The Art of War was not written for common man

I’d like to address Scott Ritter’s recent Alternet post where he criticises the anti-war movement for not schooling itself in the tactics of those who are pro-war. Among his recommedations were that the movement adopt a centralized command structure, which he was volunteering to advise.
My advice? The anti-war movement comes from the grassroots, by definition without central control. Neither Sun Tzu, nor other strategists wrote for the grassroots. Waging war was never in the interest of the common man. Sun Tzu’s advice was for leaders.

Would you say a grassroots mistrust of leadership might be warranted right now? We are betrayed by our politicians, almost to the last one. Now is not the time to cede authority to leadership, much less to send them to a Ritter seminar.

We have to hope that the anti-war movement soon develops a few leaders, or that current leaders grow some moral fortitude of their own. In the meantime can we do anything better than create a climate to foster ethical leadership?

To criticize the anti-war movement for not adopting the fighting strategies of its opponents is like criticizing Democrats for not raising money like Republicans. Where are the Democrats going to find greedy corporate felons who want to invest in social reform? Why should anti-war activists seek to dupe the American public about reasons to oppose war?

I say: stay the course, follow whatever inventive strategy will catch the public’s interest, appeal to your neighbor’s shared sense of humanity. Be it a pet project or an ego trip, do not shy from it, do it. Don’t let nay-sayers tell you that an expert will do a better job. Stopping war has always been an expertise unique to common, moral men.

(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)
Eric Verlo

About Eric Verlo

On sabbatical
This entry was posted in Activism, News and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to The Art of War was not written for common man

  1. Avatar Marc says:

    You wrote “Neither Sun Tzu, nor other strategists wrote for the grassroots.” I must differ and ask, why did you chose to overlook “A BOOK OF FIVE RINGS” by Miyamoto Musashi? Written in the mid-17th century, it is his reflective writing of many years of the personal study of strategy. And an excellent reading (depending on translation) on Zen. Miyamoto truly wrote for the individual, not leaders.

    My reading of Ritter’s opinion – “The anti-war movement, first and foremost, needs to develop a laser-like focus on being nothing more or less than anti-war” is not for a particular way, but that we should adopt strategies that will cause the anti-war movement to prevail. Which is the truly moral decision. It makes no difference who we learn from, only that we put the lessons to moral purpose. Ways of strategy are not in themselves immoral. But discarding a strategy and choosing not to prevail against this war, because of a prejudice against a teacher or way may be.

    Ritter’s recommendation for leadership seems very similar to your statement “We have to hope that the anti-war movement soon develops a few leaders “. Ritter’s approach to do what needs to be done to win, does not exclude other successful strategies. They are not mutually exclusive. And also seems to be similar to your closing statement, “stay the course, follow whatever inventive strategy will catch the public’s interest”. At the essence you and Ritter seem to have many shared points of view regarding the anti-war movement, so why the resistance to Scott Ritter’s opinion piece?

  2. Avatar Eric says:

    I may have been a little general in my condemnation of Ritter’s advice. Mostly I was reacting to his condescending description of the scattered anti-war efforts.

    My experience with MoveOn has shown me that although centralized strategizing may feel promising, it has yet to earn anyone’s trust. Certainly established leadership everywhere has proven itself false.

    I completely agree that our focus needs to be entirely against the war. The injustice of war is message enough. I do not think we need to study any other strategy than persistence.

  3. Avatar Marc says:

    The central teaching of the “Book Of Five Rings” is employ any strategy which allows you to win. Not to be stuck with one strategy, which can be known by your adversaries and easily countered, but to use all strategies which will allow you to prevail.

    To chose to use only one strategy, “persistence”, to counter the war in Iraq with its death, plunder and corruption, rather than employing all strategies to try to bring the war to an end as soon as possible is an immoral choice.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *