Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War”: part 1 of 10

Around 500 BC, the King of Wu summons Sun Tzu, one of the greatest military minds in history, to save his kingdom from a more powerful enemy.

Sun Tzu was a warrior, a philosopher and the author of The Art of War, a book still studied—for example at West Point—more than two-thousand years after it was written.

Sun Tzu is important because he had a cohesive, holistic philosophy on strategy.  Sun Tzu tells the King of Wu he can defeat the enemy with a smaller army.  Doubting him, the king challenges Sun Tzu to turn the palace concubines into a fighting force and Sun Tzu accepts.

Sun Tzu shows the concubines what to do, selects the best two students and puts them in charge of the others.  When Sun Tzu orders the exercise to begin, the woman laugh.

He tries again but the concubines laugh again.

Sun Tzu says, “If instructions are not clear and commands not explicit, it is the fault of the general.  But if the orders are clear, and my orders are clear, it is the fault of the subordinate officers.”

Without warning, Sun Tzu beheads the two concubines he had selected to lead the others.  To Sun Tzu, war is a matter of life and death. This is the key principal of his teachings.  Once understood, everyone from the general to the solider will be motivated to win.

While the bodies of the first two concubines are still warm, Sun Tzu appoints two new concubines to lead the others. This time the concubines follow his orders without hesitation. The king of Wu is convinced and  appoints Sun Tzu commander of the Wu army.

Sun Tzu now must train an army of 30 thousand troops to fight a force ten times larger.

Continued on August 21, 2013 in Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War”: Part 2

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Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran.

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Know your enemy: a brief history or Iraq

Sun Tzu wrote that “not only must we have worthy goals to be successful, but our methods, the last of his five factors, must be honorable as well. … Sun Tzu teaches that leaders must be honest.” Source: Frugal Marketing.com

How honest was America’s political leaders when it came to starting the war in Iraq?

“Then-Secretary of State Colin Powell presented the Bush White House’s case on Iraq’s alleged biological-and chemical-weapon stockpile in a dramatic Feb. 5, 2003, speech to the U.N. Security Council.” Source: USA Today.com

More than a decade after President George W. Bush started the war in Iraq, those weapons of mass destruction have not been found and no one is looking for them because they didn’t exist.

Instead of going into detail starting with 3500 BC when Mesopotamia became the world’s first known civilization in South Eastern Iraq, I want to focus on several elements that are eerily similar to Afghanistan.

332 BC: Alexander the Great conquers the Persians and the area we know of as Iraq becomes part of his empire.

In 633 AD, Muslims conquer the region that is Iraq today.

Mongol invaders led by the grandson of Genghis Khan destroy the Muslim Arab Empire that includes Iraq in 1258 AD.

The British—militarily and politically—become involved in the region in the 19th century to protect their trade routes with India and the East. In 1917, British troops occupy Baghdad and in 1920, the League of Nations gives Great Britain a mandate to rule over Mesopotamia. The British then set up King Faisal the 1st as the monarch of Iraq.

Then in 1932, Iraq becomes Independent and during World War II—wanting to get rid of British influence in the region—allies with Germany, Italy and Japan.

Great Britain defeats Iraq in 1941. In 1945, Iraq helps form the Arab League that declares war on the newly formed nation of Israel.

King Faisal the 2nd becomes Iraq’s leader in 1953. But in 1958, there is a military coup and the monarchy is destroyed. In 1979, Saddam Hussein becomes the Iraqi President and in 1980, Iraq invades Iran starting the Iran-Iraq war. In 1990, Iraq invades Kuwait. In 1991, a coalition of 39 countries starts the First Persian Gulf War and liberates Kuwait. Iraq accepts a ceasefire. Source: Dates and Events.org: Iraq-Timeline

In July 2012, Con Coughlin writing for the Uk’s Telegraph reported, “The modern-day states of Iraq and Syria once formed the ancient kingdom of Mesopotamia. They share the same tribal culture, heritage and a lengthy border.”

What does that tribal culture look like?

The Council on Foreign Relations says, “There is … a consensus among experts that tribal traditions remain culturally important to many Iraqis. … Tribes are regional power-holders, and tribal sheiks are often respected members of Iraqi communities.

“Among Iraq’s Shiite majority, [Islamic} religious leaders appear to be a more potent political force, … That said, religious leaders … appear to derive some of their strength from tribal connections. …

“Some tribes pre-date Mohammed, the prophet of Islam … For centuries, the tribes were the primary form of social organization through much of the region. While their influence has diminished through the years, the Ottoman Turks, the British, the British-backed monarchy, and the Baathists all sought their cooperation.”

Do you see the similarities between Iraq and Afghanistan? Both regions were conquered by Alexander the Great and ruled over by the Greeks. Both have tribal influences that have been around for centuries.

The Islamic religion swept over both regions about the same time. The Mongols rolled over both regions. Then the British arrived followed by the American military.

