USMC Commandant Berger: Is This a Crack in the Dam, Or is it Just More Fluff?

 

I just spent an hour watching the Commandant of the United States Marine Corps in a presentation sponsored by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, in which General David H. Berger chats with Seth Jones of the SCIS and discusses “the current state of the Marine Corps, future demands, and the implications on force posture and force design.”  Along the way, they find time to talk a little about the recent events in Afghanistan, which is what prompted this post.

The main event starts about 5 minutes in with a discussion of force design as part of a ten-year plan with China as the biggest challenge and the Indo-Pacific as the primary theater and the difficulties of moving along within current budget constraints and risk management, while juggling capability requirements and capacity needs.

Following is an interesting discussion of unmanned systems, on all surfaces, AI systems, human teams, wargaming,  the overarching architecture that ties all this together, and the special challenges of implementing them in the Indo-Pacific theater.

At about 21:15, the discussion moves on to Afghanistan.  Berger is asked about an “inspiring” letter he recently wrote to Marines about whether or not their service in Afghanistan was “worth it,” with the intention of reassuring them that it was.  Jones asks him again, “was it worth it?”  Berger’s response, which is what triggered the question in the post title–“Is this a crack in the dam, or is it just more fluff?”–is as follows (emphasis mine):

“While it’s relatively fresh in our minds, we need the honest, open critique, or a commission … that cracks open what were the options that were available, who made what decisions at what time, not so we can penalize or hang somebody from a yardarm, but actually so we can learn.

On the Marine Corps side yesterday and today, we’re going back through the Holloway Commission(1), the Long Commission(2)  to try to figure out a framework or how can we study, to your point, what went right, what went wrong, what can we learn going forward.”

The events of the past 10 days have not at all altered my view of ‘was it worth it.’  Here’s how I know.  To a person, if you were to go to Walter Reed right now and visit a Marine or a sailor or a soldier who was wounded, and you ask them that question, they would respond with “I know it is because I can tell you how many people we processed through our evacuation control center and put on a plane.”  This is their yardstick.  They’re not political….and to them, that’s worth it.  There’s a baby who’s going to grow up in the United States, never going to meet that soldier who pulled him over the canal, but they’re going to live a free life here…so is it worth it?  Yes.

Were there decisions that were made that we ought to go back and scrub? Absolutely, yeah. Should we both go back and look at the options themselves? Yeah, absolutely. How did this surprise us that, in the span of 11 days, it’s so fundamentally changed? Those are things critically as a government, as a military, we absolutely ought to unpack.

It does not, for me, change anything in that letter.  And my confirmation is the service members who were there.  Who would do it again, because they feel like they saved lives…so to them it was worth it.”

The conversation continues with a discussion of the possible political structure of the new Afghan government, and other flashpoints around the world, and the General is asked how he will balance the various threats around the world. He acknowledges that we almost always get wrong the assessment of where the next big threat is coming from (does not consider “actual war” with China anywhere near the top), so again, a balancing challenge.  He says that there is no military solution to deter either China or terrorism, that both will require a “whole government” approach–because that is what China etc. already does.  We need a “coherent, stitched together effort” with the “elements of national power all brought together.”

The discussion moves to learning to match up deterrents to contemporary threats–what we think is a ready force may not work against another type of lethal force that we just aren’t ready for at all.  Examples–China, Syria, Ukraine, and more.  We have to stop thinking in “Cold War” terms, need different forms of deterrence.  Thinking about–is there such a thing as “deterrence by detection?”  Convincing an adversary that there’s nothing they can do that we can’t see or shine a light on?  Not sure, but pretty clear that what we are doing now in the way of deterrence actually isn’t.

Next up: USMC/Naval integration.  The best evidence of this is the evolving force design that marries up USMC capability with Navy capability into a maritime capability that a joint force commander needs.  A discussion of joint exercises and logistics and the unique challenges maintaining contemporary supply lines and successful logistics operations in an interconnected and distributed world.  Need for defense-in-depth to counter and contest efforts to disrupt.  “Logistics” is the key.  We can have the best fighting force, but if our logistics are disrupted, we can be brought to our knees.  Perhaps a return to “foraging.”

Return to the subject of wargaming and Quantico’s new Warfighting Lab. Designed to give the ability to test-drive concepts and practice operational plans at the highest level.  The software capabilities are what makes it invaluable, and when tied to other wargaming centers allows us to wargame joint capabilities in a larger framework.

The last couple of questions: 1) thoughts on screening and evaluating recruits in order to decrease the number who wash out.  Looking at cognitive, physical, resilience attributes.  More than just the traditional ASVAB and strength tests. Have to make some fundamental changes–opening up the marketplace of USMC jobs, rather than strictly rotating through narrowly-based assignments.  Possibly review rank at which those who come into the military with considerable experience in a field are brought in–must they all start as a Private?  Or what if I’m a Marine who wants to go do something else for a couple of years and then come back at rank?  Could there be a provision for that?  Berger does not believe that the existing manpower structure of the Corps will suit it going forward.

