29 March 2007

Two Quotes On War

It appears we have appointed our worst generals to command forces, and our most gifted and brilliant to edit newspapers. In fact, I discovered by reading newspapers that these editor/geniuses plainly saw all my strategic defects from the start, yet failed to inform me until it was too late.

Accordingly , I'm readily willing to yield my command to these obviously superior intellects, and I'll, in turn, do my best for the Cause by writing editorials - after the fact.

-- Robert E. Lee in 1863

Hat Tip to DefenseTech.org.

In the 1983 movie "War Games", from which the quote below is drawn, Joshua is self-aware computer that has taken over the U.S. nuclear missile launch system. Stephen Falken is the scientist who programmed him. David Lightman is a hacker who set Joshua on a horrible path to destroying the world. Jennifer is his aerobics instructor girlfriend.

Stephen Falken: Except, that I never could get Joshua to learn the most important lesson.
David Lightman: What's that?
Stephen Falken: Futility. That there's a time when you should just give up.
Jennifer: What kind of a lesson is that?
Stephen Falken: Did you ever play tic-tac-toe?
Jennifer: Yeah, of course.
Stephen Falken: But you don't anymore.
Jennifer: No.
Stephen Falken: Why?
Jennifer: Because it's a boring game. It's always a tie.
Stephen Falken: Exactly. There's no way to win. The game itself is pointless! . . . . .
[later, after playing out all possible outcomes for Global Thermonuclear War]
Joshua: Greetings, Professor Falken.
Stephen Falken: Hello, Joshua.
Joshua: A strange game. The only winning move is not to play. How about a nice game of chess?

I conclude that we learned something in 120 years.

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