Saint-Exupéry, on the aerial front line of a desperate war effort, sums up the difficulties facing the French military leadership; not lack of military knowledge or experience, but of access to the reality on the ground. 

The General Staff was like a first-rate bridge player who is asked by someone sitting in a game in the next room, ‘What do you think I ought to do with the queen of spades?’  How can the expert, knowing nothing of that particular game, have an opinion about that queen of spades?  

Source: Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Flight to Arras, trans. by Lewis Galantière (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1961), p. 12

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