Radically Inept
Friday, August 20, 2004
  When it's SNAFU and FUBAR, rely on humor

Alright. This in from Spock. Yes, it's full of military acronyms. Those of you who get it: Get it. Those of you who don't: Google. I found it hysterical.

"I finally figured out that when a Turkish officer tells you, "It's no
problem," he means, for him." Maj (EUCOM)

"Never in the history of the US Armed Forces have so many done so much
for so few..." MAJ (Task Force Warrior) on the "success" of the Free
Iraqi Forces (FIF) Training Program, where 1100 Army troops trained 77
Iraqi exiles at the cost of, well, way too much...

"Our days are spent trying to get some poor, unsuspecting third world
country to pony up to spending a year in a sweltering desert, full of
pissed-off Arabs who would rather shave the back of their legs with a
cheese grater than submit to foreign occupation by a country for whom
they have nothing but contempt." LTC (JS) on the joys of coalition

"OSD will continue to drive this cart into the ground long after the
wheels have been sold on E-bay." MAJ (JS) on the progress of FIF

"Please don't laugh. This is my job. Maj (EUCOM) from Protocol,
explaining in great detail the approved procedures for dropping off VIPs

"I guess the next thing they'll ask for is 300 US citizens with
Hungarian last names to send to Iraq..." MAJ (JS) on the
often-frustrating process of building the Iraqi coalition for Phase IV

"If we wait until the last minute to do it, it'll only take a minute."

"The only reason that anything ever gets done is because there are
pockets of competence in every command. The key is to find them...and
then exploit the hell out of 'em." CDR (CENTCOM)

"Working with Hungary is like watching a bad comedy set on auto
repeat..." LCDR (EUCOM)

"Between us girls, would it help to clarify the issue if you knew that
Hungary is land-locked?" CDR to MAJ (EUCOM) on why a deployment from
Hungary is likely to proceed by air vice sea
"We are condemned men who are chained and will row in place until we
rot." LtCol (CENTCOM) on life at his Command

"Right now we're pretty much the ham in a bad ham sandwich..." GO/FO

"So, what do you wanna do?"..."I dunno, what do YOU wanna do?"..."I
what do YOU wanna do?," etc. COL (DIA) describing the way OUSD(S)
develops and implements their strategies

"Let's face it: Africa sucks..." DOS representative (Bureau of African
Affairs) at a conference on Africa

"One of the secrets to maintaining my positive attitude in this job is
this: I complete no tasker before its time..." MAJ (EUCOM)

"It is nothing for US soldiers to be in the desert for a year without a
woman. It is different for us, though, because we are Latin..." LTC
(LATAM country) on one of the differences between Latin American
soldiers and their US counterparts

"I'll be right back. I have to go pound my nuts flat..." Lt Col (EUCOM)
after being assigned a difficult tasker

"I guess this is the wrong power cord for the computer, huh?" LtCol
(EUCOM) after the smoke cleared from plugging his 110V computer into a
220V outlet

"OK, this is too stupid for words." LTC (JS)

"When you get right up to the line that you're not supposed to cross,
the only person in front of you will be me!" CDR (CENTCOM) on his view
of the value of being politically correct in today's military

"There's nothing wrong with crossing that line a little bit, it's
jumping over it buck naked that will probably get you in trouble..." Lt
Col (EUCOM) responding to the above

"I may be slow, but I do poor work..." MAJ (USAREUR)

"Great! What we really need are some more 0-5s around here..." MAJ
(EUCOM) on the release of the list of 0-5 promotables

"Don't ever be the first...don't ever be the last...and don't ever
volunteer to do anything...." CDR (EUCOM) relating an ancient Navy

"Hey, somebody should really do that..." CDR (CENTCOM) on the CENTCOM
tasking process

"Are you sure they aren't writing about us? Hell, at least we should
jump on that wholesale desertion thing..." Maj (CENTCOM) on the
following report from a newspaper: "(The Iraqi military was crippled
by)...a multitude of erratic orders and strategic miscalculations, while
its fighting units barely communicated with one another and were
paralyzed from a lack of direction...these woes were
compounded by incompetence, poor preparation, craven leadership and
(the) wholesale desertions of thousands of soldiers..."