You may have noticed that there has been no mention of Russia yet, but starting July of 1979, Saddam Hussein “used the Soviets to support his program of military expansion and to strengthen his regime. Baghdad acquired arms and advisors from the USSR; the KGB and East German Stasi also trained the Baathist secret police apparatus.”  After Saddam argued with the Soviets, France became Iraq’s second biggest source of military aid after the USSR as Iraq’s dictator-for-life played the West off against the Communists in Russia. Source: History in Focus: The Cold War

Remember how the Mujahedeen were supported by the United States and some of her allies as they fought against the Soviets in Afghanistan. Later, the same Islamic, Mujahedeen warriors that the US trained and supplied with weapons become the Taliban and Al Qaeda.

Do you think it is possible to build a democratic nation in Iraq where all of the different religious, political and tribal factions will learn to cooperate sort of like the very honest and moral [tongue-in-cheek] Republican and Democratic Parties do in the United States?

Continued on August 16, 2013 in A brief history of Vietnam or start with Know your enemy: a brief history or Afghanistan

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran.

His latest novel is the award winning suspense-thriller Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was fighting for the other side.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper left-hand column and click on “FOLLOW!”

Returning from Combat with PTSD – the impact on family

 

I returned from Vietnam late December of 1966, and I did not talk about the war for years. Instead I kept it locked in my head, but I slept with a K-BAR that had a seven-inch blade. The reason I did not sleep with a pistol was because I feared shooting my wife.

I drank too much. I had an explosive temper. When the anger overwhelmed, instead of hitting her, I punched holes in the drywall and drank more.

After falling asleep at night, the flashbacks were vivid, violent and real. There were times that I carried a loaded rifle through the house checking the doors and windows to secure the perimeter. Sometimes I still do. All it takes is an unexpected noise and out comes a loaded weapon and I cannot rest until I know my family is safe.

After the first divorce in 1979, I stopped drinking and fight to contain the anger, and—at the time—most of us still didn’t know what PTSD was. It helped that I started writing about my time in Vietnam in the MFA program I started at Cal Poly, Pomona causing me to open up and talk about what I experienced in the war.

There is no cure for PTSD, but with understanding, the afflicted might be able to manage the trauma better and avoid destroying families and lives. For sure, drugs and alcohol are a bad mix with PTSD.

The impact of PTSD on families is shocking. “Research that has examined the effect of PTSD on intimate relationships reveals severe and pervasive negative effects on marital adjustment, general family functioning, and the mental health of partners.

“These negative effects result in such problems as compromised parenting, family violence, divorce, sexual problems, aggression and caregiver burden.

“About 38% of Vietnam veteran marriages failed within six months of returning from the war. The overall divorce rate among Vietnam veterans is significantly higher than the general population.” Source: ptsd.va.gov


Impact on family

The divorce rate among Afghanistan, Iraq War Vets increased 42% throughout the wars.

A July 2010 report found that child abuse in Army families has been three times higher in homes from which a parent was deployed, for example. From 2001 through 2011, alcohol use associated with physical domestic violence in Army families increased by 54%, and with child abuse by 40%. Source: cost of war.org

In addition, Expedition Balance.org says, “It’s harder for veterans with PTSD to hold jobs.

“The VA reported that more than 130,000 veterans were homeless on any night.

“Studies show that families where a parent has PTSD are characterized by increased anxiety, unhappiness, marital problems and behavioral problems among children.

“People with PTSD are more likely to have problems with drugs and/or alcohol.

“People who suffer from PTSD and depression are significantly more like to take their own lives.

“Female veterans have a higher rate of military sexual trauma. They have a higher rate of divorce and homelessness as well.”

The Huffington Post reported that “Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans who struggle with the anger and emotional outbursts of combat trauma are more than twice as likely as other veterans to be arrested for criminal misbehavior … Veterans ‘who perceive that they have control over their future and who have greater psychological resilience’ are better able to refrain from violence, the study said.”

For me, managing the PTSD—so it does not manage me—is a full time job that is not always successful.

In 2011, there were 21.5 million combat veterans in the United States. Source: American Veterans by the Numbers (that is the cost of America’s endless wars)

Discover A Prisoner of War for Life

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse, a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran,
is the award winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition].

His latest novel is Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was fighting for the other side.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper left-hand column and click on “FOLLOW!”

Censored but not Silenced: Part 3/5

The “Blood for Oil” theory that some claim was the main reason for the Iraq War was not the only reason behind the war, and I pointed this out to Ms. Lenarz in the allegedly censored comment.

There are at least two other major factors that have nothing to do with oil.

First, President G. W. Bush’s White House was dominated by neoconservatives who had (and still have) an agenda to export American style democracy by using the U.S. military—better known as building democracies using America’s bullets and bombs to force countries to become democracies.

