The US military's obsession with 'lethality' has officially gone too far

Mandatory Fun

A gentle suggestion for U.S. military public affairs officials: Not everything needs to be about "lethality."

Sure, the capacity to produce death has become the single most important measure of the U.S. armed forces thanks in part to former Defense Secretary James Mattis, but that doesn't mean you need to define absolutely everything in terms of lethality.

Take this insane headline from the Air Force installation and Mission Support Center on the service's health food initiative, which is, well, galling:

The "human weapons system" mentioned here is the American airman, and according AFSVA's Food and Beverage Division chief, Bill Spencer, the service is focused on providing them "with the right nutrition to increase lethality; ensuring a more ready force to meet mission requirements."

Are you kidding me with this shit?

First of all, U.S. service members aren't "weapons systems," and describing them in the language of the the M27 Infantry Automatic Rifle or F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is weirdly dehumanizing. Yes, Gunnery Sgt. Hartman pledged to transform Marines into "killing machines" in Full Metal Jacket, but that was boot camp hype. Talking about the "human weapons system' makes it sound like DoD planners forgot Johnny Rico's most important lesson from Starship Troopers: "Men are not potatoes."

More importantly, the over-reliance on military jargon is a great indicator of why the civil-military divide exists in America. Keep things short and simple, people! If you're a public affairs official, your job is to communicate to the public in a somewhat clear and coherent fashion, and clogging up your message with unnecessarily complex terminology is a bad sign. Case in point, from this release:

With G4G, Airmen and their families can, at a glance, tell which menu items are better fuel for their bodies with simple stoplight signage.

The stoplight system is based on green, yellow and red color schemes.

Items coded as green mean they are good for your body and should be eaten often. Yellow is eat occasionally as they're moderate-performance foods and red is eat rarely because they're low-performance foods that are processed and low in nutrients.



SEE ALSO: How Mattis Made The Whole Military Obsessed With 'Lethality'

WATCH NEXT: Mattis On The Kill-Casualty Radius Of His Knife Hand

President Dwight D. Eisenhower poses with Hospital Corpsman Third Class William R. Charette, U.S. Navy, honored for his actions in Korea on 17 March 1953. (U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command)

A Medal of Honor recipient from Michigan will have a guided-missile destroyer named after him, the United States Navy announced on Monday.

Read More Show Less
President Donald Trump has ramped up airstrikes against al-Shabab in Somalia. (Associated Press/Farah Abdi Warsameh)

The U.S. military could be guilty of war crimes in Somalia, according to a new report that challenges what the government says about civilian casualties from its bombing campaign against al-Shabab, an al-Qaida affiliate, in the African nation.

The investigation, conducted by Amnesty International, found that US airstrikes from both drones and manned aircraft killed at least 14 civilians and injured seven more people in just five of more than 100 strikes in the past two years.

"The attacks appear to have violated international humanitarian law, and some may amount to war crimes," the Amnesty report said.

Read More Show Less
Georgia Army National Guard Soldiers board an aircraft to begin the first leg of their deployment in support of Operation Freedom's Sentinel. (Georgia National Guard/Maj. William Carraway)

Editor's Note: This article by Patricia Kime originally appeared, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

A new bill would give troops with infertility related to their military service greater access to advanced reproductive treatments, including up to three completed cycles of in vitro fertilization, or IVF, and cryopreservation of eggs and sperm for those heading to a combat zone.

Read More Show Less
U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Joseph L. Osterman, the commanding general of I Marine Expeditionary Force, speaks to Marines with the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) during a visit aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4). Marines and Sailors with the 11th MEU are conducting routine operations as part of the Boxer Amphibious Ready Group in the eastern Pacific Ocean. (U.S. Marine Corps Photo by Lance Cpl. Dalton S. Swanbeck)

The Marine Corps' top general on the west coast is readying his Marines for the next big war against a near peer competitor, and one of his main concerns is figuring out how to alter the mindset of troops that have been fighting insurgencies since 9/11.

"If anything my problem is getting people out of the mindset of [counterterrorism] and making sure they're thinking about near peer adversaries in their training programs," Lt. Gen. Joseph Osterman, commanding general of I Marine Expeditionary Force at Camp Pendleton, California, told Task & Purpose in an interview on Friday.

Read More Show Less
A Ruger AR-15 semi-automatic rifle, center, the same model, though in gray rather than black, used by the shooter in a Texas church massacre two days earlier, sits on display with other rifles on a wall in a gun shop Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017, in Lynnwood, Wash. (Associated Press/Elaine Thompson)

A new bill introduced in the Missouri House of Representatives would require a significant number of state residents own "at least one" AR-15 semi-automatic rifle with the help of a hefty tax break — except it won't ever get off the ground.

Read More Show Less