Sunday, 6 February 2011

The fog of the war on the motorist

A month or so ago I was lent a copy of a documentary called “The Fog of War”. In this Robert McNamara, (1916-2009), former US Secretary of Defence reflects on the lessons he learned during a life that involved advising Kennedy during the Cuban Missile Crisis, and Johnson during the Vietnam War. Before he worked for Kennedy, McNamara ran the Ford Motor Company, and after Johnson fired him he ran the World Bank. It's not important, but it's quite interesting that his middle name was "Strange".

I've been mulling over the idea that  his eleven lessons of war might be applied to this mythical war between cyclists and motorists:

  1. Empathize with your enemy
  2. Rationality will not save us
  3. There's something beyond one's self
  4. Maximize efficiency
  5. Proportionality should be a guideline in war
  6. Get the data
  7. Belief and seeing are often both wrong
  8. Be prepared to re-examine your reasoning
  9. In order to do good, you may have to engage in evil
  10. Never say never
  11. You can't change human nature

I suspect some of them would - if only I could figure out who my enemy is supposed to be. The fact that I can’t even answer that presumably means that I’m stuck on rule #1.

There's more about Mr McNamara here, and the whole Fog of War documentary can be viewed here.


M said...

Number 9 is a bit worryingly undefined, although maybe ok as long as you follow 5 as well.

Paul said...

That's an easy one; quoting Denzil Washington in Crimson Tide "In my humble opinion, .... the true enemy is war itself.