A post written by Jacob Heilbrunn and published by The National Interest says, “It seems, in other words, that neocons in the administration (of G. W. Bush) were arguing that what the CIA was warning about was a bunch of hooey. They had their own pet cause—nailing Saddam Hussein, creating a democracy in Iraq …”

Second, on Jan. 17, 1961, President Dwight Eisenhower gave the nation a dire warning about what he described as a threat to democratic government. He called it the military-industrial complex, a formidable union of defense contractors and the armed forces. Source: NPR.org

And today, the military-industrial complex in the United States is a growth industry that depends on war to thrive and continue to make profits. In the allegedly censored comment, I pointed out to Ms. Lenarz that the United States Defense budget is the largest in the world. Without war, there is no excuse for this huge expense. Total global defense spending is $1.738 Trillion and America’s share of that is $711 Billion or almost 41% of the global total.

In addition, I wrote that the private sector weapons industry in the United States is the largest in the world.  This sector sells weapons to other countries and/or political organization—including brutal dictators—and controls 41% of the global market.  Second place goes to China with 8.2% of the weapons market, and Russia is in third place with 4.1% of sales. The United Kingdom, France and Germany combined have 10% of the global weapons market.

Therefore, I pointed out to Ms. Lenarz, there are three different private sector/political organizations that may have lobbied for a war in Iraq:

1. The oil industry

2. neoconservatives (with many working in the G.W. Bush White House) wanting to build democracies with America’s troops, bullets and bombs

3. the weapons industry

In the next post, I want to focus on the The Institute for Middle Eastern Democracy.

Continued on March 6, 2013 in Censored but not Silenced: Part 4 or return to Part 2

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse, a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran, is the award winning author of The Concubine Saga.

His latest novel is Running with the Enemy, a suspense thriller. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to hate and kill Americans.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper right-hand column and click on “Follow”.

Censored but not Silenced: Part 2/5

What is it that I allege was censored by Julie Lenarz?

The comment I’m talking about was a response that Ms. Lenarz made to a comment made by pabilos30 who said (February 21, 2013 at 7:35 am) : “Are you blind, the only (main) reason the US went into Iraq in the first place was to get leverage on the most valuable energy resource on this planet – Crude Oil. Sure Halliburton who CEO from 1995 – 2001 was none other than Dick Cheney. Halliburton oil services are now the main facilitator of Iraqi crude, of the 2.9 mbl/d total production over 70% of this is now exported to the US….. Now tell me the Bush didn’t go in for the oil!!!”

Julie replied to pabilos30 (February 21, 2013 at 12:56 pm): “Drop the ad hominem and people might start taking you seriously. Also, the “blood for oil” conspiracy is dead. http://instmed.org/2013/01/06/iraq-the-blood-for-oil-conspiracy-is-dead-2/

My allegedly censored comment pointed out that pabilos30 did not use an “ad hominem” when he or she said “Are you blind”. My thinking is that “Are you blind” is a question/interrogative and not a logical fallacy/ad hominem, a personal attack on Ms. Lenarz.

In fact, I do disagree with some of pabilos30’s claims. After all, I don’t think Ms. Lenarz is blind. I just think she is wrong. If I were to say, “You are so wrong”, before I offered my evidence, would she accuse me of an ad hominem attack?

I then suggested that Ms. Lenarz did not understand what a logical fallacy was and referred her to three books and a Website to learn.

  • The Structure of Argument by Rottenberg
  • Informal Logic by Walton
  • A Concise Introduction to Logic by Hurley
  • Professor Kevin deLaplante’s Critical Thinker Academy

Second, I focused on Ms. Lenarz’s “blood for oil” conspiracy is dead defense and pointed out that the support she offered for this claim was written by her and posted on the Website/Blog of the The Institute for Middle Eastern Democracy where she is a fellow.

Lenarz’s argument in that IMED post was that “invading Iraq was an extremely expensive undertaking for the US-led coalition with no guarantee or prospect of considerable profitability.”

I pointed out that the cost of the Iraq War was not paid for by any oil companies. I said that there is no tax in the United States to fund its wars. Wars are fought with mostly borrowed money that ends up growing the National Debt and that debt—if it is ever paid off—will be paid by U.S. tax payers and not by oil companies.

And the American government is not in the business of making a profit, but oil companies are, and the oil reserves in Iraq are a known commodity. It isn’t a question of if they are there but that they are there proving that the Iraq War that the US tax payers will eventually pay for will benefit oil companies in the long run.

After all, oil reserves in Iraq will be the largest in the world according to recent geological surveys and seismic data. The Iraqi government has stated that new exploration showed Iraq has the world’s largest proven oil reserves, with more than 350 billion barrels. Officially confirmed reserves rank Iraq as third largest in the world at approximately 143 billion barrels. Henry Thompson at Aubrn.edu says “Selling this oil at an average profit of $75 per barrel for the next 100 years will generate $15,000 trillion income.”

And the Iraq War Cost the United States about one trillion dollars. There is a HUGE difference between one trillion and $15,000 trillion.

