Moss-covered Monk

Moss-covered Monk

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Thursday, November 1, 2012

Secrets of the Ninja (1)

Espionage as a Weapon

About five hundred years before the birth of Christ, a Chinese philosopher named Sun-
Tzu stated in his "Rules for Political and Psychological Subversion" that, "there is no art higher
than that of destroying the enemy’s resistance without a fight on the battlefield. According to
this sage,

"The direct tactic of war is necessary only on the battlefield, but only the indirect tactic
can lead to a real and lasting victory.

“Subvert anything of value in the enemy’s country. Implicate the emissaries of the major
powers in criminal undertakings; undermine their position and destroy their reputations in other
ways as well; and expose them to the public ridicule of the their fellow citizens.

“Do not shun the aid of even the lowest and most despicable people. Disrupt the work of
their government with every means you can.

“Spread disunity and dispute among the citizens of the enemy’s country. Turn the young
against the old. Use every means to destroy their arms, their supplies, and discipline of the enemy’s
forces."

"Debase old traditions and accepted gods. Be generous with promises and rewards to
purchase intelligence and accomplices. Send out your secret agents in all directions. Do not
skimp with money or with promises, for they yield a high return."

It is upon this passage from the Art of War that Japanese Ninjitsu is based.
Sun-Tzu was quite correct. No more need be said concerning espionage as a weapon.
But, The Art of Invisibility is far older even than this. Nor was Sun-Tzu the first to recognize
this principle. And, much later, Machiavelli’s The Prince expressed the same sentiment
with regard to conquering new lands. The great expense of war being his primary motivation in
counseling the medieval lords of his time.

~Ashida Kim