Understanding the military language

Where have we been?
User avatar
Flash
Has More Than 6K Posts
Posts: 6001
Joined: Tue Mar 29, 2005 10:09 pm
Location: Ontario, Canada

Understanding the military language

Postby Flash » Mon Apr 18, 2016 4:11 am

William Astore has written an interesting article for TomDispatch on the meaning of the military language with direct translations into English.

Pentagon, as it turns out has this uncanny propensity for development of not only new and deadly weapons but also a new form of English which ordinary people often find hard to understand. It's not done because some Pentagon generals want to trump Shakespeare in creation of a new Queen's English but, as William Astore points out, it's done in order to confuse and obfuscate the trusting populace regarding some not so successful war or military operation.

Boots on the ground - your actual number of troops doing what has to be done...fighting I guess.
No fly zone - we have shot all of the guy's or country's planes down.
Safe zone - you can walk from the mess hall to your quarters without getting shot unless somebody is firing rockets.
Surgical strike - we bomb everything including the empty desert.
Surge - {!#%@} we are loosing, we need more troops.
Shock and awe - we've bombed the {!#%@} out of them, there is nothing more to destroy.
IED - the roadside bomb, goes boom when you drive by it.
Global war on terror - we divide the terrorist into good and bad ones and then give the good ones free weapons which are then promptly handed over to the bad ones.
Overseas contingency operations - all of our foreign wars.
Asymmetrical warfare - when you can't catch the suckers in sandals and with Kalashnikovs who put IEDs everywhere.
The grey zone - we don't know what the {!#%@} is going on here. We'll drop some dollars from helicopters to find out.
VUCA - volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous. We don't know what is going on. We'll drop lots of dollars from helicopters to find out.
COIN -counterinsurgency, that's when we kidnap civilians at night and send them to Gitmo.
4GW - Fourth generation warfare. It's like the war in Afghanistan, it will never end.
Enduring concept - permanent base
Military gains that are fragile and reversible - they are really not the military gains at all.
Military offensive is on the road - it's like the present Iraqi offensive to retake Mosul, nothing is happening.
Targeted killings - we just kill everybody in a certain area.
Detention camp - the concentration camp.
Detainees - prisoners
Black sites - prisons where we torture the prisoners. Nobody knows about them except the Internet press.
Extraordinary rendition - kidnapping
And finally, yes, the enhanced interrogation techniques - well, what do you think it is? Spontaneous confessions to Uncle Sam?
When I feel like exercising, I just lie down until the feeling goes away. Paul Terry

User avatar
ElectricMonk
Persistent Poster
Posts: 3076
Joined: Thu Mar 26, 2015 6:21 pm
Custom Title: His Beatitude

Re: Understanding the military language

Postby ElectricMonk » Mon Apr 18, 2016 4:49 am

What about

collateral damage
- hit everything in range of a possible target since they are all guilty by association
I've come up with a set of rules that describe our reactions to technologies:
Spoiler:
1. Anything that is in the world when you’re born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works.
2. Anything that's invented between when you’re fifteen and thirty-five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it.
3. Anything invented after you're thirty-five is against the natural order of things.
- Douglas Adams

bobbo_the_Pragmatist
True Skeptic
Posts: 10228
Joined: Wed Sep 09, 2015 9:39 am

Re: Understanding the military language

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Mon Apr 18, 2016 4:54 am

Most of those definitions are not accurate. Meant to be some kind of sarcasm I assume. Things close to one another if not the very same thing must be treated differently depending on what you call them.

Easy.
Real Name: bobbo the existential pragmatic evangelical anti-theist and Class Warrior.
Asking: What is the most good for the most people?
Sample Issue: Should the Feds provide all babies with free diapers?

Matthew Ellard
Real Skeptic
Posts: 26371
Joined: Fri Jun 13, 2008 3:31 am

Re: Understanding the military language

Postby Matthew Ellard » Mon Apr 18, 2016 5:08 am

I simply think the military, like the merchant navy, holds a large number of men with a common activity. Therefore, like the merchant navy, a jargon based language has evolved.

However these words, in some cases have a particular meaning in a military context, that we can't see. If you read older military reports you have to know the other meaning to make sense of the report. I'm suspicious that these terms are taught to officers in military academies.

