CHAPTER FOUR: Paul Van Riper's Big Victory
|99-146.||A good account of the Blue Team philosophy toward war combat can be found in:
Admiral William A. Owens. "Lifting the Fog of War." 2000. Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 11.
Keith Johnstone. "Impro: Improvisation and the Theatre." New York: Routledge.
|120.||On logic puzzles:
Chad S. Dodson, Marcia K. Johnson, and Jonathan W. Schooler. "The Verbal Overshadowing Effect: Why Descriptions Impair Face Recognition." Memory & Cognition. 1997. Vol. 25. No. 2. pp. 129-139. Full article here.
Jonathan W. Schooler, Stellan Ohlsson, and Kevin Brooks. "Thoughts Beyond Words: When Language Overshadows Insight." Journal of Experimental Psychology. 1993. Vol. 122. No. 2. pp. 166-183. Purchase here.
|122.||The firefighter story and others are discussed in "Chapter Four: The Power of Intuition" of Gary Klein's "Sources of Power." 1998. MIT Press.|
|126.||Reilly's research: Brendan M. Reilly, Arthur T. Evans, Jeffrey J. Schaider, Yue Wang. "Triage of Patients with Chest Pain in the Emergency Department: A Comparative Study of Physicians' Decisions." American Journal of Medicine. 2002. Vol. 112. pp. 95-103.
A reader points out to me that no discussion of the use of decision rules in medicine is complete without mentioning the father of the field, Paul Meehl. I stand corrected.
For listings of abstracts, see here.
For a link to the abstract, see here.
Brendan Reilly et al. "Impact of a Clinical Decision Rule on Hospital Triage of Patients with Suspected Acute Cardiac Ischemia in the Emergency Department." Journal of the American Medical Society. 2002. Vol. 288. pp. 342-350. See full text article
Goldman has written several papers on his algorithm. Among them:Lee Goldman et al. "A Computer-Derived Protocol to Aid in the Diagnosis of Emergency Room Patients with Acute Chest Pain." New England Journal of Medicine. 1982. Vol. 307. p. 588-96. Find abstract here.
Lee Goldman et al. "Prediction of the Need for Intensive Care in Patients Who Come to Emergency Departments with Acute Chest Pain." New England Journal of Medicine. 1996. Vol. 334. p. 1498-504. Full text available here.
Kevin Schulman et al. "Effect of Race and Sex on Physicians' Recommendations for Cardiac Catheterization." New England Journal of Medicine. 1999. Vol. 340. No. 8. p. 619-626. Full text here.
Stuart Oskamp. "Overconfidence in Case Study Judgments." Journal of Consulting Psychology. 1965. Vol. 29. No. 3. p. 261-265. (Volume unavailable online.) For the homepage of the journal, please see here.
|In an earlier draft of Blink, I told the story of the Civil War battle of Chancellorsville. It is Paul Van Riper's favorite battle, and it's essentially a real world example of the David and Goliath story that happened during Millennium Challenge. At the advice of my editors, I removed it (editors!). But if you are curious, here it is:
"One of the most famous battles of the American Civil War took place in the in the spring of 1863, in the northern Virginia town of Chancellorsville. It pitted the legendary Confederate General Robert E. Lee against "Fighting" Joe Hooker, commander of the Union's Army of the Potomac. Lee was by then well into his fifties, and of uncertain health. He was a devout and principled man, with a long somber face and a full, gray beard. He was revered by his troops and had demonstrated, by that point in the war, an unmatched tactical genius. His opponent, Hooker, was his antithesis. Hooker was young, tall and fair. To this day, in deference to his appetites, prostitutes are nicknamed in his honor. "He was a bachelor and liked the company of women" the historian Gary Gallagher says. "Charles Francis Adams has a famous quotation that Hooker's headquarters was part barroom and part brothel and no decent person would have business there." Under his command, the Army of the Potomac had been transformed from a ragged, ill-disciplined group into what Hooker called "the finest body of soldiers the sun ever shone on." That was typical Hooker. He did not lack for self-confidence. "It is no vanity in me to say I am a damned sight better general than you had on that field," he told Lincoln after the Battle of Bull Run. And when he confronted Lee in the spring of 1863, he was even more sure of himself. "My plans are perfect," he said, before committing his troops to battle. "And when I start to carry them out, may God have mercy on Bobby Lee, for I shall have none."
