I don't know why someone hasn't commented on this, but that notwithstanding, I agree with you, Mr. Crary!
In round figures, an MOA is 1 inch (1.04 to be exact) at 100 yards, yet between mil dots the difference is ≈3.6 inches, which makes it difficult to do the calculations in your head! In this short article (http://www.pyramydair.com/article/What_is_a_mil_dot_scope_November_2004/18
) they try to explain mil dots, but never cover MOA! And then there is this (http://precisionrifleblog.com/2013/07/20/mil-vs-moa-an-objective-comparison/
). They sort of explain the difference, but if you aren't proficient in geometry, about all it does is complicate the differences! And just recently, I made a comment on the X-Sight II users blog about the crux of this very issue. They answer I got was more amusing than factual.
All this points out that lack of a standard, and one the military overlooks as well. If you think not, look at the turrets on a military rifle scope! But if you really want to be confused, compare a first focal plane reticle to a second plane one! Oh! Geez! Now that is a can of worms.
Referring back to the X-Sight II post, I was essentially saying that the best accuracy was achieved by NOT relying on mil dots or MOA. Rather teach yourself the guesstimate (or measured distance), and use your eyes to provide the holdover by using the known (arctangent) height of the target. This must work, because that is the method which Carlos Hathcock used.