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Blame it on Sun Tzu


J.D. Pendry


A couple of weeks ago, I wrote Pardon Me.In it, I disagreed with how many prominent conservatives were treating the Harriet Meirsí nomination.My comments got me banned from linking to articles on one popular conservative blog - so much for demands of intellectual honesty from professional conservative commentators.We taught and stressed the value of candor in the Army.Itís fine to share candor, but itís not an attribute you can claim for yourself until you are able to graciously receive it.


I tried to point out to my conservative minded mentors that what they were witnessing from the President with the Meirsí nomination was leadership.Maybe I insulted them when I said:


The problem is that youíve so rarely seen true leadership come from politicians, you donít recognize it for what it is, you donít know how to deal with it and youíre left seriously wanting to offer us an analysis of itÖ.Most of the talkers and writers, to whom I read and listen, never faced a true leadership challenge.Donít yaíll get too upset, but I wouldnít trust very many of you to lead hungry hogs to the slop if my welfare was depending on it.


I donít usually quote myself, but I needed to share with you my candor that others might consider insulting.The truth is hard for some to accept when it hits them in the forehead like a piece of dimension lumber.


Fortunately, my conservative friends and their liberal foes are still not able to recognize some masterful leadership when they see it.I think the President is counting on that.Sun Tzu is helping him.Politics, thanks to career politicians, has turned into sophisticated warfare in our country.When they canít win with ideas and popular opinion, they look to destroy opponents by other methods.Just ask Scooter Libby and Tom Delay.The intricacies of the art of war taught by our famous Chinese General have been winning battles for centuries.I suggest that all of you conservative thinkers study them a bit.Itíll help you understand what is happening and how youíre helping.


Sun Tzu tells us:


All warfare is based on deception.And, sometimes we must deceive friend as well as foe.With all the genius attributed to the so-called architect behind the Presidentís political successes, itís easy to conclude that the President anticipated the outcome of the Meirsí nomination.It wasnít intended to succeed, but to serve an important purpose.The conservative movement has millions of readers and listeners each day.For two weeks, weíve been listening to them demand a stronger conservative nominee from the President.Also listening to them, were Republican Senators who in the past have shown weakness in dealing with their liberal counterparts in the Senate.Now, when the President puts out his next ďno doubt about itĒ conservative nominee he knows that the career Republican Senators will feel the pressure from the same people to get the job done Ė or face extinction in 2006.


Hold out baits to entice the enemy.Did you notice how many of the liberals (which includes some Republicans) were giddy about this nominee?They only took mild shots at the President and Senate minority leader Harry Reid almost took credit for picking her.If his forces are united, separate them.Some liberals supported the nominee while some didnít.Feign disorder, and crush him. When the conservative voices rose in opposition, the liberal Democrats cheered about a Republican party in disarray that was losing its conservative base.Now the liberals are blaming the ďradical right wingĒ for the withdrawal of the nomination.All the pieces are in place for a liberal crushing.


If your opponent is of choleric temper, seek to irritate him.Pretend to be weak, that he may grow arrogant.This one worked wonderfully, but maybe not as you think.The President used this principle to rally his own team.I canít count the times that Iíve heard Meirs referred to by conservatives as a weak choice.The President led his team to do what he needed them to do by irritating them into taking the action he needed.The Presidentís ďhot-temperedĒ supporters with their millions of listeners and readers Ė who are also voters Ė are now going to put that same fire behind the Presidentís real nominee and pity the Senator Specters and Maverick McCains that try to stand in the way.


What is that word?Misunderestimated?The Commander [one of Sun Tzuís five constant factors of warfare] stands for the virtues of wisdom, sincerely, benevolence, courage and strictness.


I could be wrong, but youíll be hard pressed to prove it.Just watch what unfolds in the coming days.


Copyright © J. D. Pendry