German Economy Ailing; Frenchmen Nervous, Begin Trying to Make Nice-Nice With Americans and Brits | Main | Polls, Polls, Polls
October 19, 2004

Andrew Sullivan Can Contribute Something

Alas, his role in the contribution is to simply cut and paste a letter from his reader, who deserves all the credit:

...

It is an old military maxim that blunders can be forgiven, but a lack of boldness cannot. There will always be blunders. The simple becomes difficult in war. Take for example the following question: what is 2+2 equal too? An easy question right? Now imagine I gave you 15 such questions and you had 2 seconds to answer them. Most likely you would answer some and leave the rest. Looking at those questions you missed in isolation I might say, "What kind of blathering idiot are you? You can't even answer simple questions like 2+2=4". That is why Armchair Generals are so annoying. They look at one thing in isolation with all the time in the world to think about it and say confidently "the answers obvious". But when you are out in the fight everything looks different. Nothing is ever seen in isolation. You never have enough time. You never know more than 1/10 what you need to know. There will always be blunders.

But the job has to get done anyway. And to get this kind of job done boldness is essential. A leader who never blunders, but who doesn't take the fight to the enemy is worthless. A leader who sets about to win - win ugly if needs be - is priceless.

One thing the Marine Corps taught me is that a 70% solution acted on immediately and violently is better than a perfect solution acted on later. My experience has proven this true time and again. The sad fact is however, that a 70% solution is a 30% mistake. And those mistakes can be hard to take. In WWII for example, 700 soldiers drowned in a training accident in preparation for D-Day (that is about how many combat deaths we've experienced so far in Iraq).

There is a scene in the movie "We were Soldiers" that says it better than I can. In the scene a young soldier on the ground is giving directions on enemy positions to aircraft flying overhead. The aircraft then dropped Napalm on the enemy. At one point the soldier gets the directions wrong and stares horrified as the Napalm is dropped on his own unit. The soldier is shaken beyond belief. He sat there doing nothing - paralyzed by his mistake. Then his Commanding Officer gave him the confidence to carry on. The CO told him to "forget about that last one" and "you're keeping us alive here". And so the soldier swallowed his guilt and kept doing his job and thereby saved the unit. That is what a 70% solution looks like in real life. And those are the 70% solutions that win wars.

Most people and events are beyond your control. Most questions you don't have time to answer. Most facts you will never know. But you have to press the attack anyway. No matter how ugly it gets, you keep going until you win.

Kerry doesn't understand that. Everything he did during the Cold War and everything he says about this one states as much. He represents those who would never blunder, but who would not take the fight to the enemy. He would just sit there - like the soldier in the movie - paralyzed by America's mistakes."


digg this
posted by Ace at 08:40 PM

| Access Comments




Recent Comments
Anna Puma (HQCaR): "Yeah, don't think a GoFundMe for a tank would work ..."

Jackal: " Which is odd because the first film was consider ..."

wth: "William Shatner has me blocked. WTF, dude? ... ..."

Deplorable Jay Guevara[/i][/b][/s][/u]: "OT: California Legislature advances idea of legal ..."

yankeefifth: "So the Clark's County Sherriff's is advising the r ..."

SMFH: "Would work fine, Anna. Got 280 grand? ..."

Dr. Varno: "The Shat Abides. ..."

filbert: "[i]That was straight out of the Fusion GPS dossier ..."

flounder, rebel, vulgarian, deplorable, winner: "Why do you say that? Posted by: Bandersnatch ..."

Don Q.: "294 How goes? found a way to bring a tank to Vegas ..."

Norman: "Leftists are illogical--Illogi--Il-- ..."

Captain James T. Kirk: "[i]Ace was wearing a red shit[/i]I said I needed a ..."

Recent Entries
Search


MuNuvians
Polls! Polls! Polls!
Frequently Asked Questions
The (Almost) Complete Paul Anka Integrity Kick
Top Top Tens
Greatest Hitjobs

The Ace of Spades HQ Sex-for-Money Skankathon
A D&D Guide to the Democratic Candidates
Margaret Cho: Just Not Funny
More Margaret Cho Abuse
Margaret Cho: Still Not Funny
Iraqi Prisoner Claims He Was Raped... By Woman
Wonkette Announces "Morning Zoo" Format
John Kerry's "Plan" Causes Surrender of Moqtada al-Sadr's Militia
World Muslim Leaders Apologize for Nick Berg's Beheading
Michael Moore Goes on Lunchtime Manhattan Death-Spree
Milestone: Oliver Willis Posts 400th "Fake News Article" Referencing Britney Spears
Liberal Economists Rue a "New Decade of Greed"
Artificial Insouciance: Maureen Dowd's Word Processor Revolts Against Her Numbing Imbecility
Intelligence Officials Eye Blogs for Tips
They Done Found Us Out, Cletus: Intrepid Internet Detective Figures Out Our Master Plan
Shock: Josh Marshall Almost Mentions Sarin Discovery in Iraq
Leather-Clad Biker Freaks Terrorize Australian Town
When Clinton Was President, Torture Was Cool
What Wonkette Means When She Explains What Tina Brown Means
Wonkette's Stand-Up Act
Wankette HQ Gay-Rumors Du Jour
Here's What's Bugging Me: Goose and Slider
My Own Micah Wright Style Confession of Dishonesty
Outraged "Conservatives" React to the FMA
An On-Line Impression of Dennis Miller Having Sex with a Kodiak Bear
The Story the Rightwing Media Refuses to Report!
Our Lunch with David "Glengarry Glen Ross" Mamet
The House of Love: Paul Krugman
A Michael Moore Mystery (TM)
The Dowd-O-Matic!
Liberal Consistency and Other Myths
Kepler's Laws of Liberal Media Bias
John Kerry-- The Splunge! Candidate
"Divisive" Politics & "Attacks on Patriotism" (very long)
The Donkey ("The Raven" parody)
News/Chat
Archives
Powered by
Movable Type 2.64