The discussion concludes with Berger once again commending the serving Marines for their service, especially those who were deployed to Kabul.

I found the discussion interesting, the General refreshingly humble, and it was an enormous pleasure–for once–to see a highly-placed representative of the military who spoke for an hour about military matters and who didn’t once mention inclusion, diversity, white rage, transgender rights or any of the various other irrelevancies and distractions that usually accompany their remarks, but who seemed–at least in this interview–to be honest, forthright, and competent.

Is it possible that the United States Marine Corps is going to, even gingerly, open up this can of worms?

(1)The Holloway Commission investigated the failed attempt to rescue 52 staff members held captive at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, Iran, in April 1980 (links from military.com)

(2) The Long Commission scrutinized the failures that led to the 1983 suicide bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut, Lebanon. (links from military.com)

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  1. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot) Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot)
    @ArizonaPatriot

    She, thank you for this.  I plan to listen to it in full, when I get a chance.  It strikes close to home, as my oldest son is a Marine.

    • #1
  2. Guruforhire Member
    Guruforhire
    @Guruforhire

    When I a young soldier in the army, I learned a particularly interesting phrase:  Fugitive From Responsibility.

    The problem is that monumental colossal cock ups should cost jobs.  There is no meaningful accountability structure in the modern military.  The only people who get held to account are the enlisted to protect the phony baloney jobs of toilet paper auditors.

    This guy doesn’t want an accountability culture in the military leadership either, except for 2nd lieutenants whose soldiers misplace a cross tip screw driver.

    • #2
  3. She Reagan
    She
    @She

    Guruforhire (View Comment):

    When I a young soldier in the army, I learned a particularly interesting phrase: Fugitive From Responsibility.

    The problem is that monumental colossal cock ups should cost jobs. There is no meaningful accountability structure in the modern military. The only people who get held to account are the enlisted to protect the phony baloney jobs of toilet paper auditors.

    This guy doesn’t want an accountability culture in the military leadership either, except for 2nd lieutenants whose soldiers misplace a cross tip screw driver.

    Yes, that has certainly been the modern experience.  It seems to have drifted over from the political sphere.

    • #3
  4. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot) Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot)
    @ArizonaPatriot

    Guruforhire (View Comment):

    When I a young soldier in the army, I learned a particularly interesting phrase: Fugitive From Responsibility.

    The problem is that monumental colossal cock ups should cost jobs. There is no meaningful accountability structure in the modern military. The only people who get held to account are the enlisted to protect the phony baloney jobs of toilet paper auditors.

    This guy doesn’t want an accountability culture in the military leadership either, except for 2nd lieutenants whose soldiers misplace a cross tip screw driver.

    If highly ranked officers are always fired after a mistake, how will they learn?

    • #4
  5. Guruforhire Member
    Guruforhire
    @Guruforhire

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    Guruforhire (View Comment):

    When I a young soldier in the army, I learned a particularly interesting phrase: Fugitive From Responsibility.

    The problem is that monumental colossal cock ups should cost jobs. There is no meaningful accountability structure in the modern military. The only people who get held to account are the enlisted to protect the phony baloney jobs of toilet paper auditors.

    This guy doesn’t want an accountability culture in the military leadership either, except for 2nd lieutenants whose soldiers misplace a cross tip screw driver.

    If highly ranked officers are always fired after a mistake, how will they learn?

    Isn’t that kind of a redicto ad absurdum?

    • #5
  6. She Reagan
    She
    @She

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    Guruforhire (View Comment):

    When I a young soldier in the army, I learned a particularly interesting phrase: Fugitive From Responsibility.

    The problem is that monumental colossal cock ups should cost jobs. There is no meaningful accountability structure in the modern military. The only people who get held to account are the enlisted to protect the phony baloney jobs of toilet paper auditors.

    This guy doesn’t want an accountability culture in the military leadership either, except for 2nd lieutenants whose soldiers misplace a cross tip screw driver.

    If highly ranked officers are always fired after a mistake, how will they learn?

    That’s come up on other threads, and folks have pointed out that, at least through WWII, it was ‘business as usual’ to shuffle those at higher ranks around when they’d messed up–not necessarily to fire them.  Getting moved to a less-desirable tour of duty, or  busted down a rank or two, wasn’t necessarily a career-killer, and very often, the same people worked their way up again.  That’s how they learned.

    Being “relieved of command” isn’t the same thing as being “fired.

    • #6
  7. Guruforhire Member
    Guruforhire
    @Guruforhire

    Yabut, a total failure of military leadership, planning, and operations at all levels isn’t ya know a growth opportunity.

    • #7
  8. She Reagan
    She
    @She

    Guruforhire (View Comment):

    Yabut, a total failure of military leadership, planning, and operations at all levels isn’t ya know a growth opportunity.

    Well, General Austin, the Secretary of Defense, is retired from the military.  I’d start by firing him.

