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The Art of War is governed by five constant factors, to be taken into account in one’s deliberations, when seeking to determine the conditions obtaining in the field.

The Moral Law
The Commander
Method and Discipline

– Sun Tzu, The Art of War

Getting up in front of any gathering of people can make many people uncomfortable. In fact, it is often rated as one of the top 10 common phobias people have. This social phobia affects about 15 million American adults, according to the National Institute of Mental Health (, 2010). Practice makes prefect. The more you get up in front of people the more comfortable you are with it. That really holds true with anything in life. The more you do something the better you get at doing it.

Preparation for your testimony starts way before you get into the courtroom. It starts the minute you’re actually assigned to the case, whether hired by an attorney or assigned by the jurisdiction you work for. You have to work at getting into a routine or better yet a systematic approach to collecting evidence. If for nothing else but to eliminate mistakes. As with anything have a game plan but allow for enough flexibility to keep from looking at evidence the same old way. Sun Tzu, the legendary Chinese military general and strategist once wrote, “According as circumstances are favorable, one should modify one’s plan (Giles, 2009)”. What Sun Tzu is expressing is that one must be open to change if change does not hurt the ultimate outcome. Attorneys will get to know you, if you’re good. Don’t always rely on the same course of action, change things up. They will have a harder time refuting your methods of collecting evidence.

In studying for my Masters, I am looking to update my skill set… keeping current and furthermore look at a completely new set of skills. This is extremely important for the expert witness. Why? Because lawyers need to discredit you and the evidence you bring to the table. If you’re shown being 10 years behind the times in your learning, lawyers could use that to introduce doubt to the jury.

“Perhaps there are better ways to examine that hard drive Mr. Heese?”

The Federal Rules of Civil Procedures, Rule 26 requires that you provide a report on the evidence you are testifying to. As part of that report you are required to present any published writings you’ve done in the last 10 years. Realize since you are being considered an “expert” witness, it is assumed that you keep current and are completely knowledgeable in the your field of expertise. What better way to keep things honest but to write about the things you know about, let your peers refute or agree with the thing you have to say. Publishing provides for this!

One thing we’re never really prepared for, and most celebrities are either is media attention! Sometimes you’ll get a case that is of particular interest to the public such as the Pete Townsend child molestation case. In 2003 Pete Townsend the guitarist for the rock band The Who was arrested for downloading child pornography from the Internet. At the time, Townsend was placed on the sex offender registry for five years after he admitted using his credit card to view the images (Lisi, 2010). A perfect case for computer forensics specialist! But there is a price to pay. The media is going to want to know if it’s true. You will be bombarded. What you say and do could taint your testimony! The media will try and judge the case in the press. They will distort the truth and your words will be taken out of context.

You should know how the trail process works. Who speaks first? When is it your turn? You should know how to dress. What is appropriate attire? Are jeans and sneakers cool? Should you bring your lab coat? What is the proper etiquette in court? Speak to the jury they are the ones you have to convince. Make eye contact! The fastest way to lose creditability is to look down at the floor when providing an answer. Know what you are going to say but don’t spend a lot of time rehearsing things. Try to keep things simple without minimizing the importance of the testimony you are providing. You have to realize that you are the expert. You need to explain things to the jury on a level they can understand. Computers and the technology they bring to the table are complex. Many people may not be able to grasp the concepts they need to make a knowledgeable decision on guilt or innocence!


Conners, S. & Giles, L., (2009, June 15th), The Art of War – Classic Kindle Edition, Chapter 1, Section 17

Lisi, C., (2010, January 28), Pete Townshend targeted as a ‘sex offender’ before Super Bowl, Retrieved on March 9th, 2010 from

Unknown, (2010), What Really Scares People: Top 10 Phobias, Retrieved on March 9th, 2010 from

…in the midst of difficulties we are always ready to seize an advantage, we may extricate ourselves from misfortune.
– Sun Tzu, The Art of War, chapter 8 paragraph 9

Soldiers must be treated in the first instance with humanity, but kept under control by means of iron discipline.
– Sun Tzu, The Art of War, chapter 9 paragragh 43

I voted for George W. Bush. I was an idealist! 9/11 set the US on its ear. We were fighting the wrong that was done to us but then it stopped. Don’t get me wrong I will always support our troops where ever they may be fighting but I no longer believe we were sent to Iraq to rout out terrorism, or WMDs, or saving a people from a tyranical ruler! We went there for other reasons but that’s not the point! Let’s take a moment to compare Sun Tzu’s The Art of War to that of President Bush. The Art of War is accepted as a masterpiece on strategy and often referenced by generals and theorists throughout history (McNeilly, 2001).

All warfare is based on deception!
– Sun Tzu, The Art of War, chapter 1 paragraph 18

This is probably the most famous line in the entire book and has been heavy quoted through out the ages! Sun Tzu meant this in terms of one force trying to hide the reality of their strengh and strategy! Unfortunately, President Bush used it against the people of the United States. We were decieved as a nation to the exact threat caused by Iraq! We were lead into a war under the guise of imminate danger! Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and we needed to stop the deployment of these weapons. Problem is there were no weapons.

Moving on…

Again, if the campaign is protracted, the resources of the State will not be equal to the strain.
– Sun Tzu, The Art of War, chapter 2 paragraph 3

I could have used…

There is no instance of a country having benefited from prolonged warfare.
– Sun Tzu, The Art of War, chapter 2 paragraph 18

But the first paragrapgh seems more appropreate today! The second engagement with Iraq has gone on for more than 6 years (started March 20, 2003) at a current cost of $12.5 billion per month! In today’s economic climate, that money could have gone to better use at home! Now there are many that will say President Bush couldn’t have known about the housing collapse! Oh yes he did! It was coming for a long time and when it did President Bush got to wipe his hands clean and go back to the ranch… “Yee Haw, dodged that bullet!” Anway you look at it, today’s cost is $150 billion per year minimum. Think we can use that to better our lives here in the US? Especially now. I do!

When he keeps aloot and tries to provoke a battle, he is anxious for the other side to advance.
– Sun Tzu, The Art of War, chapter 9 paragraph 19

This is where President Bush used the mask of WMD to advance on Iraq. Many Chinese scholars have read this to mean that the general is anxious to dislodge their advarceary for a strong position. Aloof? Why? Because we the American people would not see through the weak arguments or prehaps the strong position that Iraq holds is buried beneath the desert! I don’t know? Could be!


McNeilly, Mark R. (2001), Sun Tzu and the Art of Modern Warfare, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0195133404.