The new “Think Again” column is called “War for the Hell of It: The Sad Decline of David Broder” and it’s here. Apparently David Broder has lost what’s left of his mind and his editors at the Post are unwilling to save the man from himself.
New Nation column, my favorite lyric of the moment, “You Are Only Coming Through in Waves,” and it’s about our badly communicating president who doesn’t really understand the atmosphere in which he’s operating, here with a short appreciation of Ted Sorensen.
And I did a “Blame Rahm” piece for The Daily Beast over the weekend.
Oh, and here’s this month’s Moment column, The New Religion for America’s Jews: Israel.
And did you know Hitler was a Springsteen fan? Came to it rather late, though, I’d say…
Now here’s LTC Bob.
Letters from a Semi-Foreign Land
Vol. I, Issue 2
Hello Altercators, LTC Bob here again, this time writing to you from a somewhat more foreign land: Norway. I am here in Stavanger in the midst of a fairly large training event known as the “Mission Readiness Exercise.” This, quite naturally it seems, is instantly shortened into an acronym, the MRE. Which only serves to confuse me and other Americans new to this environment even more, because to us an “MRE” is something you eat, not something you do. (The American field ration is the “Meal, Ready-to-Eat”) All of which brings me to my first multi-national military observation: We American military officers are not the only ones who are absolute lunatics about the creation of acronyms. It is a pan-European problem as well.
While here at the ARRC (remember that term from last week?) I am the Deputy Assistant Chief of Staff for the group within the headquarters where I work. That title becomes “DACOS.” When I first heard soldiers outside my office talking to each other about how, “DACOS wants you to…” or, “When I was talking to DACOS yesterday he said…” I did not even realize that they were talking about me. This, apparently, is also a norm across the NATO environment. (DACOS is pronounced, apparently, “Day-Cawse.”)
Another language barrier issue came to me via our British cousins. Somewhere, somehow, the still very class-conscious British Army developed the tradition that officers above, say, lieutenant and below two-star general are referred to and even addressed personally as, “Rank, First Name.” This is not something we do in the States, at all, and to my American ears it is disconcerting. Yes, sure, you Altercators call me “Major Bob” and now “LTC Bob,” but almost all of you are civilians not brought up with my sub-culture’s social conventions, and besides, it’s in print, and so eventually I’ve gotten used to your use. But I had never, in my entire professional life, actually heard anyone say that out loud. And to hear a subordinate, say a captain, refer to “Colonel George” (or whomever) spun my brain a little. I do not know what any of this means, but if there are any cultural anthropologists or social psychologists out there with an opinion on this topic I would love to hear from you.