Author£ºSUN ZI    From£ºCRSSAW:Pan Jiabin and Liu Ruixiang


¡¡¡¡SUN ZI said:  Generally, operations of war involve one thousand swift chariots, one thousand heavy chariots and one hundred thousand mailed troops with the transportation of provisions for them over a thousand li. Thus the expenditure at home and in the field, the stipends for the entertainment of state guests and  diplomatic. envoys, the cost of materials such as glue and lacquer and the expense for care and maintenance of chariots and armour, will amount to one thousand pieces of gold a day.  An army of one hundred thousand men can be raised only when this money is in hand.

    In directing such an enormous army,  a speedy victory is the main object.  If the war is long delayed, the men's weapons will he blunted and their ardour will be dampened.  If the army attacks cities, their strength will be exhausted.  Again, if the army engages in protracted campaigns, the resources of the state will not suffice. Now, when your weapons are blunted,  your ardour dampened, your strength exhausted and your treasure spent, neighbouring rulers will take advantage of your distress to act.  In this case, no man, however wise,  is able to avert the disastrous  consequences that ensue.  Thus, while we have heard of stupid haste in war, we have not yet seen a clever operation that was prolonged.  There has never been a case in which a prolonged war has benefited a country. Therefore, only those who understand the dangers inherent in employing troops know how to conduct war in the most profitable way.

    Those adept in employing troops do not require a second levy of conscipts or more than two provisionings.  They carry  military supplies from the homeland and make up for their provisions relying on the enemy.  Thus the army will be always plentifully provided.

    When a country is impoverished by military operations, it ia because an army far from its homeland needs a distant transportation.  Being forced to carry supplies for great  distances renders the people destitute.  On the other hand, the local price of commodities normally rises high in the area near the military camps. The rising prices cause fmnancial resources to be drained away. When the resources are exhausted, the peasantry will be  afflicted with urgent exactions. With this depletion of strength and exhaustion of wealth, every household in the homeland is left empty. Seven-tenths of the people's income is dissipated and six-tenths of the government's revenue is paid for broken-down chariots, wornout horses, armour and helmets, arrows and crossbows, halbreds and bucklers,  spears and body shields, draught oxen and heavy wagons.

    Hence a wise general is sure of getting provisions from the enemy countries.  One zhong of grains obtained from local area is equal to twenty zhong shipped from the home country; one dan of fodder in the conquered area is equal to twenty dan from the  domestic store.

    Now in order to kill the enemy,  our men must be roused to anger; to gain enemy's property, our men must be rewarded with war trophies.  Accordingly, in chariot battle, when more than ten chariots have been captured,  those who took the enemy chariot first should be rewarded.  Then,  the enemy's flags and banners should be replaced with ours; the captured chariots mixed with ours and mounted by our men.  The prisoners of wax should be kindly treated and'kept.  This is called 'becoming stronger in the course of defeating the enemy'.

    Hence, what is valued in war is a quick victory, not prolonged operations. And therefore the general who understands war is the controller of his people's fate and the guarantor of the security of the nation.