Thursday, October 11, 2012

If a decision tree falls and no one is around

Regarding Britain's 1839 invasion and occupation of Afghanistan,
"...each of the advocates of British strategy—Auckland, Macnaghten, Hobhouse, and Palmerston—found distinctive ways of belittling or marginalizing his opponents. Lord Auckland dealt with the warnings of his predecessor, Metcalfe, by assuring him that no decisions had been made, and then suddenly that the decisions had already been made, and it was too late to quibble... ."
Lessons from Afghanistan, by Rory Stewart, review of The Dark Defile: Britain’s Catastrophic Invasion of Afghanistan, 1838–1842, by Diana Preston, The New York Review of Books, August 16, 2012 ($).

The occupation was abandoned in 1842 and the 15,000 soldiers and associated civilians withdrew; ultimately, of that number, one man made it back to India alive.

This decision-making technique is applied elsewhere, see Opposition is Futile.

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