Thursday, March 6, 2008

The 'Fog of war'

The ‘Fog of war’ is a phrase that has been created in order to help explain why mistakes are made. Historians have so much more data to work with than the people who are involved do. The person on the scene is only making calculated risk decisions. After the war is over, the other side can be interviewed. Data about strength and position that is not available (For obvious reasons) is then available. Many times this additional information can make past decisions look silly. Sometimes a decision can be made for the wrong reasons (Or based upon faulty information) and by pure luck turns out to be very sound. It can be easy to pass judgement upon others when you know how everything turns out. In other words, it can be easy to be a monday morning quarterback when referring to warfare. This is a bad habit some historians have, and I work constantly to remember this. It is important to keep in mind that we are just guessing most of the time, particularly when looking at information about recent and current events.

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