The Second Version

03/04/09

Unlikely Extraordinary Ability

Another of the many stupid assumptions of the conspirational mindset is that the military/CIA are almost omnipotent: they have the latest technology, almost unlimited freedom of action anywhere anytime and evil yet cunning planners showing extraordinary creativity and the capacity to foresee any possible contingence.

Well, baloney.

In war, it is not the best and brightest side that becomes the winner, but rather the one that makes less and less catastrophic mistakes. Winners write history and we tend to forget the flaws of the succesful, but the reality is that many battles were won (or lost) out of sheer luck; or because an incompetent commander met an even dumber one; for pride or vanity or even madness; unimaginative officials wasted liberally men and materiel and won only because they had nearly nearly-limitless supplies of both, and on and on.

But if that's not enough, ponder this: the expression SNAFU - Situation Normal, All Fucked Up - was born in military circles. Granted that soldiers have a thing for dark humor, but that does not sound exactly like the description of a hyper-efficient machine.

For every soldier fighting on the battlefield there are many more involved in logistics and maintenance and bureaucracy. And bureaucracies can be many things, but they are not flexible, creative, dynamic or decisive.

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