October 21, 2004

70% solution acted on immediately and violently...

I get really bugged by the notion that the Iraq Campaign, or the Battle of Tora Bora, or anything, should have been conducted without mistakes. That's so stupid! Wars aren't like that. This is from a letter posted by Lorie Byrd at PoliPundit, by a marine, who puts it better than I can:

...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...

...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...

A leader who sets about to win - win ugly if needs be - is priceless. That's exactly right. And it's often the fear of mistakes, of losses, that paralyzes the will to win.

Posted by John Weidner at October 21, 2004 7:26 PM
Weblog by John Weidner