Continued on March 5, 2013 in Censored but not Silenced: Part 3 or return to Part 1

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse, a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran, is the award winning author of The Concubine Saga.

His latest novel is Running with the Enemy, a suspense thriller. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to hate and kill Americans.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper right-hand column and click on “Follow”.

Censored but not Silenced: Part 1/5

I think I have been a victim of censorship. Am I wrong?

As much as we may claim to value the freedom to express our opinions, censorship in Western democracies does exist in one form or another. For example, it exists in the private/corporate sector; it exists in the public schools, and it exists among citizens who host Websites and Blogs, etc.

Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index 2011/2012 ranked Finland as number one for freedom of expression compared to 179 countries.

The United States, billed by many of its citizens as the land-of-the-free and a country that prides its freedom of expression while criticizing other countries such as China, is ranked 47th, and the U.S. has more people in prison than any country on the planet. In some parts of the United States, you can actually go to prison for life if you only steal a piece of candy or swipe a slice of pizza.

Reporters Without Borders says, “The United States (47th) also owed its fall of 27 places to the many arrests of journalist covering Occupy Wall Street protests.”

In fact, there is a long history of censorship in the United States. For one example of several, Civil Liberties says that in 1798, President John Adams made it illegal to criticize a government official without backing up one’s criticisms in court. Twenty-five people were arrested under that law.

Civil Liberties says, “The right to free speech is a longstanding U.S. tradition, but actually respecting the right to free speech is not.”

“A recent report from Google indicates that even western democracies have been trying to censor politically conflicting websites. Countries like Spain, Poland and even Canada have all submitted requests for the removal of content from the search engine.” Source: Business Insider

Back to the comment where I alleged that I was censored on another Blog that has a link to a nonprofit political organization with an alleged hidden political agenda.

I can only guess that I may have been allegedly censored because my position on the issue being discussed was stronger than the host’s opinion. Julie Lenarz, the host, specializes in Foreign and Security Policy and holds a BA in European Politics and an MA in Conflict Studies from the London School of Economics.

She is also an adviser on Foreign and Security Policy, a fellow at The Institute for Middle Eastern Democracy and current affairs blogger.

The Commentator.com says: “Julia Lenarz is author of the popular blog, Julie’s Think Tank.”

Of course, the claim that Julie’s Think Tank is a popular Blog is questionable, because its Alexa rank was almost 5.5 million with only 38 sites linked in (on February 22, 2013).  There was no data for traffic rank in the UK or US.

But what is popular to one individual may not be popular to another and everyone has a right to an opinion even if he or she may be wrong.

This we do know—there is big benefit to censor the opposition, because then you control the conversation and may advance your own political agenda.

In the post in question on Julie’s Think Tank, Lenarz’s position on the Iraq War was clear: She supported the war in the beginning and still feels it was moral and just to oust Saddam and his brutal regime. I left several comments for this post, and then wrote about this issue in a three-part series on one of my Blogs in a post titled The Noble Nightmare.

Before I share my reasons why I think Lenarz allegedly censored one of my comments, I want to focus on what it means to be a fellow in a political, nonprofit organization.

A fellow can be a participant in a professional development program run by a nonprofit. This type of fellowship is usually a short-term work opportunity (1–2 years) for professionals who already possess some level of academic or professional expertise that will serve the nonprofit’s mission. Fellows are often given a stipend as well as professional experience and leadership training.

A key phrase to remember from that description is: “that will serve the nonprofit’s mission”, and after some research, I now question what the real mission is for the Institute for Middle Eastern Democracy, but more on that later.

Continued on March 4, 2013 in Censored but not Silenced: Part 2

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse, a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran, is the award winning author of The Concubine Saga.

His latest novel is Running with the Enemy, a suspense thriller. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to hate and kill Americans.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper right-hand column and click on “Follow”.

The Noble Nightmare: Part 1/3

After reading a post on the Iraq War by an individual who thinks the war was moral and just, I left a comment on that Blog, and then decided to continue the discussion here.

The author of that post is an advisor on Foreign and Security Policy and a fellow at The Institute for Middle Eastern Democracy. Julie holds a BA in European Politics and an MSc in Conflict Studies (Comparative Politics) from the London School of Economics. Source: Julie’s Think Tank.com

Julie says, “It is important to learn the right lessons from Iraq.”

But I say, “Why do we have to learn from the Iraq experience when we have thousands of years of history to learn from?”

Julie clearly says that she “strongly supported the invasion of Iraq in 2003 and still maintains the same position.”

And I’m one of those people that changed his mind after the truth about WMDs came out revealing that it was another fabrication used as an excuse to start what many in America still consider to be a just and noble war.

Of course going to war to remove a dictator considered a monster such as Saddam could be seen as a moral and just cause, but why do so many Americans see the United States as the global force to do that and then not continue this in other countries that were listed by The Atlantic Wire as ruled by dictators?

