U.S. Airstrike in Pakistan – Making Decisions With Incomplete Information

The recent airstrike in Pakistan targeting Al Qaeda leader Ayman Zawahiri has generated protests and condemnations. It’s unclear whether Zawahiri was killed, and at least a dozen innocent civilians died.

Readers of my book review on Ghost Wars can guess that the debate over whether to drop bombs was heated. I’m sure they passed up on 10 other opportunities to try to take out Zawahiri and they decided to go for it here.

Colin Powell once said that if you wait to have more than 60% of the information you need you’ve waited too long to act. In business we tend to think the stakes are high in profits and losses. Imagine being in the war room at the CIA, making decisions with incomplete information which will surely kill innocent people.

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