Wednesday, July 6, 2011

...begging the question, "why does the military hate English?"

Aw, isn't this cute? The J-7 is worried about inter-service communication!
Over 25 years after the Goldwater-Nichols Department of Defense Reorganization Act of 1986 mandated "jointness," Service personnel still sometimes struggle to communicate with one another during joint operations. No doubt there has been marked improvement, but there is room for more.
Maybe they should instead worry about the individual services developing internally consistent, sensible lexicons instead of proliferating idiotic, poorly-defined, valueless terms like "building partner capacity."

Also: There's no small irony in the fact that a journal article premised on the contention that "words matter" includes this howler:
White cap and wave were defined in JP 1–02 almost exactly as they are in the Concise Oxford English Dictionary, begging the question of their utility as entries. [emphasis added]
That's NOT WHAT "BEGGING THE QUESTION" MEANS, BRO. (See here for deets.)

Good thing we're all guided by the mantra "precise terms used precisely"!


  1. It's all in here.


  2. ADTS -- Surely you know I've linked to that essay like 14 times on here, right? (Or maybe I just think I have.) One of my favorites.

  3. Gulliver:

    Actually, I didn't.

    It is indeed a good one - I read it in tenth grade English and it's still stuck with me for many years after.


  4. If I could get a buck for all the times I've seen the term "building partner capacity" over the past year, I'd be a very happy man. It goes right along with the whole COIN doctrine BS. Flavor of the year.

  5. ADTS, I love that essay. It's good to read it regularly, just to make sure you haven't picked up some bad habits.

    My intern just wrote up some events notes that had good examples of all five things he talks about.


  6. It is an amazing essay. Must admit I got the same "aha" experience by reading Neal Postman "Amusing ourselves to Death" on the memetic qualities of television.

    this is strictly not allowed, I know, but I would point to the Israeli/Palestine debate for a fascinating example of argumentation gone wrong, where memetic cycles crash and collide instead of in any way providing communication. Hasbara as a concept is a ...interesting... structure from the Israeli side.