A general putting on a "demonstration" is really making a distraction to force the enemy to respond to their activities.

A "skirmish" is a side battle that either leads up to the main battle, or is simply a small battle stopping an enemy flanking your MLR (main line of resistance)

User avatar
Flash
Has More Than 6K Posts
Posts: 6001
Joined: Tue Mar 29, 2005 10:09 pm
Location: Ontario, Canada

Re: Understanding the military language

Postby Flash » Tue Apr 19, 2016 4:47 am

The German army during the Second World War used to announce the "temporary tactical withdrawals" It meant; we got badly beat and we are running.

And the Americans in Vietnam had this almost poetic expression "the free fire zone" to designate an area where anything that moved could be killed.
When I feel like exercising, I just lie down until the feeling goes away. Paul Terry

Matthew Ellard
Real Skeptic
Posts: 26371
Joined: Fri Jun 13, 2008 3:31 am

Re: Understanding the military language

Postby Matthew Ellard » Tue Apr 19, 2016 4:59 am

My favourite "most awful" military expression is to "write down" the enemy's assets.

That means "if we kill 60,000 of your teenage soldiers before you kill 60,000 of our teenage soldiers....We win!"

Tom Palven
Perpetual Poster
Posts: 4730
Joined: Wed Sep 03, 2008 12:29 am

Re: Understanding the military language

Postby Tom Palven » Sat Apr 23, 2016 1:41 pm

What does "cowardly" mean in military-speak?

Apparently ISIS is cowardly, but it's not cowardly to bomb them from high altitude, or kill them with drones manned at play stations in Nevada and Langley, Virginia:

http://news.antiwar.com/2016/04/22/pent ... september/
If one can be taught to believe absurdities, one can commit atrocities. --Voltaire

User avatar
Gawdzilla Sama
Has No Life
Posts: 19478
Joined: Sun Jun 01, 2008 2:11 am
Custom Title: Deadly but evil.

Re: Understanding the military language

Postby Gawdzilla Sama » Sat Apr 23, 2016 1:46 pm

Tom Palven wrote:What does "cowardly" mean in military-speak?

Apparently ISIS is cowardly, but it's not cowardly to bomb them from high altitude, or kill them with drones manned at play stations in Nevada and Langley, Virginia:

http://news.antiwar.com/2016/04/22/pent ... september/

I used to fire a gun that could kill at four miles. When I could do that I did. I never lost any sleep worrying about "fair play".
Chachacha wrote:"Oh, thweet mythtery of wife, at waft I've found you!"

WWII Resources. Primary sources.
The Myths of Pearl Harbor. Demythologizing the attack.
Hyperwar. Hypertext history of the Second World War.
The greatest place to work in the entire United States.

User avatar
Gawdzilla Sama
Has No Life
Posts: 19478
Joined: Sun Jun 01, 2008 2:11 am
Custom Title: Deadly but evil.

Re: Understanding the military language

Postby Gawdzilla Sama » Sat Apr 23, 2016 1:48 pm

One of my favorite phrases, "Gator Freighter", an amphibious assault ship that delivered Marines to the shore.
Chachacha wrote:"Oh, thweet mythtery of wife, at waft I've found you!"

WWII Resources. Primary sources.
The Myths of Pearl Harbor. Demythologizing the attack.
Hyperwar. Hypertext history of the Second World War.
The greatest place to work in the entire United States.

Tom Palven
Perpetual Poster
Posts: 4730
Joined: Wed Sep 03, 2008 12:29 am

Re: Understanding the military language

Postby Tom Palven » Sat Apr 23, 2016 7:06 pm

Gawdzilla Sama wrote:
Tom Palven wrote:What does "cowardly" mean in military-speak?

Apparently ISIS is cowardly, but it's not cowardly to bomb them from high altitude, or kill them with drones manned at play stations in Nevada and Langley, Virginia:

http://news.antiwar.com/2016/04/22/pent ... september/

I used to fire a gun that could kill at four miles. When I could do that I did. I never lost any sleep worrying about "fair play".


Yeah, but you're an American. It would probably be considered cowardly for a Muslim homeboy to do something like that.
If one can be taught to believe absurdities, one can commit atrocities. --Voltaire

User avatar
Gawdzilla Sama
Has No Life
Posts: 19478
Joined: Sun Jun 01, 2008 2:11 am
Custom Title: Deadly but evil.

