Michael Philips


Sun Tzu’s Art Of War (Newly Revised & Updated) - Poem by Michael Philips

When your rationale for going to war
turns out to be false,
claim that you would have
gone to war anyway.
If critics question your rationale,
label them liberals and question their patriotism.

When one of your aides
is found to have been particularly vocal
about the nonexistent threat,
promote her to Secretary of State.
When poor intelligence leads you into war,
award a medal of honor to the intelligence chief.
When one of your aides is found to have
provided written support for torturing prisoners of war,
promote him to Attorney General.
(Also claim that they were not technically “prisoners of war, ”
so you can treat them however you want.)

Ignore important global institutions
in order to teach your enemy that
he cannot ignore important global institutions.
If critics question this hypocrisy,
claim that they are supporting the enemy leader.

Make sure you have allies in your war so that
you can call the troops “coalition forces, ”
even if 95% of the “allies” are offering only token troops.
If critics question whether you have a true coalition,
claim that the critics are besmirching the good names
of those allied countries.

If your major allies refuse to join you in the war,
ridicule them, boycott them, call them old-fashioned,
and claim that they have ulterior motives.
But be sure to praise them when you crawl back to them
to ask for money to help pay for rebuilding.

When the war is becoming far more expensive than anticipated,
point out that the cost is only a fraction of the nation’s GDP.
Of course, when you want to cut the funding for a social program,
simply claim that it is too expensive
regardless of it’s miniscule share of the GDP.

Always be dismissive of the critics of your war.
No matter what they say,
label them liberals and question their patriotism.
Claim that if they disagree with you,
then by definition they are on the side of the enemy.
You must paint them as being unsupportive of the troops
even though their objective is to save the lives of the troops.
If your critics wave the nation’s flag,
you must wave it even more.
Suggest that since you believe Jesus to be your savior,
then by definition you cannot make errors in moral judgment
and thus the war is morally correct.
Never apologize.
You have nothing to apologize for.
Never admit mistakes
They are not mistakes if you don’t recognize them as such.


Comments about Sun Tzu’s Art Of War (Newly Revised & Updated) by Michael Philips

  • (6/25/2008 8:09:00 AM)


    Some poems deserve to be famed. They're the ones that don't get famed.. (Report) Reply

    1 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • (10/18/2006 8:56:00 AM)


    label them liberals and question their patriotism...

    We bow to your wisdom, sansei, and are still waiting for the updat of the Prince
    (Report) Reply

  • (9/30/2005 9:35:00 PM)


    final verse, line 7...inser the word 'to' before 'save'...this is scathing and what a fantastic idea to mirror 'The Art of War'. this is my absolute favourite of yours. it is an uncompromising classic. brilliant, Michael. (Report) Reply

  • (2/2/2005 6:39:00 PM)


    I'd laugh if it weren't so frightening. (Report) Reply

  • (2/2/2005 10:35:00 AM)


    Nice one Michael: -) for your next piece may I suggest Machiavellis's The Prince, another old favourite here: -) (Report) Reply

Read all 5 comments »



Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Read poems about / on: war, money, believe, sun



Poem Submitted: Wednesday, February 2, 2005

Poem Edited: Monday, April 26, 2010


Famous Poems

  1. Still I Rise
    Maya Angelou
  2. The Road Not Taken
    Robert Frost
  3. If You Forget Me
    Pablo Neruda
  4. Dreams
    Langston Hughes
  5. Annabel Lee
    Edgar Allan Poe
  6. Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening
    Robert Frost
  7. If
    Rudyard Kipling
  8. Do Not Stand At My Grave And Weep
    Mary Elizabeth Frye
  9. I Do Not Love You Except Because I Love You
    Pablo Neruda
  10. Television
    Roald Dahl
[Report Error]