Thursday, June 23, 2005

Folly, Folly, It Is All Folly!

No, this is (I hope) not going to be a blog in the style of Eclisiasticus.

The other night I saw the movie Blackhawk Down for the first time (the later 2/3rds of it). After it was done I then started to compose a blog on the movie. I did some googling and found my blog was headed down a well worn path. I found a website that lauded the bravery of the soldiers in that fight and condemned the commanders (from mid level field commanders to the CinC) of that action for not being prepared and making blunders that led to the disaster it was. The main theme was the commanders did not learn from Vietnam and were repeating many of the same mistakes made in Vietnam. Those mistakes range from becoming predictable, a bad choice of initial battle plan, overestimation of their capabilities, underestimation of the enemy's capability, not having backup plans ready, not going in with adequate armor etc. He said the movie adequately portrayed the efforts of the soldiers but painted over bad command decisions.

The most disturbing thing about the article was the basic tenet underlying the whole thing: the perfectibility of man. Since someone made similar mistakes in the not too distant past then no one else should ever repeat those mistakes again. This is a sad misunderstanding of human nature. How many of us learn all of the lessons we should (let alone apply those lessons) learn from things that happened to us yesterday?

Even when we know from prior experience or book learning the best courses of action, even when there are plenty of "disciplinary channels" that surround people, people will find a way to do things wrong.

Man is flawed this is what the concept of original sin is about.