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November 14, 2010

The standard example of an oxymoron is usually military intelligence.  Anyone who has served in the military can relate.  The term SNAFU originated in the Army during WWII and has become a common phrase in society for any Situation Normal All F#@%ed Up.

Now we have a new term, although not as new as I thought, de-scoping.  I ran across this in the Sunday New York Times (11/14/10) in an article about the reconstruction efforts by our military in Afghanistan .  Evidently we are spending billions to build or rebuild police stations and barracks, and many of the projects were either poorly done or never completed.  The term de-scoping is being used by the military when a contract on a project that has not been completed is rewritten to say that in-completion was the original intent.  When I first read this I said, “WTF?”.  After a little research, I found that this was a common practice in Iraq as well.

So, like other military terms, will this one creep into our everyday vocabulary?

TEACHER:  “This report is only two pages, the assignment was to write a ten page essay!”

STUDENT: “Oh, I de-scoped it to read two pages not ten.”

When I was in the Army (1966-69) we closed down the Nike Missile base in Pennsylvania where I was stationed,  as all of the Nke bases were being phased out.  We were told to inventory, pack up and transport all the equipment to Fort Dix, New Jersey.  When the first trucks returned we found out that all of the tools and equipment that we had sent were being dumped, literally.  I quickly gathered all of my tools and hid them after listing them as part of the next load going out.   I still have these tools in my garage.

It is not a comfort to know that things still have not changed; that our tax dollars are being wasted on the lack of military intelligence, but then I guess that is just another SNAFU!

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