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OSS on Bureaucracy and Sabotage

The Volokh Conspiracy.

In January 1944, the Office of Strategic Services created a secret document entitled “Simple Sabotage Field Manual” (available hereas a free audio book) to assist operatives in disrupting the Axis war effort.  It contains the expected stuff about starting fires and shorting electrical systems.  But the most enlightening stuff comes at pages 28–31, in a section entitled “General Interference with Organizations and Production.”  There, we learn that our secret weapon against the Nazi war machine was . . . bureaucracy.  Note these ingenious plots:

(a) Organizations and Conferences
(1) Insist on doing everything through “channels.”  Never permit short-cuts to be taken in order to expedite decisions.
* * *
(3) When possible, refer all matters to committees, for “further study and consideration.”  Attempt to make the committees as large as possible–never less than five.
(4) Bring up irrelevant issues as frequently as possible.
(5) Haggle over precise wordings of communications, minutes, resolutions.
(6) Refer back to matters decided upon at the last meeting and attempt to re-open the question of the advisability of that decision.
(7) Advocate “caution.”  Be “reasonable” and urge your fellow-conferees to be “reasonable” and avoid haste which might result in embarrassments or difficulties later on.
(8) Be worried about the propriety of any decision–raise the question of whether such action as is contemplated lies within the jurisdiction of the group or whether it might conflict with the policy of some higher echelon.

More nuggets after the jump.

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