Re: Understanding the military language

Postby Gawdzilla Sama » Sat Apr 23, 2016 7:53 pm

Tom Palven wrote:
Gawdzilla Sama wrote:
Tom Palven wrote:What does "cowardly" mean in military-speak?

Apparently ISIS is cowardly, but it's not cowardly to bomb them from high altitude, or kill them with drones manned at play stations in Nevada and Langley, Virginia:

http://news.antiwar.com/2016/04/22/pent ... september/

I used to fire a gun that could kill at four miles. When I could do that I did. I never lost any sleep worrying about "fair play".


Yeah, but you're an American. It would probably be considered cowardly for a Muslim homeboy to do something like that.

Some of the bravest men I've ever met went into battle wearing black pajamas. Some of the craziest, too.
Chachacha wrote:"Oh, thweet mythtery of wife, at waft I've found you!"

WWII Resources. Primary sources.
The Myths of Pearl Harbor. Demythologizing the attack.
Hyperwar. Hypertext history of the Second World War.
The greatest place to work in the entire United States.

User avatar
Gord
Real Skeptic
Posts: 29108
Joined: Wed Apr 29, 2009 2:44 am
Custom Title: Silent Ork
Location: Transcona

Re: Understanding the military language

Postby Gord » Sat Apr 23, 2016 9:41 pm

Gawdzilla Sama wrote:
Tom Palven wrote:
Gawdzilla Sama wrote:
Tom Palven wrote:What does "cowardly" mean in military-speak?

Apparently ISIS is cowardly, but it's not cowardly to bomb them from high altitude, or kill them with drones manned at play stations in Nevada and Langley, Virginia:

http://news.antiwar.com/2016/04/22/pent ... september/

I used to fire a gun that could kill at four miles. When I could do that I did. I never lost any sleep worrying about "fair play".


Yeah, but you're an American. It would probably be considered cowardly for a Muslim homeboy to do something like that.

Some of the bravest men I've ever met went into battle wearing black pajamas. Some of the craziest, too.

I went to an astronomy class dressed like that, nobody thought I was brave.









...Ohhhhhhh, okay, I see it now.
"Knowledge grows through infinite timelessness" -- the random fictional Deepak Chopra quote site
"You are also taking my words out of context." -- Justin
"Nullius in verba" -- The Royal Society ["take nobody's word for it"]
#ANDAMOVIE

User avatar
Flash
Has More Than 6K Posts
Posts: 6001
Joined: Tue Mar 29, 2005 10:09 pm
Location: Ontario, Canada

Re: Understanding the military language

Postby Flash » Sun Apr 24, 2016 12:30 am

I forgot to put my black pajamas on and went to my math class anyway. They redirected me to the fine arts department as a nude model.
When I feel like exercising, I just lie down until the feeling goes away. Paul Terry

User avatar
Gawdzilla Sama
Has No Life
Posts: 19478
Joined: Sun Jun 01, 2008 2:11 am
Custom Title: Deadly but evil.

Re: Understanding the military language

Postby Gawdzilla Sama » Sun Apr 24, 2016 1:14 am

Flash wrote:I forgot to put my black pajamas on and went to my math class anyway. They redirected me to the fine arts department as a nude model.

And H. R. Geiger was eternally grateful. ;)
Chachacha wrote:"Oh, thweet mythtery of wife, at waft I've found you!"

WWII Resources. Primary sources.
The Myths of Pearl Harbor. Demythologizing the attack.
Hyperwar. Hypertext history of the Second World War.
The greatest place to work in the entire United States.

Matthew Ellard
Real Skeptic
Posts: 26371
Joined: Fri Jun 13, 2008 3:31 am

Re: Understanding the military language

Postby Matthew Ellard » Sun Apr 24, 2016 6:24 am

Tom Palven wrote:What does "cowardly" mean in military-speak?


In Australia a LMF is the medical military term for a coward. "Low moral fibre".

Some people can't fight and that's absolutely fair and understandable.

Tom Palven
Perpetual Poster
Posts: 4730
Joined: Wed Sep 03, 2008 12:29 am

Re: Understanding the military language

Postby Tom Palven » Sun Apr 24, 2016 10:07 am

Matthew Ellard wrote:
Tom Palven wrote:What does "cowardly" mean in military-speak?


