Sunday, January 13, 2008

The language of the military and war

Came across a piece which contemplates the slogans of war.

The acronym mentioned in the piece, the "CLC"s, was one that tripped me up when I had a "distinguished visitor" come to the training center once. He listened patiently to my standard canned presentation, then asked, "but what does this have to do with CLCs?" I had no idea what he was talking about. Thankfully, my commanding general was there to pick up the question. Had I known what he meant, I would have artlessly responded, "nothing at all, but I didn't invite you here..."

We're relatively far from most of the military here, and because of that, I learn all the military colloquialisms through the media. Nobody from the military talks to me. So I learned about Concerned Local Citizens that day. I had always assumed that all citizens in a war zone were concerned, but apparently it is more of a formal thing.

I've had a few discussions with my contractor friends over language issues and semantics.

Some are just silly- the English and Aussies think we work at a Training Centre, and we currently are working on a demobilisation. I point out to them that the U.S. pays the bills, and it is therefore a "Center" and we're working a "demobilization".

Others are a bit more involved- are we truly at war? Or is this now a police action in a fairly "hot" or hostile environment? From where we work, it is frankly hard to tell. And probably depends on the definitions. The joys of language- is the tower of Babel somewhere around here in this Mess-o-potamia? (apologies to The Daily Show)

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