"Cynicism is the smoke that rises from the ashes of burned out dreams."
Maj (CENTCOM) on the daily thrashings delivered to AOs at his Command
"WE are the reason that Rumsfeld hates us..." LTC (EUCOM) doing some
standard, Army self-flagellation

"South of the Alps and East of the Adriatic, paranoia is considered
mental equilibrium..."
"The chance of success in these talks is the same as the number of "R's"
in "fat chance..."" GS-15 (SHAPE)

"His knowledge on that topic is only power point deep..." MAJ (JS)

"We have no position on that issue. In fact, your position IS our
Could you tell us what our position is?" CDR (TRANSCOM) at a policy SVTC

"Ya know, in this Command, if the world were supposed to end tomorrow,
it would still happen behind schedule." CWO4 (ret) (EUCOM)

"Even if Al-Qaeda nuked this place, the Chief of Staff would approve a
4-star visitor the very next day!" GS-12 (EUCOM)

"Never pet a burning dog." LTC (Tennessee National Guard)

"It's basically announcing to the world that I've completely given up."
LT (USN F-14 squadron) on his initial feelings behind the wheel of his
new minivan

"A staff action is like getting an out of state check, countersigned by
a fraud on a phony ID: some of the time it clears, but most of the time,
you're screwed." Lt Col (USAF)

"I need intelligence, not information." Maj (EUCOM)

"Ah, the joys of Paris: a unique chance to swill warm wine and be
mesmerized by the dank ambrosia of unkempt armpits..." LCDR (NAVEUR)

"'Status quo,' as you know, is Latin for 'the mess we're in...'"
Attributed to former President Ronald Reagan

"We are now past the good idea cutoff point..." MAJ (JS) on the fact
that somebody always tries to "fine tune" a COA with more "good ideas"

"Who are you talking to? ...Hang up the phone!" Lt Col mentoring MAJ
(EUCOM) on how to stay in his own lane...

"The hardest thing about having a third child is switching from 1-on-1
to a zone defense." MAJ (EUCOM)

"Nobody ever said you had to be smart to make 0-6." Col (EUCOM)

"I haven't complied with a darn thing and nothing bad has happened to me
"Whatever happened to good old-fashioned military leadership? Just task
the first two people you see."
"The first question I ask myself when tasked to do something that's not
obviously and overwhelmingly in my own best interest is, 'Exactly what
happens if I don't do it?'"

"Accuracy and attention to detail take a certain amount of time."

"No need to tip our hand as to how responsive we can be." CDR (EUCOM) in
a passdown to his replacement

"I seem to be rapidly approaching the apex of my mediocre career." MAJ

"I think that my next set of orders will take me to Iraq. My career's
going so badly that I'm considered a 'dead-ender.'" Lt Col (EUCOM)

"I just realized that this War on Terror might take a little longer than
we thought, so I am developing a new system of hanging charts on walls
to solve our problem and win the war." LTC (EUCOM) after a review of
long range Counter Terrorism (CT) plans

"Much work remains to be done before we can announce our total failure
to make any progress." "None of us is as dumb as all of us." Excerpted
from a
brief (EUCOM)

"Things are looking up for us here. In fact, Papua-New Guinea is
thinking of offering two platoons: one of Infantry (headhunters) and one
of engineers (hut builders). They want to eat any Iraqis they kill.
We've got no issues with that, but State is being anal about it." LTC
(JS) on OIF coalition-building

"It's not a lot of work unless you have to do it." LTC (EUCOM)
"I'm gonna have to leave work early today and probably stay home
tomorrow. I'm fighting off a cold and I want to beat it before I start
my leave in two days." MAJ (EUCOM)

