RAND, which Pravda called "the academy of science and death," was the brainchild of the Army Air Forces. It was established in 1946, at the start of the postwar era, when American social scientists believed economics could solve political and strategic problems by reducing them to their essence through mathematical constructs based on game theory. RAND analysts tended to forget, however, that they were discussing the actions of human beings. Such hubris would eventually help land America in Vietnam, where the Vietcong refused to behave according to the tidy models of warfare and nation-building that RAND scholars had constructed and that Defense Secretary Robert McNamara had employed, as he pointed to his charts and rattled off statistics about body counts and the efficacy of strategic bombing.
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Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Interesting book review on RAND. Here is an excerpt: