Sun Tzu’s The Art of War: Chapter 13 The Use of Spies

In the final chapter Sun Tzu tells how spies – those that provide data and insight about the capabilities of the opposition – are to be used to win battles.  Spies can be used to avoid battles that do not need to be fought, or as called out in Attack by Stratagem:

“3. Thus the highest form of generalship is to baulk the enemy’s plans; the next best is to prevent the junction of the enemy’s forces; the next in order is to attack the enemy’s army in the field; and the worst policy of all is to besiege walled cities.”

Best Quote(s)

“6 Knowledge of the enemy’s dispositions can only be obtained from other men.”

There is no artificial method of knowing the disposition of an enemy.  Reports do not cut it.  Impressions do not cut it.  Analysis does not cut it – dispositions can only be known by on the ground analysis.

“27 Hence it is only the enlightened ruler and the wise general who will use the highest intelligence of the army for purposes of spying, and thereby they achieve great results.”

If the goal of war is to win battles that must be fought – then use of data and intelligence to prevent battles from being fought is a noble purpose.

Page by Page, Screen by Screen

50

“6 Knowledge of the enemy’s dispositions can only be obtained from other men.”

“7 Hence the use of spies, of whom there are five classes: (1) Local spies; (2) inward spies; (3) converted spies; (4) doomed spies; (5) surviving spies.”

51

“15 Spies cannot be usefully employed without a certain intuitive sagacity.”

52

“21 The enemy’s spies who have come to spy on us must be sought out, tempted with bribes, led away and comfortably housed. Thus they will become converted spies and available for our service.”

53

“27 Hence it is only the enlightened ruler and the wise general who will use the highest intelligence of the army for purposes of spying, and thereby they achieve great results.”

About flybrand1976

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1 Response to Sun Tzu’s The Art of War: Chapter 13 The Use of Spies

  1. Pingback: Sun Tzu: Enumeration and Concepts | Fred Lybrand

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