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Hibernate's avatar

Are all wars based on deception?

Asked by Hibernate (9025 points ) July 19th, 2011

In the “Art of War” Sun Tzu argues that all wars are based on deception. If we wouldn’t deceive each other than I think wars should not be necessary. [I find this to be a logical response]
Frustrating as it may be not all are logical so we have [or had] a lot of wars.

What I want to know is if all wars are based on deception or you people could find some other explanations beside the struggle for power or to control everything.

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11 Answers

thorninmud's avatar

Sun Tzu isn’t talking about deception as a cause or a necessary condition of war. He’s talking about deception as a tactic of war. The quote goes on to say: “Hence, when able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must seem inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near. Hold out baits to entice the enemy. Feign disorder, and crush him.”

YoBob's avatar

Of course it is, don’t be naive.

Sun Tsu is talking about the art of winning wars, not about how to keep them from happening.

CaptainHarley's avatar

“Deception” is a TACTIC, not a reason.

Linda_Owl's avatar

Yep, all the government has to do is to spread the idea that another country either has attacked or is about to attack & that we must strike them before they strike us. Then they say that any who do not agree with them are in league with ‘our enemy’, then they wrap themselves in the flag, & they say we must be patriotic in order to defeat the enemy. Then any one who dares to publicly protest their proposed war gets arrested & tossed in jail. Usually the protestors get out within a few days, but the government has stopped the protest in its tracks & the protestors now have criminal records by which they can be tracked. Yes, deception is the name of the game.

SABOTEUR's avatar

Never mind Sun Tsu.

Most, if not all of the conflicts we find ourselves in…not just war…has it’s root in self deception.

“I’m right, you’re wrong.”

“My way or no way.”

“What’s mine is mine, and
what’s your’s is mine.”

I know what’s right for me and mine
and I’ll kill anyone who says I’m wrong
even if it means I kill myself and everyone I love in the process.

I think another word for that is
insanity.

jeremyh's avatar

Yes the war is all about the deception. You have to be one step ahead of your enemy. You have to anticipate their move and act accordingly it doesn’t matter if you have to improvise a little.

Hibernate's avatar

Thanks for replies.

atlantis's avatar

It doesn’t matter what war is about. If you whittle it down, all that matters is that you have a propagandist local media. And when that nationalist hype wears off there is always coercion

Nullo's avatar

Most modern wars are tied, at some place, rather heavily to economics. Less common is the war of ideology which still has its economic factors, just that they aren’t the primary motive. And some wars are vindictive in their origins – like aftershocks – or blood feuds -, they follow up previous conflicts.
The case has been made that the First World War, Second World War, and the Cold War (and its peripheral wars) are really three stages of an ongoing conflict.

atlantis's avatar

@Nullo interesting note about the ongoing conflict. Do you have a link?

Nullo's avatar

@atlantis Not really; it’s something of a conclusion that my dad and I arrived at while talking about it. I’ll poke around and see what I can find.

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