The situation at Chancellorsville was quite simple. The northern corner of Virginia is bisected by the Rappahannock River, which meanders from the Shenandoah Mountains in the north and empties into Chesapeake Bay. In 1863, in the third year of the Civil War, Lee had dug in along the southern banks of the Rappahonack, midway between Richmond, the capital of the confederacy, and, to the north, Washington D.C, where President Lincoln anxiously awaited news of the war's progress. Lee had 61,000 men in his army, and was assisted by another of the Confederacy's legendary commanders, Stonewall Jackson. Hooker faced Lee across the river, and he had under his command 134,000 men and twice as many artillery pieces. One obvious option for Hooker would just have been to charge across the river at Lee directly, hoping to overwhelm him with superior numbers. But Hooker decided on something far more elegant. He took about half of his troops and had them march fifteen miles upriver, then stealthily cross the Rappahannock and march back, until they were massed directly behind Lee's army at a crossroads known as Chancellorsville. Hooker's position was unassailable. He had Lee in a vise: He had a larger army in front of him, and a larger army behind him. He had almost perfect intelligence about Lee's forces. He had an intelligence service that had allowed him to do what even today seems extraordinary--that is, move 70,000 troops into position behind his enemy's army, without his enemy realizing it. He had two hot air balloons at his disposal, which he sent up periodically and allowed him to get almost perfect aerial reconnaissance of Lee's positions. The battle of Chancellorsville was a fight that, by any normal measure, ought to have been won by the Union Army in a rout. When Hooker joined his troops at Chancellorsville, he gathered them around him and read to them his final orders: "It is with heartfelt satisfaction that the commanding general announces to the army that the operations of the last three days have determined that our enemy must either ingloriously fly, or come out from behind his own defenses and give us battle on our own ground, where certain destruction awaits." In the spring of 1863, Hooker felt every bit as confident as the commanders of Blue Team felt in the summer of 2002.
But then came the actual battle. Hooker thought that Lee, faced with such a dire situation, would retreat in the only direction he could--back to Richmond--and that in the chaos of retreat his army would be a sitting duck for the pursuing Union forces. This is the scenario that he had thought about and talked about and that had hardened in his mind. But Lee did not retreat. Instead, he divided his forces and turned, unexpectedly, to face Hooker at Chancellorsville. Hooker had the advantage of position and numbers, but now he was thrown into confusion. Lee was not acting like a man heavily outnumbered. He was acting like a man with a numerical advantage. A number of Confederate deserters were captured by the Union forces and they said that another Confederate general, Longstreet, had come to Lee defense with massive reinforcements. Was this true? The truth is that it wasn't, but Hooker was confused. On paper, he had an insurmountable advantage over Lee. But this was no longer paper. His logic problem had turned into an insight problem and he could not solve it. He told his troops to halt, then to withdraw. He ceded his battlefield advantage. "It's all right," Hooker told Couch, one of his generals. "I've got Lee just where I want him. He must fight me on my own ground." But Couch was not fooled. "I retired from his presence," he would say later, "with the belief that my commander was a whipped man."
In his magisterial history, The Civil War: p. 280.
"Perhaps Hooker at last had recalled Lincoln's admonition, 'Beware of rashness.' Perhaps at this critical juncture he missed the artificial stimulus of whiskey, which formerly had been part of his daily ration but which he had adjured on taking command. Perhaps he mistrusted his already considerable accomplishment in putting more than 70,000 soliders in Lee's immediate rear, with practically no losses because he had met practically no resistance. It had been altogether too easy; Lee must have wanted him where he was, or at any rate where he had been headed before he called a halt and ordered a pull-back. Or perhaps it was simpler than that. Perhaps he was badly frightened (not physically frightened: Hooker was never that: but morally frightened) after the manner of the bullfighter Gallo who, according to Heminway, 'was the inventor of refusing the kill the bull if the bull looked at him in a certain way.' This Gallo had a long career, featuring many farewell performances, and at the first of these, having fought the animal bravely and well, when the time came for killing . . . he turned, sword in hand, and approached the bull, which was standing there, head down, looking at him. Gallo returned to the barerra. 'You take him, Paco,' he told a fellow matador; 'I don't like the way he looks at me.' So it was with Hooker, perhaps, when he heard that Lee had turned in his direction and was, so to speak, looking at him."
Hooker was not a bad general, or a cowardly man. He knew what he had to do, and he had the instincts of a soldier. It's just that in that moment he lost those instincts. They vanished. "It's a classic example of two army commanders reaching a point of crisis, and one giving way," says Gallagher. "It’s an instance of Hooker being overawed by Lee. Lee had this effect on everyone. You play hoping you'll look good en route to defeat. I don't think there was an expectation of victory in Hooker's heart of hearts. He suspected he would not win a battle with Lee. He hoped Lee would retreat and simplify his life, and Lee didn't simplify anyone's life."
Lee was not so cowed. He sensed Hooker's paralysis and acted, without hesitation. He divided his army again, and set Stonewall Jackson, under cover of darkness and fog, to creep far around Hooker's flank and attack where the Union army felt it was most invulnerable. At just after five o'clock in the afternoon, Lee's forces attacked. Hooker's troops were eating supper. Their rifles were off to the side, stacked in piles. Lee's troops came screaming out of the surrounding forest, bayonets drawn, and Hooker's army turned and ran. "It's my favorite battle," Van Riper says. "Lee's bold. There is no damn operational net assessment there. It's the wisdom that comes from thinking about war and being engaged in it. He makes judgments. He doesn't do calculations." The battle of Chancellorsville was weeks in the planning. It involved thousands of troops, and long discussions of strategy, and enormous quantities of strategic information gathered and weighed and analyzed. But it turned, like the battle between Red and Blue Team almost 150 years later, on what happened in the moment: on the fact that when the stakes were highest, one side was capable of rapid cognition, and the other side was not.