Duly Quotes

Authors: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Categories: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
It is often said that Vietnam was the first television war. By the same token, Cleveland was the first war over the protection of children to be fought not in the courts, but in the media. By the summer of 1987 Cleveland had become above all, a hot media story. The Daily Mail, for example, had seven reporters, plus its northern editor, based in Middlesbrough full time. Most other news papers and television news teams followed suit. What were all the reporters looking for? Not children at risk. Not abusing adults. Aggrieved parents were the mother lode sought by these prospecting journalists. Many of these parents were only too happy to tell - and in some cases, it would appear, sell- their stories. Those stories are truly extraordinary. In many cases they bore almost no relation to the facts. Parents were allowed - encouraged to portray themselves as the innocent victims of a runaway witch-hunt and these accounts were duly fed to the public. Nowhere in any of the reporting is there any sign of counterbalancing information from child protection workers or the organisations that employed them. Throughout the summer of 1987 newspapers 'reported' what they termed a national scandal of innocent families torn apart. The claims were repeated in Parliament and then recycled as established 'facts' by the media. The result was that the courts themselves began to be paralysed by the power of this juggernaut of press reporting - 'journalism' which created and painstakingly fed a public mood which brooked no other version of the story. (p21)

Sue Richardson
In the absence of expert [senior military] advice, we have seen each successive administration fail in the business of strategy - yielding a United States twice as rich as the Soviet Union but much less strong. Only the manner of the failure has changed. In the 1960s, under Robert S. McNamara, we witnessed the wholesale substitution of civilian mathematical analysis for military expertise. The new breed of the "systems analysts" introduced new standards of intellectual discipline and greatly improved bookkeeping methods, but also a trained incapacity to understand the most important aspects of military power, which happens to be nonmeasurable. Because morale is nonmeasurable it was ignored, in large and small ways, with disastrous effects. We have seen how the pursuit of business-type efficiency in the placement of each soldier destroys the cohesion that makes fighting units effective; we may recall how the Pueblo was left virtually disarmed when it encountered the North Koreans (strong armament was judged as not "cost effective" for ships of that kind). Because tactics, the operational art of war, and strategy itself are not reducible to precise numbers, money was allocated to forces and single weapons according to "firepower" scores, computer simulations, and mathematical studies - all of which maximize efficiency - but often at the expense of combat effectiveness. An even greater defect of the McNamara approach to military decisions was its businesslike "linear" logic, which is right for commerce or engineering but almost always fails in the realm of strategy. Because its essence is the clash of antagonistic and outmaneuvering wills, strategy usually proceeds by paradox rather than conventional "linear" logic. That much is clear even from the most shopworn of Latin tags: si vis pacem, para bellum (if you want peace, prepare for war), whose business equivalent would be orders of "if you want sales, add to your purchasing staff, " or some other, equally absurd advice. Where paradox rules, straightforward linear logic is self-defeating, sometimes quite literally. Let a general choose the best path for his advance, the shortest and best-roaded, and it then becomes the worst path of all paths, because the enemy will await him there in greatest strength... Linear logic is all very well in commerce and engineering, where there is lively opposition, to be sure, but no open-ended scope for maneuver; a competitor beaten in the marketplace will not bomb our factory instead, and the river duly bridged will not deliberately carve out a new course. But such reactions are merely normal in strategy. Military men are not trained in paradoxical thinking, but they do no have to be. Unlike the business-school expert, who searches for optimal solutions in the abstract and then presents them will all the authority of charts and computer printouts, even the most ordinary military mind can recall the existence of a maneuvering antagonists now and then, and will therefore seek robust solutions rather than "best" solutions - those, in other words, which are not optimal but can remain adequate even when the enemy reacts to outmaneuver the first approach.

Edward N. Luttwak