America’s dashboard GPS of war

GPS device.
On-board GPS device.

I’ve read more than one news item describing how drivers sometimes place too much faith in their GPS navigation devices. Guided by the disembodied voice coming from the dashboard, some have doggedly followed dirt roads to nowhere, faced oncoming one-way traffic, or narrowly avoided driving over cliffs. The authority of the voice-in-a-box overrules common sense and years of practical experience.

Something similar seems to have happened to our political classes with regard to both Afghanistan and Iraq.

Our best-and-brightest launched these wars as part of a highly sophisticated, digitally guided, grand global strategy, more accurate and efficient than the mere paper plans of past wars. Ever since, and despite the skeptics in the back seat, our drivers have held the course in defiance of what their own eyes and ears and common sense revealed.

The moral compass never stood a chance against the GPS. We argue over the device’s accuracy, but not its programmed destination, which remains on a need-to-know basis. The map on the GPS screen bears no resemblance to the landscape we drive through. We keep going — and going — and we lengthen our wake of rubble, bloody rags, and body parts of uncounted souls.

Are we there yet?

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