중앙데일리

[FOUNTAIN]The art of war

Mar 28,2003
The history of mankind is often called the history of war. The time lines of Korean history and world history are mostly marked with wars. It is hard to deny that scientific technology and civilization developed by going through wars. And yet, no war was ever good. Commoners have to endure their leaders’ stupidity. The Iraq war is no exception. Innocent civilians are dying in a war they never wanted.
To watch the 24-hour live broadcast of the war in Iraq is to understand that today’s war is no different from past wars. The cruelty of war has remained unchanged, as have the strategies. Ancient China’s “Art of War: 36 Strategies” can offer valid insights into this war.
The U.S.-British allied forces bombed Baghdad first. That is Strategy 18: Defeat the enemy by capturing their leader. The coalition forces concentrated their attacks on the Iraqi president, Saddam Hussein, at the beginning of the war.
The United States tried very hard before it started the war to apply Strategy 3: Kill with a borrowed knife. The United States expected many other countries to support and dispatch troops, but only Britain lent its sword.
The so-called “axis of evil” countries, which include North Korea and Iran, are worrying themselves sick because of the Iraq war, and that worry is similar to Strategy 13: Disturb the snake by hitting the grass.
Iraq has not sat with folded arms. It attacked the supply routes of the allied forces in the desert. That is the Strategy 19: Remove the firewood under the cooking pot. The world’s media falsely reported that Basra fell. The Iraqi tactic damaged the allied forces. That is Strategy 32: Empty the city.
The most impressive Iraqi tactic is definitely Strategy 36, which said: Run away to fight another day. Although there are different reports on how many Iraqi soldiers have fled, the allied forces are reportedly having difficulty handling so many Iraqi prisoners of war.
But what good will these strategies do? A young Iraqi girl was wounded by the bombing without knowing what had happened or why. As she lay in a hospital, we felt deep sorrow watching her. Suddenly the child said, “Long Live Saddam!” Her words left us depressed.
That is why Sun Wu, the best military strategist in the world, wrote this: “The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting."


by Yoo Jae-sik

The writer is the Berlin correspondent of the JoongAng Ilbo.


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