“In general, the method for employing the military is this: Preserving the [enemy’s] state capital is best, destroying their state capital second-best.37
Preserving their army is best, destroying their army second-best. Preserving their battalions is best, destroying their battalions second-best.38
Preserving their companies is best, destroying their companies second-best. Preserving their squads is best, destroying their squads second-best. For this reason attaining one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the pinnacle of excellence. Subjugating the enemy’s army without fighting is the true pinnacle ...