Propaganda & Mass Persuasion: ENDING DISASTROUSLY !

Thursday, March 26, 2009


“ . . . . military bright ideas have a way of ending disastrously. “

This quote is certainly a true quote based on some of the examples in the chapter. For instance I recall the poorly made undersea pipeline to bring fuel to Normandy. It was a great idea but no one thought about what they should do if it had to be repaired underwater. This was very difficult to do in those days especially in the middle of a war! Even foolish little personal mistakes could end in disaster. It was very stupid for the young soldier written about in the article to put on an enemy uniform in the middle of a battlefield and then wave to his friends . . . from a distance! It is not surprising to the reader that he ended up being shot dead by the same friends he was joking around with and the pilot who used live bullets during a practice exercise almost killed friendly soldiers.

I was very interested in the poem at the beginning of the chapter. The book gives many reasons for disasters happening in the military like recognition problems, fear and bad planning. The last verse of the poem seems to identify the main reason why so many bright ideas end up disastrously:

Carentan O Carentan
Before we met you
We never yet had lost a man
Or known what death can do.

This is the way it is with wars in history everywhere in the world. The people who fight them are young and inexperienced. They have no practice at fighting a real war. Before their first battle they have never lost one of their group. Today, for instance, a young man’s only experience with combat may be in video games where the dead guys get up and fight again the next time you play the game and the hero kills a hundred men without ever getting hurt themselves. When this mindset is carried over by inexperienced soldiers into battle they surely are in danger of turning bright ideas into disasters! The young soldier who put on an enemy uniform in the middle of a battlefield is an excellent example of the consequences of the lack of experience that most soldiers bring into the real war they are fighting. Not every military situation can be resolved so easy as they are solved in video games and the movies.


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