but their families as well.

“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.” This saying works all the way up and down the chain, from military generals planning an invasion, to NCO’s making preparations during a PTP cycle, if you know your marines,...
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