Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Dancing around the topic of killing enemies has just reached an all-time high (low).

Even twenty years ago the Army used phrases such as "neutralizing the enemy" and catchwords like "interdiction". Obviously, you "neutralize" smeone by causing their heart to cease functioning. And "interdiction" actually refers to forbidding something. You "interdict" a convoy by blowing it off the road. The sniper course was (is?) called the Special Operations Target Interdiction Course. You "interdict" your target by blowing his brains out.

Word games have been around for a very long time. They make it easier for soldiers to do what they must, and easier for generals to explain to reporters what their troops have done or are about to do.

But word games have just now passed ridiculous. Here is the description from Army.mil of the "mission" of the M-240B. I placed mission in quotes because I'm still not convinced that an inanimate piece of equipment has a mission to call its own. Anyway, here it is:

Deter, and if necessary, compel adversaries by enabling individuals and small units to engage targets with accurate, lethal, direct automatic fire.

Any guesses as to what an M-240 is? Sounds pretty high speed.

It's a machine gun. As such, it's "mission" is to perforate enemies and ensure that they give their lives for their cause. "Deter, and if necessary, compel"?? Screw that. The purpose of a machine gun is to kill as many enemy as possible and "compel" the remainder to keep their heads down until US troops can figure out another way to kill them.

The article goes on to say that the M-240 "delivers more energy to the target than the smaller caliber M-249 SAW". That's the Army's way of admitting that the 40-year love affair with the 5.56mm round might be nearing an end. The M-240 fires a .30 caliber round while the M-249 fires the same .22 caliber round as the M-16. Troops have been complaining about the M-16s lack of knockdown power since Day One.

Anyway, not to lapse into the whole debate over calibers, etc. I just found the "mission" statement something I couldn't let go without comment.

Here's the web page: http://www.army.mil/fact_files_site/m-240b/


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