Sun Tzu

All posts tagged Sun Tzu

[In this snippet from the book, Tuttle takes the time to learn from the enemy’s ancient teachers.]

In preparation for my adventure in the Pacific, I took to reading up on the Japanese and what it is they read. In Japan they look at ancient Chinese texts the way we read ancient Greek plays, history, and philosophy. One of the oldest texts on the topic at hand is a short treatise called The Art of War, by a fellow they call Sun Tzu. At the time of writing, Chinese lords had been fighting back and forth for territory and prestige for over a thousand years. They’d made a regular business out of it, and Sun Tzu had plenty of examples to work from.

One section caught my eye, about fighting far away from home and how enormously expensive it is. Sun Tzu even listed tables of expenses and his commentators gave logarithmic ratios of how it’s a hundred times more expensive to fight ten times farther away. When there are chariots carrying nothing but spare parts for other chariots, and food for the chariot drivers, and food for the troops guarding the chariots, only a fraction of the supplies that leave home will actually get to the army in the field. Fighting far away from home is terribly expensive.

In this war we literally could not be fighting any farther from home, unless the Japs have a base on Mars and we decide to attack that too.