Continued on February 25, 2013 in The Noble Nightmare: Part 2

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse, a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran, is the award winning author of The Concubine Saga.

His latest novel is Running with the Enemy, a suspense thriller. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to hate and kill Americans.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper right-hand column and click on “Follow”.

One Never Forgets

It has been forty-six years since I fought in Vietnam, and watching two movies rebooted my PTSD interrupting my sleep pattern. For years, I usually wake at least once a night and listen. However, since watching the movies, I wake every hour and listen to the night sounds.

In Brothers, one of the two brothers, a captain in the US Marines, goes to Afghanistan on his fourth tour of duty and becomes a tortured and abused POW.  After he is liberated and his captors killed, he returns home suffering from severe PTSD trauma. Tobey Maguire plays Marine Captain Sam Cahill and does a convincing job playing a veteran that is severely damaged by PTSD symptoms.

Watching Maguire act his part reminded me of my first decade back from Vietnam when I drank too much and often woke once or twice and carried a loaded weapon around the house checking the doors and windows.  More than once, when overwhelmed by a burst of anger, I punched holes in walls with fists.

The anger comes fast—one moment you are calm as a rusty doorknob and an instant later an exploding fragmentation grenade.

In the Valley of Elah, Tommy Lee Jones plays a father, who was also a Vietnam combat veteran, searching for answers to explain his son’s death soon after returning from Iraq. In this film, we see how war strips young men of their humanity—that thin veneer that comes with so-called civilization.

From Brothers, I was reminded of the homeless Vietnam veteran I met in an alley in Pasadena, California one early morning. He had been a prisoner of war and similar to the character Tobey Maguire plays, was severely traumatized with PTSD symptoms.

The VA rated the homeless vet I met in that Pasadena alley as 100% disabled by PTSD possibly explaining why he was homeless—not because he could not afford an apartment.  The disability from the VA was more than enough to support him.  However, most of that money went for drugs and booze for him and his homeless buddies.

Then there was another vivid image of a Vietcong POW being tortured by South Korean troops during a field operation I was on.  The South Koreans hung that Vietnamese POW by his heels from a tree limb and pealed the skin off his body while he lived.

In the Valley of Elah reminded me of an ambush where a team of Marines I was a member of went out in a heavy rain at sunset and after an hour or so of slogging through the gloomy downpour, we stopped in a rice paddy with water to our necks and stayed there for more than an hour waiting for complete darkness before moving into position. We shared that rice paddy with a very large king cobra.

In the Marines, one does not question orders—we do or die—so we stayed in that paddy knowing a king cobra was in the water with us.

Both of these films are dramatic examples of what war does to young men and their families.

Some combat veterans avoid seeing films such as these two. However, I do not. I do not want to return to that time where I avoided talking and thinking of my part in the Vietnam War, because at night when we struggle to sleep there is no escape. We cannot hide from the monster that came home with us living inside our skin as if it were an unwanted parasite.

Discover A Prisoner of War for Life

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse, a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran, is the award winning author of The Concubine Saga.

His latest novel is Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to hate and kill Americans.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper right-hand column and click on “Sign me up!”

Trained Killers

That was me in 1966, a trained killer. That was what I was trained to do at MCRD—to kill the enemy and not fight him—but to destroy him or her.

When I read the title, The Threat From Within, Some soldiers become murderers by Jim Frederick, Time Magazine, February 22, 2010; my first thought was that this issue was more complicated than that.

I read the piece, and then looked up the author’s bio. I saw no mention that Frederick served in the military or in a combat zone as a member of the military. No matter how many military men he interviewed or how much research he did, Frederick will never understand what it is like to be the hunter or hunted in a combat zone and what it does to that person.

The Threat From Within never mentions PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). I have a PTSD VA rated disability from serving in combat in Vietnam in 1966. When I was in Vietnam, I knew men who did horrible things probably driven by PTSD.  Current research shows that PTSD causes permanent brain damage. I’m sure that the reason the military handles incidents that would appear to be crimes in a civilian world the way they do, is because the officers know the horrible blood price that comes with winning a war and many people like Jim Frederick do not.

Frederick indicates that the military should find a way to root out these potentially dangerous individuals so these types of killings do not take place. It’s bad enough that our soldiers are put in harm’s way with rules that do not allow them to shoot unless they see the shooter with weapon in hand. They did that to us in Vietnam and America lost that war.

After years of war in Iraq and Afghanistan and a military stretched to the breaking point, if every solider damaged by PTSD were pulled from combat, there wouldn’t be enough troops left to accomplish winning a war America cannot afford to lose. Consider that Al-Qaida and their allies have sworn the utter and total destruction of our entire civilization.

In war, the military has a job to do. If that means sending partially damage troops into combat still capable of fighting and killing, that’s what’s done.

From history, we learned that great military minds like Alexander the Great understood that war is hell and must be fought as if the battlefield is hell itself. America fought like that in World War II and won. In a war zone, there are no innocent people no matter what the media prints or says and only ignorant people and fools support putting limits on our troops doing their job. Even in the Korean conflict, the harsh reality of war existed.

