I have just started reading The Art of War, and something rather close to the beginning piqued my interest. In the section "The Attack by Stratagem", he talks of the role of 'Princes' - heads of state, rulers - in the effectiveness of an army. Three of these points seemed to me, as an external viewer, to have been violated by the British government recently: "Now a prince may embarrass his army in three ways, namely: Ignorant that the army in the field should not advance, to order it to go forward; or, ignorant that the army should not retreat, order it to retire. This is to tie the army as with a string. Ignorant of military affairs, to rule the armies in the same way as the state. This is to perplex the soldiers. Ignorant of the situation of the army, to settle its dispositions. This is to fill the soldiers with distrust." I welcome ARRSEers' comments on this - have I completely missed the point, read too much into it, or otherwise misunderstood the feelings of the military that come through in the mainstream media? On a naive level, the feeling that comes across is one of being tied, perplexed at defence policy, and distrustful of politicians in general (not necessarily a bad thing!).