Monday, December 7, 2009

They Tend To Take Orders Literally In The Military

I served in the United States Air Force for six years (four on active duty and two years in the Reserves). I do not recall a single instance in which I was given an order, whether it was to assemble for a parade, get a haircut, arrive at a certain missile silo at a certain time or shine a boot, that wasn't to be taken literally.

I can assure you that if I had ever been in a position where I was given orders to design a battle plan that would "defeat the Taliban", I would have all kinds of cool maps and footnoted designs for troop placements and pincer movements and ambushes and kill zones and other cool military words. There's be all kinds of equipment plans and rules of engagement and a list of high-priority targets. All with the intent to "defeat the Taliban".

Does anyone not know that military types tend to take orders literally? Outside of the government, I mean?

"Nuance" and "intent" is the stuff of politicians. There is no such thing as a non-literal order in the United States military. Orders to a commander are not the place to try to walk a fence. That's what press releases are for.

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