If the rules that our troops fight under today existed during World War II, America would have lost and eventually been split between Japan and Germany.  If you lived in the West, the flag to salute would have a rising sun and in the east a swastika.

In my opinion—Jim Frederick and people that think like him are ignorant fools. Let them have their say and politely ignore them.

Discover The Public Image of PTSD and the Vietnam Veteran

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran.

His latest novel is the award winning suspense-thriller Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was fighting for the other side.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper left-hand column and click on “FOLLOW!”

Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War”: Viewed as a Single Page

In this post, I have combined the ten-part series on Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War” in one post and added more content.

The reason for learning about Sun Tzu’s The Art of War has to do with a study by The Pew Research Center, which reported that one in three Iraq and Afghanistan veterans of the post-9/11 military see these wars as a waste.

And NPR’s Jackie Northam reported as the wars drag on, interest among Americans has dropped from 90 percent supporting the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan before the war started to 25 percent today.

Northam quotes Andrew Kohut, president of the Pew Research Center. “The public soured on the decision to go to war in Iraq by 2004, when not only were there no weapons of mass destruction (WMD) found, but all of a sudden, the cost of that war began to increase, [and] casualties began to be rather substantial.”

In addition, Fair Game (2010), a movie of CIA operative Valerie Plame and her husband, who wrote a 2003 New York Times op-ed piece on the topic of WMD in Iraq, alleged that the Bush administration had manipulated intelligence about weapons of mass destruction to justify the invasion of Iraq—an accusation of fraud in the White House.

According to the wisdom of Sun Tzu, these three points are enough to indicate a “high” possibility of failure by the United States.

So, who better to turn to than Sun Tzu to see if the goals of these wars are possible to achieve.

It is time to reexamine the master that West Point cadets study. Sun Tzu dates to China’s Warring States Period (476 – 221 BC). Traditional accounts place him in the Spring and Autumn Period of China as a military general serving under King Helu of Wu (544-496 BC).

You have to be good to still be taken seriously about 2500 years after your death.


There are three key principals to The Art of War.

1. Know your enemy and know yourself — understanding your opponent is crucial to victory.

2. Sun Tzu prizes the general who can outwit instead of outfight his opponent — to subdue the enemy without fighting is the height of skill.

3. Avoid what is strong. Attack what is weak.

In the case of President George W. Bush, when he went to war in Iraq and Afghanistan, it is clear that he did not know his enemy (or much at all about the culture and politics of the Middle East and of Islam).

Bush also resorted to subduing his enemy with force instead of outwitting him—as if President Bush was capable of outwitting Al-Qaeda, since finding the weakness of an organization that is like smoke would be a challenge to any president.

As for Sun Tzu, around 500 BC, the King of Wu summons him, one of the greatest military minds in history, to save his kingdom from a more powerful enemy.

Sun Tzu was a warrior and a philosopher. He was important because he had a cohesive, holistic philosophy on strategy.

Sun Tzu tells the King of Wu he can defeat the enemy with a smaller army. Doubting him, the king challenges Sun Tzu to turn the palace concubines into a fighting force and Sun Tzu accepts.

Sun Tzu shows the concubines what to do, selects the best two students and puts them in charge of the others. When Sun Tzu orders the exercise to begin, the woman laugh.

He tries again but the concubines laugh again.

Sun Tzu says, “If instructions are not clear and commands not explicit, it is the fault of the general. But if the orders are clear, and my orders are clear, it is the fault of the subordinate officers.”

Without warning, Sun Tzu beheads the two concubines he had selected to lead the others. To Sun Tzu, war is a matter of life and death. This is the key principal of his teachings. Once understood, everyone from the general to the solider will be motivated to win.

However, in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan, the United States fought wars with rules that hamper victory and ignore the fact that war is a matter of life and death.

Instead, politics and public opinion decide the rules of the battle field.

While the bodies of the first two concubines are still warm, Sun Tzu appoints two new concubines to lead the others. This time the concubines follow his orders without hesitation. The king of Wu is convinced and appoints Sun Tzu commander of the Wu army.

Sun Tzu now must train an army of 30 thousand troops to fight a force ten times larger.

The state of Wu has only 33,000 troops while Chu can field a force of 300 thousand.

Outnumbered ten to one, Sun Tzu could build his defenses and wait for the attack. However, he does the unexpected. He invades Chu.

He doesn’t attack Chu’s main army. Instead, he attacks outposts and weaker targets. When Chu sends an army to fight, Sun Tzu slips away emphasizing maneuver, surprise and deception.

After every battle, Sun Tzu learns more about his enemy.

During another war more than two thousand years later, Sun Tzu’s ultimate secret becomes more evident. In the mid 1960s, the world’s largest super power fought in Vietnam—a country smaller than the state of Montana.