"Creating smoking holes gives our lives meaning and enhances our
manliness." LTC (EUCOM) at a CT conference

"Interagency is a process, not a noun." Anonymous (EUCOM)

"Eventually, we have to 'make nice' with the French, although, since I'm
new in my job, I have every expectation that I'll be contradicted." DOS
rep at a Counter Terrorism Conference

"Everyone should have an equal chance, but not everyone is equal."
"I am so far down the food chain that I've got plankton bites on my

"You can get drunk enough to do most anything, but you have to realize
going in that there are some things that, once you sober up and realize
what you have done, will lead you to either grab a 12-gauge or stay
drunk for the rest of your life."

"Once you accept that a dog is a dog, you can't get upset when it
barks." Lt Col (USSOCOM), excerpts

"That guy just won't take 'yes' for an answer." MAJ (EUCOM)

"Let's just call Lessons Learned what they really are:
institutionalized scab picking." "I can describe what it feels like
being a Staff Officer in two words: distilled pain." CDR (NAVEUR)

"When all else fails, simply revel in the absurdity of it all." LCDR

"Never attribute to malice that which can be ascribed to sheer
stupidity." LTC (CENTCOM)

"They also serve, who sit and surf the NIPR." CPT (CENTCOM)

"I hear so much about Ft. Bragg. Where is it?" "It's in the western part
of southeastern North Carolina." LCDR and CPT (EUCOM)

"I've become the master of nodding my head and acting like I give a
sh!t, and then instantly forgetting what the hell a person was saying
the moment they walk away." Flag-level Executive A$$istant

"Mark my words, this internet thing is gonna catch on someday." LTC

"You're not a loser. You're just not my kind of winner..." GS-14 (OSD)

"He who strives for the minimum rarely attains it." GS-12 (DOS)

"I'm tired of waiting on somebody who I know is just going to ignore me
once they arrive." Lt Col (EUCOM), while waiting to start a brief for a
visiting VIP

"If I'd had more time, I'da written a shorter brief..." Derived from
the writings of Mark Twain
"Vision without funding is hallucination." Maj (EUCOM)

"I work at EUCOM. I know bullsh!t when I see it." LTC (EUCOM) in a game
of office poker

"You only know as much as you don't know." GO (EUCOM)

"I'm just livin' the dream..." EUCOM staffer response to the question,
"How's it going?" or, "What are you doing?"

"I'm just ranting...I have nothing useful to say." LTC (EUCOM)

"Why would an enemy want to bomb this place and end all the confusion?"
"How soon before we can give this guy a medal, a good OER, and send him
on his way?" GS-12 (EUCOM) referring to his boss
"Other than the fact that there's no beer, an early curfew and women
that wear face coverings for a reason, Kabul is really a wonderful place
to visit." LTC (CENTCOM)

"It was seen, visually." LTC (EUCOM) during a Reconnaissance briefing

"Let me tell you about the benefits of being on a staff..." "This
should be a short conversation." LtCol to Lt Col (EUCOM)

"If you want to take down a country, gimme a call. We'll get it done."
GO/FO (EUCOM) to a gathering of US Amba$$adors

"Hello gentlemen. Are we in today or are you just ignoring my request?"
GS-15 (DSCA) in an email to EUCOM staffers

"After seeing the way this place works, I bet that Mickey Mouse wears a
EUCOM watch." Maj (EUCOM)

"Your Key Issues are so 2003..." CPT (CJTF-180) in January 2004

"USCENTCOM commanders announced today that they intend to maintain their
presence in Qatar "until the sun runs out of hydrogen," thus committing
the US to the longest duration deployment in human history. When asked
how they planned to maintain the presence in Qatar for a projected
length of 4 to 5 billion years, planners said "we're working on a plan
for that. We don't have one yet, but not having a plan or an intelligent
reason to do something has never been much of an impediment for us in
the past; we don't foresee it being a big show stopper for us in the
future either."

