When victory is a long time coming

When the battle has actually begun and victory is a long time coming, then
men’s weapons become blunt and their zeal is dampened. When you besiege a city
besiege, you will exhaust your forces, and if the campaign drags on for a long time,
the treasures of the state will dwindle under the strain. Never forget: When your
weapons become blunt, when your fighting courage is dampened, your strength is exhausted and your
your treasure is spent, other leaders will take advantage of your hardship.
from your adversity. No man, however wise, can avert what must follow.
Though we have heard of foolish haste in war, yet prudence has never been
associated with long delays. In all history there is no
example of a country gaining from a long war. Only those who know the
the terrible effects of a long war can see the paramount importance of a speedy termination.
of a speedy termination. Only those who are well acquainted with the evils of war can recognize
recognize the right way to wage it.

The Art of War

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