What could we *possibly* learn from mistakes made in the 1960s ramp-up of the Vietnam War that could apply to the crisis we find ourselves neck-deep in?
As it happens — plenty!
Bill Whittle has been doing his fantastic series, The Cold War: What We Saw, and we couldn’t help but notice some of the key takeaways from mistakes of THAT era are being repeated — IN REAL TIME — here and now.
Under Kennedy and LBJ, McNamara brought a manager’s skillset to the military. He was an early adopter of the computer model… and he was convinced that he knew exactly what it would take to with the Vietnam War… because his computer has told him so.
And we all saw how well THAT worked out.
He also pressed forward a few other key changes that doomed the American war effort before they even began.
Naturally, we learned our lesson about building our future and policy around computer models… right? We’ve learned that they are only as good as their inputs and ability to account for all variables… right?
Uh — not so much. That would by why today’s computer models for Coronavirus (or the Environment, for that matter) have needed some MAJOR updates and changes.
Is it possible we can step aside from computer models and let our leaders do what they have always done best? Listen to the best available ideas and inputs from a variety of sources — weigh one against the other, and chart a course forward.
That generation — like ours — relied overmuch on two things. And in THEIR generation, that kicked off an entire generation of problems best summed up by the phrase ‘welcome to the suck’.
Those two things are Experts and Computer Models.
If we challenge computer models — even NOW — it’s not because we’re concerned about blowing up the economy for reasons that may not make that big an impact in the first place. No. if we ask those questions, it’s *obviously* because we are evil ghouls who WANT to see the deaths of Americans.
And that goes double for the computer models Environmentalists use to predict a very similar kind of ‘dire warnings’ that also requires immediate and dire actions to avoid deadly catastrophes hat are barreling down that road, headed right for us.
There is a danger in putting too much confidence in the magic of computer models — especially when they are tasked with charting trends that intersect with human nature: our fears, our creativity, our crisis response, or with other scenarios with input variables approaching the infinite.
There is also a risk in offloading personal or localized responsibilities onto the desks of some remotely-placed experts.
As a ‘for instance’ those who relied on the advice of the ‘experts’ at WHO found themselves far worse off than those who were looking at leaked footage a growing crisis in Wuhan that did NOT fit the official government narrative of what was going on there.
And here’s a Time headline on the official guidance our beloved ‘experts’ have given on the value of face masks: