Monday, August 25, 2008

Modern Pentagonese

Kate Bateman, a South Asia analyst at the State Department, has written a wonderful article found in this Month's Proceedings, a journal published by the US Naval Institute. In the article, titled War on (Buzz) Words, Ms Bateman declares, "Bad writing isn't just poor form, it's a national security issue." She's absolutely correct; we allow poor writing to obscure issues, alienate those with whom we need to communicate, and suffocate ideas. Bad writing wastes time and money, and can have a deterimenal impact on communication. And if we have a "failure to communicate" national security policies, goals, and plans to the appropriate people, we could end up with a national security problem. I love the way Ms Bateman introduces her article. She asks her readers to consider this Shakespearean quote from Henry V:

We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blod with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition;
And gentlemen in England now-a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs'd they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.

when compared with the same information written in "modern Pentagonese."

The smaller and more agile forces collected here represent a select and elite band of highly motivated warfighters. In the event of adverse battlefield consequences, senior leadership will ensure that participants are suitably recognized in thier next quarterly evaluation. Regardless of the maladaptions of combatants, the current operational environment will leverage their inherent capabilities and capacities and enhance total-force interoperability. Non-participants will regret that they did not have an integrated vision of our potential for full-spectrum dominance.

Proves her point, doesn't it.

1 comment:

Donna B. said...

haha! Sometimes I can't even figure out the military speak at the commissary.

Seriously, it needs to be fixed.