you only see what you want to see when you only hear what you want to hear

December 15, 2006 at 7:58 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

“Fixing” the War:

Good policy is difficult to make when information is systematically collected in a way that minimizes its discrepancy with policy goals.

I love this little quote. It is from an article in the Nation about the general who plays the enemy in Pentagon wargames. Apparently, he’s been doing this for years and has developed quite a reputation for innovative strategies at defeating the United States military. The article discusses the ways the Bush administration fixes data to meet their predetermined decisions, using as a backdrop the 2002 wargames where this general used the same sort of low-tech tactics that the Iraqi insurgents utilized. These tactics were tremendously successful in 2002 wargames, but the Pentagon kept restarting the games and changing the rules until to make the military more successful. I was totally buying into the article, but then there was a comment from a reader pointing out that the good guys rarely win wargames, always restarts them many times, and they were trying out a number of new weapons systems for the first time. And I felt cheated by the author of the article, that he told a cool little story, but didn’t tell the whole story. Especially given the overwhelming number of examples available to support the premise of the article.

Anyway, the quote itself is apparently taken directly from the report of the Iraq Study Group. I like how complicated, diplomatic the quote is, to illustrate a very common truth.


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