From Sun Tzu’s The Art of War

1. When you engage in actual fighting, if victory is long in coming, then men’s weapons will grow dull and their ardor will be damped. If you lay siege to a town, you will exhaust your strength.

2. Again, if the campaign is protracted, the resources of the State will not be equal to the strain.

3. Now, when your weapons are dulled, your ardor damped, your strength exhausted and your treasure spent, other chieftains will spring up to take advantage of your extremity. Then no man, however wise, will be able to avert the consequences that must ensue.

4. Thus, though we have heard of stupid haste in war, cleverness has never been seen associated with long delays.

5. There is no instance of a country having benefited from prolonged warfare.

6. Therefore in chariot fighting, when ten or more chariots have been taken, those should be rewarded who took the first. Our own flags should be substituted for those of the enemy, and the chariots mingled and used in conjunction with ours. The captured soldiers should be kindly treated and kept.

7. This is called, using the conquered foe to augment one’s own strength.

8. In war, then, let your great object be victory, not lengthy campaigns.

I don’t know why but I find these lines eerily pertinent to the struggle for democracy in Pakistan.

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