An Alternate Reality

Late this afternoon I drove from Berkeley to south San Jose, a two-hour journey along crowded but fast-moving freeways. Usually I'll spend a long drive contemplating the future or just letting my brain hop from one topic to the next: Honda Accord as isolation chamber. Today I cut on the radio. NPR was broadcasting Senate hearings on 9-11.

Deja vu. Senate hearings are an old dance form. Al Pacino and Robert Duvall in the Godfather captured them perfectly. The McCarthy Hearings were better live tango than Uncle Miltie ("Senator, have you no common decency?"). The propaganda & innuendo of the House Unamerican Activities Committee waltzed through my school and countless others (Operation Abolition -- Watch the lefties ride the spray of the firehose down the steps of San Francisco City Hall). The Watergate shuffle kept me glued to the tube for the better part of a summer (bonus points: John Dean lived in the same block in Alexandria as my parents at the time).

When Rummy came on today to go through the motions, the image of Robert McNamara kept popping into my head. In Fog of War, McNamara says that when they ask you a question, you don't answer it. Instead, you answer the question you wish they'd asked. I smiled as a senator told Rumsfeld that his answer was great but it didn't address the question he'd been asked.

The central theme of today's inquiry, and I'm cutting a few corners here, boils down to "Does shit happen?" A senator would ask whether we shouldn't have figured that bad guys might hijack airplanes and fly them into buildings. No, not necessarily, would come the reply. You can't be ready for everything. The smart-ass senator would suggest that maybe if we'd declared war on Al Quaida, that would have focused our attention. How so? asked the intel guys, noting that while always alert to avoiding "collateral damage," we've been trying to off Osama for years. Declaring war on a decentralized organization that flies no flag wouldn't have helped. Yeah, but maybe we'd have assessed "actionable intelligence" more liberally. I'm certainly not an apologist for Rummy, but the Senate's Monday-morning quarterbacking is so far from reality, it makes me ill.

Hey, you guys inside the Beltway, the world is unpredictable. Get over it. Sometimes there's no one to blame. As I mentioned, shit happens. Q.E.D. Deal with it. Let's work on improving the situation. Or is that too bi-partisan?

Coming up next: Religion. (Just fooling.)



Posted by Jay Cross at March 23, 2004 08:52 PM | TrackBack
Comments

30 Poppy Lane
Berkeley, California 94708

1.510.528.3105 (office & cell)



Subscribe to this Blog

Enter your email address to subscribe. We vow never to share your information with anyone. No Spam.

Subscribe Unsubscribe

Reference Pages

Articles
Blogs
Building Community
CSS, Semantic Mark-Up, and codes
Design
First Principles
Glossary
How People Learn
Knowledge Management
Learning Links
Learning Standards
Making It Work (Implementing)
Metrics & ROI
Presentations
Psychology
Social Software
String theory
The eLearning Museum
Time
Visual Learning


Search


Our Infrequent Newsletter
Sign up for our sporadic newsletter.
Email:


Entries by category...

Blogging
Books
Collaboration
Customer care
Design
Emergent Learning
handbook
Jokes
Just Jay
Learning
Meta
Networking
Outbound
Recycled from Blogger
Ref
store
The Industry
Time
Visual
Workflow-based eLearning


Blogroll


Internet Time Group



© 2004 Internet Time Group



Click for Berkeley, California Forecast
Berkeley, California


Recent entries

New Blog
Blogger Experience, Housekeeping, Something New
Loosely Coupled
Above all
Demographics is destiny
Are you setting the bar high enough?
Virtual Apps
Aerobic Learning
Work as Video Game
Oracle and Macromedia, Sitting in a Tree
The Blogosphere
ASTD Silicon Valley
Performance Support
Kingsbridge Conference Center
First Post by Email
Transition
Inactive Blog
RSS Feed for New Site
Comment Spam
Testing ... testing ... 1...2..3
IT Doesn't Matter - Learning Does.
All blogging is political
Mutlimedia Learning
Damn, damn, double damn
Nonverbal impact?
The New Religion
Shhhhh.....
Wolf! Wolf! Wolf! Wolf! Wolf! Wolf!
Business Process Management (2)
Really Big
Business Process Management Conference
WorkFLOW
Don't Lose a Common Sense: LISTEN
It's only natural
Gmail!
Go with the flow
Time Out for the Fair
Informal get-together in SF this Wednesday
Repetition, reverb, and echoes
Who Knows?
Ur-blogging
Cognitive Mapping
Push vs pull
The Big Picture on ROI
Art Break
TDF Finale
New Community of Practice Forming
Dropouts
More TDF04
Training Directors Forum 2004
A Rare One-Liner
PlaNetwork LIVE 2
PlaNetwork LIVE
ASTD 2004 Leftovers
Googlism
Worker Effectiveness Improvement, not KM
Upcoming Events
eLearning Effectiveness?
Jay's Talk at ASTD
Mintzberg & Cooperider
Lest ye forget
ASTD International Conference & Exposition 2004
Knowledge Tips
What is Workflow Learning?
ASTD msg 1 of n
Look out, it's Outlook
Collaboration at ASTD Next Week
Tell me a story
User indifference
Interdependence
The shortest presentation on metrics you will ever hear
Back to Blogger
Windows fixes
The Alchemy of Growth
Grab bag
Very loosely coupled
E-Learning from Practice to Profit
Robin Good kicks off Competitive Edge
China Bloggers
Sonoma Dreaming
Upcoming Events
Emergent Learning Forum: Simulations
'Lanta
The Best Things in Life Are Free
Metrics and Web Services
OpEd: ROI vs. Metrics
e-Merging e-Learning
Loosely Coupled
Search me
Exercise?