Most of you by now understand my love of irony and sarcasm. This morning I’d like to introduce you to my friend irony. Irony is the Bush administration – avowed followers of the great philospher and religious leader Jesus Christ – invoking Sun Tzu – the great Chinese Taoist thinker and military strategist – to justify a secret executive order to spy on it’s own citizens without a warrant.
Noah Levitt highlights this in his article at Alternet:
Last week, White House spokeperson Trent Duffy provided the Bush administration’s rationale for its extralegal program to spy on United States citizens. Duffy quipped: “The fact is that Al Quaida’s play book is not printed on Page 1, and when America’s is, it has serious ramifications. You don’t need to be Sun Tzu to understand that.”
For me, Sun Tzu is used entirely too much and often in the wrong context or in a way that dilutes what the man (or men as some think his moniker was a front for several) really thinks. At one point the business worls was overrun with Sun Tzu wannabes. In this case, however, the invocation of Sun Tzu is just plain wrong:
Yet, a deep current of Taoist moderation runs through Sun Tzu’s advice, demanding clear limits and extraordinary discipline before undertaking serious campaigns such as war. In his own way, he was calling for a system of checks and balances. Thus, he warned, “One cannot use spies without sagacity and knowledge, one cannot use spies without humanity and justice”
Oh the irony of having your argument be the best argument for the opposition. I love it when that happens. I guess it might have done Duffy good to actually READ “The Art of War”. Where is the sagacity in this administration? All I see is arrogance of the most distilled kind which allows them to think they are within rights to act above the law.
Warrantless surveillance (wiretapping, spying, whatever) is against the law. It is also against the philosophy of one Sun Tzu. This administration and those in the fold of the neo-conservative arm of the Republican Party have no regard for the law. If this is not clear by now you just aren’t paying attention or you are one. Sun Tzu? Right. My guess is these guys have read much more Machiavelli.
Update: I can’t omit a reader comment on the Alternet article – “Bush probably thinks Sun Tzu is that sauce that comes on chicken balls.”