The American general sees the battlefield like a chessboard where armies stand and fight. However, Vietnam has no clear objectives to attack and destroy.

The Communist general understands Sun Tzu and uses the Viet Cong in hit and run attacks against fixed US positions.

Sun Tzu said, “It is more important to outthink your enemy than outfight him. In war, numbers alone confer no advantage. Do not advance relying on sheer military power.”

The US commander breaks these rules.

Sun Tzu liked the enemy to maneuver and respond to his moves so he would be in charge of the battlefield.

A US report after the Vietnam War revealed that 80% of the time, it was the North Vietnamese and Vietcong who decided where and when to fight.

Sun Tzu said, “Once you know the enemy’s strengths and weaknesses, you can avoid the strengths and attack the weaknesses.” At the beginning of the war, almost 80% of Americans supported the.

As the Vietnam War continued with mounting US causalities, support at home shifted against the war, which achieved another of Sun Tzu’s rules, “The skillful leader subdues enemy’s troops without any fighting. One does not win wars by winning battles.”

Although the North Vietnamese and Vietcong did not win battles, they won the war by turning the American people against the war. To achieve this goal, the North Vietnamese commander was willing to lose ten men for every American killed.

In the end, the US lost 53 thousand troops and the North Vietnamese and Vietcong more than a million with several million more noncombatants killed as collateral damage to the American bombing—the U.S. dropped more bombs in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia than it dropped in all of World War II.

Sun Tzu felt spies were important, and he devoted one chapter to spies. He said, “Use your spies for every kind of business,” and the North Vietnamese and Vietcong followed that advice.

Sun Tzu said, “An accurate knowledge of the enemy is worth ten divisions.”

He also said, “Let your plans be as dark as night – then strike like a thunderbolt.” The Tet Offensive in January of 1968 was that thunderbolt.

Sun Tzu said, “Keep plans as dark as night.”

The NVA (North Vietnamese Army) and Vietcong did this by moving supplies and troops through miles of tunnels built in the 1950 and 60s.

Deception was also one of Sun Tzu’s rules.

To achieve deception, the NVA and Vietcong announced they would honor a cease-fire on January 31, 1968, the Tet New-Year Holiday.

Sun Tzu said, “In battle use a direct attack to engage and an indirect attack to win,” meaning to deceive your enemy so you can win your real objective.

To achieve this goal, the NVA launched a surprise attack on Khe Sanh, a remote US base, one week before the Tet Offensive.

The South Vietnamese and American military were surprised when the NVA launches the Tet Offensive. At first, it looks like the Vietcong will win, but the NVA ignored one of Sun Tzu’s rules—moral influence.

Moral influence means a leader must have the people behind him to win.

During the early days of the Tet, the Vietcong rounded up and brutally assassinated several-thousand South Vietnamese government workers and killed many Catholic nuns losing the support of the people.

However, in America, watching the violence of the Tet Offensive on TV turned more Americans against the war.

Eight years later, in 1975, Saigon falls to the NVA and America loses the war even though the US had military superiority.

In China about 500 BC Sun Tzu’s hit-and-run campaign against the state of Chu worked. The Chu prime minister lost support and the moral of his troops dropped.

Throughout the countryside of Chu, the people feared where Sun Tzu will strike next. When the larger Chu army threatened one of Sun Tzu’s allies, Sun Tzu uses another rule of war, “To move your enemy, entice him with something he is certain to take.”

Then, when his own forces are surrounded, Sun Tzu says, “Put the army in the face of death where there is no escape and they will not flee or be afraid – there is nothing they cannot achieve.” Discover The Long March

What happened to Sun Tzu when his small army was surrounded also happened on June 6, 1944 when allied troops in World War II invaded Europe during D-day.

Sun Tzu says, “All warfare is deception. If you can deceive your enemy before battle, you are more likely to win.”

That’s what General Eisenhower did before the invasion of Normandy. To succeed, the allies used deception to convince the Germans the attack would not take place in Normandy.

Sun Tzu says, “It is essential to seek out enemy agents who have come to spy against you and bribe them to serve you.” In The Art of War, double agents are the most important spies.

That is what the Allies did in World War II before the Normandy Invasion of France. No one used double agents better than the British did.

Britain turned almost every spy Germany sent during the war. These double agents made the Germans believed the invasion would take place at Pas de Calais and not Normandy.

Sun Tzu says, “The way a wise general can achieve greatness beyond ordinary men is through foreknowledge.” The allies had foreknowledge because they broke the German code and knew what the Germans were thinking and planning.

Sun Tzu would have praised the allied preparation for the invasion and the use of deception but he would have condemned the actual assault.

Sun Tzu says, “When a falcon’s strike breaks the body of its prey, it is because of timing. When torrential water tosses boulders, it is because of momentum.”

Sun Tzu believes that the best attack can be ruined if momentum is lost, and he would have predicted the cost of lives during the Normandy invasion more than two-thousand years before it took place.