In Australia a LMF is the medical military term for a coward. "Low moral fibre".

Some people can't fight and that's absolutely fair and understandable.



Anger can make heroes out of cowards.

Josh Billings said that Money can buy you a good dog, but it won't buy the wag of it's tail.

There are probably guys making a few bucks to make ends meet in the Iraqi army who desert when it comes under fire, but if their wives and kids lined up a bakery got killed by a drone, which happens every day in the Mid-East, would be more than happy to strap on a bomb and detonate it in a group of NATO soldiers.

Aren't Mid-Easterners so friggin' lucky to have the Russians and the US fight their war there?
http://news.antiwar.com/2016/04/22/obam ... yria-as-...
If one can be taught to believe absurdities, one can commit atrocities. --Voltaire

User avatar
Gawdzilla Sama
Has No Life
Posts: 19478
Joined: Sun Jun 01, 2008 2:11 am
Custom Title: Deadly but evil.

Re: Understanding the military language

Postby Gawdzilla Sama » Sun Apr 24, 2016 11:33 am

Matthew Ellard wrote:
Tom Palven wrote:What does "cowardly" mean in military-speak?


In Australia a LMF is the medical military term for a coward. "Low moral fibre".

Some people can't fight and that's absolutely fair and understandable.

I read an AAR* from the Marine General commanding the troops on Bougainville in WWII. He stated that "combat fatigue" was simply cowardice and the Marines who suffered from this should never be put in a position of importance again. I wondered if he'd ever actually been under fire. :roll:


*After Action Report, the official record of events.
Chachacha wrote:"Oh, thweet mythtery of wife, at waft I've found you!"

WWII Resources. Primary sources.
The Myths of Pearl Harbor. Demythologizing the attack.
Hyperwar. Hypertext history of the Second World War.
The greatest place to work in the entire United States.

Matthew Ellard
Real Skeptic
Posts: 26371
Joined: Fri Jun 13, 2008 3:31 am

Re: Understanding the military language

Postby Matthew Ellard » Mon Apr 25, 2016 12:38 am

Matthew Ellard wrote: Some people can't fight and that's absolutely fair and understandable.

Gawdzilla Sama wrote:I read an AAR* from the Marine General commanding the troops on Bougainville in WWII. He stated that "combat fatigue" was simply cowardice and the Marines who suffered from this should never be put in a position of importance again. I wondered if he'd ever actually been under fire. :roll:


My understanding is that the American services "got this right" and kept shell shocked soldiers at psychiatric facilities near the front. If some poor bloke has the "temporary shakes" after being bombarded by Japanese for a couple of days or seen his friend's head blown off, then you don't destroy his remaining fragile dignity by calling him a coward.

That Marine general should have been taken outside for a quick summary trial and then shot (It keeps the other generals on their toes).
:D

If I want to break down a person in an interrogation, I would use loud noises, lack of sleep, bad food, extreme varying temperatures and cut off all outside information. Yet this is exactly what a front line soldier has to live through. I consider it an insult to call a soldier a coward for "temporarily getting the shakes" when those techniques are used to do exactly that to people of interest being interrogated.

User avatar
Gawdzilla Sama
Has No Life
Posts: 19478
Joined: Sun Jun 01, 2008 2:11 am
Custom Title: Deadly but evil.

Re: Understanding the military language

Postby Gawdzilla Sama » Mon Apr 25, 2016 11:53 am

"The shakes" were pretty unpredictable, you never knew who would get them. A seasoned veteran was less likely to be affected but by no means immune.
Chachacha wrote:"Oh, thweet mythtery of wife, at waft I've found you!"

WWII Resources. Primary sources.
The Myths of Pearl Harbor. Demythologizing the attack.
Hyperwar. Hypertext history of the Second World War.
The greatest place to work in the entire United States.

