Thursday, May 5, 2011

Counting Grains of…

This one sprang up from a drawn-out conversation about some article that proposed comparing the relative "kill ratio efficiency" of today's U.S. military with that of past conflicts like Vietnam, Korea, WWII and so on.  The article, and a few of the folks in the conversation as well, were convinced that you can somehow assess a meaningful rating of "killing efficiency" by measuring bullets expended versus body counts.

This is utter useless bullshit.

My head was spinning as to where to even begin to blast holes (pardon the pun) in this ridiculous dumbshit logic.  I tried to apply some logical/methodical approach, but my emotional turmoil dragged my brain through a toilet bowl of hostile intentions.  Where was I?  Oh yeah…

Just in case one of you (fine, upstanding readers) out there thinks I'm wrong, hear me out, please?

First off, counting bullets is a myth.  All by itself, that is an insanely stupid concept, and here's why.  Anyone that understands the process of defense supply management knows that during peacetime logistics is not perfect.  Shipments leave one place and often end up in the wrong place, or in many wrong places.  They often end up in different condition or quantity than when they left their origin.  Again - that's in peace time.

In wartime, it's like a Chuck-E-Cheese on a Saturday when someone replaced the soft drink tanks with Red Bull and LSD and sprinkled caffeine pills on the pizza slices.  Ok, that's a little inaccurate.  It's more like sprinkling crushed Viagra pills and caffeine pills on the pizza.

At each step of the way things get touched and quantities change.  Loss, damage and theft claim some.  Then some are used on training (official and bullshit goofing around training).  Then there's the real bullshit like shooting goats, pigs, chickens, trees, abandoned vehicles and buildings.  Some are shot into open sea.  How do you count how many bullets were INTENTIONALLY shot at "bad guys" versus all other things (and reasons) that you can shoot them at?  So if you could somehow (accurately) measure how many stupid-ass things were shot at in Vietnam and also (accurately) in today's theaters of battle, then you would still need to isolate accurate and meaningful numbers for the other aspects.  It's an impossible task.

Here's one example I gave:  So, if John Doe, SEAL team member, uses up a box of 2,000 rounds of ammo practicing on bottle caps at 1000 yards, but then turns around and fires one (1) shot at a bad guy, does that mean his "killing efficiency" is 1:2000?  And how would anyone ever know if 1000 rounds were aimed poorly during a real fire fight or shot at bottle caps?  I don't ever recall a form being filled out for:

___ shot at bullshit

___ shot at bad guys

___ still embedded in the bad guys

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