We Have Met the Enemy and he is Powerpoint

When General Stanley A. McChrystal, leader of American and NATO troops in Afghanistan, was shown the above slide his response was simple: “when we understand that slide, we’ll have won the war.” The New York Times has a great article on PowerPoint use in the American military, and how it’s just as irritating and time-wasting there as everywhere else, if not more so:

“PowerPoint makes us stupid,” Gen. James N. Mattis of the Marine Corps, the Joint Forces commander, said this month at a military conference in North Carolina. (He spoke without PowerPoint.) Brig. Gen. H. R. McMaster, who banned PowerPoint presentations when he led the successful effort to secure the northern Iraqi city of Tal Afar in 2005, followed up at the same conference by likening PowerPoint to an internal threat.

“It’s dangerous because it can create the illusion of understanding and the illusion of control,” General McMaster said in a telephone interview afterward. “Some problems in the world are not bullet-izable.”

Enemy Lurks in Briefings on Afghan War [NYTimes]

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