During the invasion of Normandy, the allies survived on death ground exactly as Sun Tzu predicted by fighting together and never giving up.

Sun Tzu meant when you put troops in a combat position where they must fight or die, there is no choice but to fight.

Another reason the Allies succeeded during D-day was another of Sun Tzu’s rules of war. He said, “It is essential for victory that generals are unconstrained by their [political] leaders.”

The allied command structure gave total authority to General Eisenhower as supreme commander.

However, Germany under Hitler did not have the same command structure.

Hitler had set up a confusing system of overlapping authority so no one had total control over the military leaving Hitler the only one who made final decisions.

Hitler’s command structure is a perfect example of what Sun Tzu says about “no interference from the leader”.

The allies in France are bogged down in difficult terrain. The combat losses are horrible and little progress is made.

The solution is found in Sun Tzu’s rules of war. “Make your enemy prepare on his left and he will be weak on his right.”

The allies will follow this rule.

Sun Tzu says you must behave like the snake. When your enemy attacks, you must be flexible.

Throughout the invasion of Normandy, France, Sun Tzu’s rules of war guided the Allies to victory. The Allies used deception, foreknowledge, and a superior command structure that motivated the army to fight as one.

Sun Tzu says, “The winning army realizes the conditions for victory first then fights. The losing army fights first then seeks victory.”

 

More than two thousand years before the Battle of Normandy, the battle between the kingdoms of Wu and Chu raged on.

Even with a smaller army, Sun Tzu is not worried. He has split his army. While the Chu army is surrounding his smaller force, the main part of his army is moving toward the unprotected Chu capital.

And once the Chu commander learns of this, he turns from the smaller Wu force under Sun Tzu’s command and rushes back to save the capital.

Sun Tzu says, “No nation has ever benefitted from prolonged war.” The American Civil War is Sun Tzu’s nightmare scenario. Possibly the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are the same since so many of Sun Tzu’s rules of war have been ignored.

Sun Tzu says, “Those skilled in war bring the enemy to the field of battle. They are not brought by him.” This will happen to General Robert E. Lee in 1863.

Sun Tzu says if the orders are unclear, it is the fault of the commanding general.

General Lee told one of his generals to “Attack when you think it is practical.” That general decides it is not practical and does nothing.

At the Battle Gettysburg, Lee did not give clear orders.

Robert E. Lee made a tactical mistake when he did not follow Sun Tzu’s rule to “Move only when you see an advantage and there is something to gain. Only fight if a position is critical.”

Sun Tzu says, “When the enemy occupies high ground, do not confront him. If he attacks downhill, do not oppose him.” Robert E. Lee did not listen and decides to attack the Union positions on the high ground.

General Longstreet disagrees. He does not want to attack the high ground. Instead, he wants to go around the Union Army toward the North’s capital, Washington D.C.

Sun Tzu says, “There are some armies that should not be fought and some ground that should not be contested.”

After two days of horrible losses, Robert E. Lee orders what is left of his army to attack uphill a third time. General Longstreet urges Lee not to do this. Lee ignores him.

On the third day of Gettysburg during Picket’s charge up another hill, only 5,000 survived of 12,000 troops. Sun Tzu would have been horrified.

Sun Tzu says, “When troops flee, are insubordinate, collapse or are routed in battle, it is the fault of the general.”

Sun Tzu sees a commanding general as someone intelligent and cunning and never rash or arrogant, which is the opposite of the commander of the Chu army more than two thousand years ago.

Sun Tzu won the war against Chu, which had an army ten times larger than his. He did this through preparation, deception and indirect attacks.

After winning the war against Chu, Sun Tzu retires and writes The Art of War.

The first line of Sun Tzu’s rules of war says, “War is a matter of vital importance to the State. It is a matter of life and death, survival or ruin.

As I finished the series on Sun Tzu’s The Art of War, I thought of President Lyndon Johnson who invaded Vietnam (1950 to 1975)—a war where a super power lost to a third-world country as Chu did to Wu about twenty-five hundred years ago.

Nations that fought with the United States lost more than 300 thousand troops with almost 1.5 million wounded. North Vietnam and the Communists lost almost 1.2 million troops and more than 4 million civilian dead. Source: Vietnam War – Wiki

President G. W. Bush rushed into a war in Iraq and Afghanistan on faulty evidence, which may have been based on lies. For these wars, the casualties and losses continue.


Learn more at the War Resisters League

Several American presidents have  ignored Sun Tzu’s advice from The Art of War.

Since World War II, America has spent more than 23 trillion dollars fighting wars and in defense. The U.S. won the Cold War against Soviet Russia without fighting.

Too bad the citizen of the US, Presidents Johnson and G. W. Bush did not learn from Sun Tzu’s The Art of War.

Sun Tzu said, “Sometimes, the best way to win is not to fight.”

Discover Trained Killers

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Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran.

His latest novel is the award winning suspense-thriller Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was fighting for the other side.

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