User avatar
ElectricMonk
Persistent Poster
Posts: 3076
Joined: Thu Mar 26, 2015 6:21 pm
Custom Title: His Beatitude

Re: Understanding the military language

Postby ElectricMonk » Mon Apr 25, 2016 12:55 pm

I thought that 'shell shocked' was a physical thing, the result of shockwaves royally messing with your cells ion-channels in a way poorly understood.
I've come up with a set of rules that describe our reactions to technologies:
Spoiler:
1. Anything that is in the world when you’re born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works.
2. Anything that's invented between when you’re fifteen and thirty-five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it.
3. Anything invented after you're thirty-five is against the natural order of things.
- Douglas Adams

User avatar
Gawdzilla Sama
Has No Life
Posts: 19478
Joined: Sun Jun 01, 2008 2:11 am
Custom Title: Deadly but evil.

Re: Understanding the military language

Postby Gawdzilla Sama » Mon Apr 25, 2016 1:57 pm

ElectricMonk wrote:I thought that 'shell shocked' was a physical thing, the result of shockwaves royally messing with your cells ion-channels in a way poorly understood.

The barrages in WWI could last for days, continuous shelling. It's more properly "the shock from being shelled constantly", but we do love our short-hand.
Chachacha wrote:"Oh, thweet mythtery of wife, at waft I've found you!"

WWII Resources. Primary sources.
The Myths of Pearl Harbor. Demythologizing the attack.
Hyperwar. Hypertext history of the Second World War.
The greatest place to work in the entire United States.

Matthew Ellard
Real Skeptic
Posts: 26371
Joined: Fri Jun 13, 2008 3:31 am

Re: Understanding the military language

Postby Matthew Ellard » Tue Apr 26, 2016 12:08 am

ElectricMonk wrote:I thought that 'shell shocked' was a physical thing, the result of shockwaves royally messing with your cells ion-channels in a way poorly understood.


I think in the 1914-1918 war, that there were so many new and different things going on for the average infantry soldier, that it would have been hard for medical people to sort out what the problem actually was back then. My father, an airforce psychiatrist suggested to me, that because of the massive human loss, remaining soldiers were always "awake and doing something" and so there was general exhaustion. They couldn't rotate soldiers to give them a break.

Dad even had a WWI French military pamphlet on how to get soldier to march while sleeping. ( You tied them together with rope in columns with the first guy remaining awake. ) :D

User avatar
Flash
Has More Than 6K Posts
Posts: 6001
Joined: Tue Mar 29, 2005 10:09 pm
Location: Ontario, Canada

Re: Understanding the military language

Postby Flash » Tue Apr 26, 2016 5:20 am

Flash wrote:
I forgot to put my black pajamas on and went to my math class anyway. They redirected me to the fine arts department as a nude model.

Gawdzilla:
And H. R. Geiger was eternally grateful. ;)


220px-Birth_Machine.jpg


Yeap. ;)
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
When I feel like exercising, I just lie down until the feeling goes away. Paul Terry

Tom Palven
Perpetual Poster
Posts: 4730
Joined: Wed Sep 03, 2008 12:29 am

Re: Understanding the military language

Postby Tom Palven » Wed Apr 27, 2016 11:00 am

Sanders supports "kill lists" and escalation:
http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/B ... -0017.html
If one can be taught to believe absurdities, one can commit atrocities. --Voltaire

User avatar
Flash
Has More Than 6K Posts
Posts: 6001
Joined: Tue Mar 29, 2005 10:09 pm
Location: Ontario, Canada

Re: Understanding the military language

Postby Flash » Thu Apr 28, 2016 5:19 am

So it looks like the foreign wars are going to go on no matter who is elected.

Well, it's interesting you know, B52s were moved to Qatar, F15s went to Turkey, more of the Empire boots to Syria, the good terrorists are being armed again in Syria. The British have fighter planes and commandos in Cyprus and the French have that aircraft carrier in the Eastern Mediterranean. The fifth fleet is lurking off the coast of Arabia. And of course the fearsome Jordanian air force is obliterating ISIL as we speak. And...I am not finished yet, those trained and retrained Iraqi troops are looking at Mosul from a rather considerable distance also as we speak and the Kurds are sitting in their bunkers ready for action.

And I don't know if I should mention such hesitant allies of the Empire as the Turks and the head choppers of the region (the Saudis) both supposedly members in good standing of the Empire's coalition against ISIL.

The question is; isn't there enough fire power and troops there to destroy a bunch of islamic {!#%@} whose sole goal in life is to have a slave? It is a funny war isn't it?
When I feel like exercising, I just lie down until the feeling goes away. Paul Terry


Return to “History”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest