Sunday, February 05, 2012

Is It Wisdom? Or...

I’m reading “The Operators” by Michael Hastings, which was recommended to me as an “explosive” expose of the war in Afghanistan. I’m a third of the way through it or so, and mostly it’s just boring. One whole chapter is devoted to describing going out to dinner and telling stories about waking up smelling like strippers. A whole chapter.

He makes one statement which, I think, illustrates why he wrote the book, and why a lot of people think it so “explosivly” reveals the misconduct behind the conduct of the war. He says that, “I didn’t quite get it, but then no one quite got what Graeme Lamb was saying. Wisdom is like that.”

Actually, wisdom is not like that, but bullshit is, and too many people mistake bullshit for wisdom. True wisdom makes the point and is understandable; otherwise, why make the point? Bullshit seeks to impress, and frequently does so with obfuscation. Remember the old saying that goes, “If you can’s dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit.”

I think that Stanley McChrystal baffled Michael Hastings with bullshit, and he passed it on in his book.

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