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The US military's obsession with 'lethality' has officially gone too far
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.
This all leads me to the most important point: STOP TRYING TO JAM LETHALITY INTO EVERY PRESS RELEASE. IT'S NOT GOING TO HAPPEN.
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For U.S. service members who have fought alongside the Kurds, President Donald Trump's decision to approve repositioning U.S. forces in Syria ahead of Turkey's invasion is a naked betrayal of valued allies.
"I am ashamed for the first time in my career," one unnamed special operator told Fox News Jennifer Griffin.
In a Twitter thread that went viral, Griffin wrote the soldier told her the Kurds were continuing to support the United States by guarding tens of thousands of ISIS prisoners even though Turkey had nullified an arrangement under which U.S. and Turkish troops were conducting joint patrols in northeastern Syria to allow the Kurdish People's Protection Units, or YPG, to withdraw.
"The Kurds are sticking by us," the soldier told Griffin. "No other partner I have ever dealt with would stand by us."
Defense Secretary Mark Esper has confirmed that a nightmare scenario has come to pass: Captured ISIS fighters are escaping as a result of Turkey's invasion of Kurdish-held northeast Syria.
Turkey's incursion has led to "the release of many dangerous ISIS detainees," Esper said in a statement on Monday.
Video footage of a purported "bombing of Kurd civilians" by Turkish military forces shown on ABC News appeared to be a nighttime firing of tracer rounds at a Kentucky gun range.
The U.S. military's seemingly never-ending mission supporting civil authorities along the southwestern border will last at least another year.
On Sept. 3, Defense Secretary Mark Esper approved a request from the Department of Homeland Security to provide a total of up to 5,500 troops along the border until Sept. 30, 2020, Lt. Gen. Laura Richardson, commander of U.S. Army North, said on Monday.