Wednesday, May 06, 2009

On getting inside our OODA Loop

I just now stumbled over a May 4 NYT article in which Jane Perlez interviews a Pakistani Taliban on the subject of Obama's 'surge' of 20,000 troops to Afghanistan. Not to worry, says the Talib; all that will happen is that the Americans will kill more villagers and thus make new recruits for the cause. As for the insurgents' strategy, he explained it thus: 'We want to inflict maximum trouble, to lower their morale, to destabilize.'

John Boyd could have written that sentence! Get inside the other guy's OODA Loop--decision cycle--and inevitably he'll come unglued. It's true for fighter pilots, for nations at war, and indeed for any human competition. In two conflicts with Saddam Hussein, the US military got very good at this. But Saddam was notably dumb. The Taliban, by contrast, don't seem dumb at all. Blue skies! -- Dan Ford

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