Among the options that were being discussed was an innovative program to
"interbreed" the deployed personnel. "We are going to actively encourage
the military members in Qatar to intermarry and raise children that will
replace them in the future. Sure, it may be a little hard on some of our
female service members, since there currently are about 8 men for every
woman over there, but we expect that to be OBE as the sex ratios will
even out in a generation or two. In any case the key to the plan is to
make these assignments not only permanent, but also inheritable and
hereditary. For example, if you currently work the JOC weather desk, so
will your children, and their children, and their children, ad
infinitum. We like to think of it as job security." CPT (CJTF-180)

"That's FUBIJAR." COL (CENTCOM), Fu--ed Up, But I'm Just a Reservist...

"As far as I'm concerned, I'm the only one that matters in here."
"No matter how hard this Command beats me down, I am still able to get
it up." Maj (EUCOM)

"I keep myself confused on purpose, just in case I am captured and fall
into enemy hands!" GO/FO (CENTCOM)

"Cheese-dickery abounds at this Command." LtCol (EUCOM)

"Does anybody around here remember if I did anything this year?" LTC
(EUCOM) preparing his Officer Evaluation Report support form

"This is all happening because we had the sympathetic detonation of a
stress grenade." Maj (EUCOM) after an insignificant issue became a
theater focus because somebody used the "Reply all" function
"I'd be happy to classify this document for you. Could you tell me its
classification?" GS11 (EUCOM) in an email from the Foreign Disclosure

"Nothing is too good for you guys...and that's exactly what you're gonna
get..." LTC (EUCOM) describing the way Army policy is formulated

"The only thing that sucks worse than being me is being you..." LTC

"Why should I worry? Nobody here outranks me by that much." MAJ
(SOCEUR) briefing a group of 0-6s

"I have to know what I don't know..." Col (CENTCOM) during a shift
changeover briefing

"No. Now I'm simply confused at a higher level..." Foreign GO/FO when
asked if he had any questions following a transformation brief at JFCOM

"I'm planning on taking the weekend off...notionally..."LT (EUCOM)
midway through a huge, simulated command exercise

"'Leaning forward' is really just the first phase of 'falling on your
face.'" Col (MARFOREUR)

"I've heard of 'buzzwords' before but I have never experienced a 'buzz
sentence' or a 'buzz paragraph' until today." Maj (EUCOM) after
listening to a JFCOM trainer/mentor

"We've got to start collaborating between the collaboration systems."
"Our plan for the Olympics is to take all the ops and put it in the
special room we have developed for ops." GO/FO (EUCOM)

"Did you hear that they're canning Bob Edwards on NPR?" "Why? Did they
catch him standing up for the National Anthem or something??" COL to

"Not to be uncooperative, but we're just being uncooperative." CDR
(EUCOM) in an email response to a request for information

"We're from the nuke shop, sir. We're the crazy aunt in the closet that
nobody likes to talk about ..." Lt Col to GO/FO (EUCOM) in briefings

"We the willing, led by the unknowing, are doing the impossible for the
ungrateful. We have done so much for so long with so little, that we are
now qualified to do anything with nothing." Anonymous, but classic...

"The 'L' in CENTCOM stands for leadership..." "At this Command, we have
written in large, black letters: DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) on the back of
our security badges." Maj (CENTCOM)

"He cloaked himself in an impenetrable veneer of terminology." Lt Col
(JFCOM) describing the Jiffiecom alpha male

"Transformation has long been the buzzword for those that are
dispossessed, dispirited and disillusioned..." Chaplain (EUCOM),
allegedly talking about the Disciples...
"There are more disconnects on this issue than CENTCOM has staff
officers." GO/FO (EUCOM)

"Is that a Navy or a Marine admiral?"MAJ (EUCOM)

Damn, I truly miss being there.

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