    General Thoroughly Modern Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has already achieved the pinnacle of his military career.  I’d fire him, too–although I think if I did he’d technically be relieved of duty and revert to a lower grade of generalship. Or it may even be more complicated than that.

    Anthony Blinken–so toxic even John McCain said that he was “dangerous to America and the young men and women who are fighting and serving,” never, to the best of my knowledge, served in the military.  I’d definitely fire him.

    So there go the top three, only one of whom is active military; the other of whom are government functionaries of the worst sort.

    Once I’d wiped the floor with them, I’d take another look round, and start at the next level down.

    Unfortunately, the above is all a fantasy, because the person at whose pleasure those top three serve isn’t going to fire any of them, and can’t be fired himself before 2024.

    • #8
  9. Amy Schley, Longcat Shrinker Moderator
    Amy Schley, Longcat Shrinker
    @AmySchley

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    Guruforhire (View Comment):

    When I a young soldier in the army, I learned a particularly interesting phrase: Fugitive From Responsibility.

    The problem is that monumental colossal cock ups should cost jobs. There is no meaningful accountability structure in the modern military. The only people who get held to account are the enlisted to protect the phony baloney jobs of toilet paper auditors.

    This guy doesn’t want an accountability culture in the military leadership either, except for 2nd lieutenants whose soldiers misplace a cross tip screw driver.

    If highly ranked officers are always fired after a mistake, how will they learn?

    Dans ce pays-ci, il est bon de tuer de temps en temps un amiral pour encourager les autres.

    • #9
  10. Hang On Member
    Hang On
    @HangOn

    She (View Comment):

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    Guruforhire (View Comment):

    When I a young soldier in the army, I learned a particularly interesting phrase: Fugitive From Responsibility.

    The problem is that monumental colossal cock ups should cost jobs. There is no meaningful accountability structure in the modern military. The only people who get held to account are the enlisted to protect the phony baloney jobs of toilet paper auditors.

    This guy doesn’t want an accountability culture in the military leadership either, except for 2nd lieutenants whose soldiers misplace a cross tip screw driver.

    If highly ranked officers are always fired after a mistake, how will they learn?

    That’s come up on other threads, and folks have pointed out that, at least through WWII, it was ‘business as usual’ to shuffle those at higher ranks around when they’d messed up–not necessarily to fire them. Getting moved to a less-desirable tour of duty, or busted down a rank or two, wasn’t necessarily a career-killer, and very often, the same people worked their way up again. That’s how they learned.

    Being “relieved of command” isn’t the same thing as being “fired.

    If there are one-year rotations, it doesn’t really matter. They’re always about to be relieved. 

    • #10
  11. Nohaaj Coolidge
    Nohaaj
    @Nohaaj

    She, I am more than fascinated and frankly floored by your dedication to knowledge and analysis.  What drives you to not only watch an hour long Marine briefing, but then to rewatch, perhaps multiple times, to accurately reflect the content, so you could relay to us plebes?

    Did Boss Mongo come back and infiltrate (in the best possible way) your mind? 

     

    • #11
  12. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown
    @CliffordBrown

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    Guruforhire (View Comment):

    When I a young soldier in the army, I learned a particularly interesting phrase: Fugitive From Responsibility.

    The problem is that monumental colossal cock ups should cost jobs. There is no meaningful accountability structure in the modern military. The only people who get held to account are the enlisted to protect the phony baloney jobs of toilet paper auditors.

    This guy doesn’t want an accountability culture in the military leadership either, except for 2nd lieutenants whose soldiers misplace a cross tip screw driver.

    If highly ranked officers are always fired after a mistake, how will they learn?

    “A mistake,” yeah, that’s what happened over the past 20 years. “Mistakes were made” and no senior officer was ever at any risk of losing his extra stars and gilded lily pad of a lifetime pension plus fat corporate/lobbying pay.

    See Thomas Ricks’  Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz Memorial Lecture: “Why our generals were more successful in World War II than in Korea, Vietnam or Iraq/Afghanistan.” Hint: because they were fired, regularly!

     

    • #12
  13. OmegaPaladin Moderator
    OmegaPaladin
    @OmegaPaladin

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    Guruforhire (View Comment):

    When I a young soldier in the army, I learned a particularly interesting phrase: Fugitive From Responsibility.

    The problem is that monumental colossal cock ups should cost jobs. There is no meaningful accountability structure in the modern military. The only people who get held to account are the enlisted to protect the phony baloney jobs of toilet paper auditors.

    This guy doesn’t want an accountability culture in the military leadership either, except for 2nd lieutenants whose soldiers misplace a cross tip screw driver.

    If highly ranked officers are always fired after a mistake, how will they learn?

    “A mistake,” yeah, that’s what happened over the past 20 years. “Mistakes were made” and no senior officer was ever at any risk of losing his extra stars and gilded lily pad of a lifetime pension plus fat corporate/lobbying pay.

    See Thomas Ricks’ Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz Memorial Lecture: “Why our generals were more successful in World War II than in Korea, Vietnam or Iraq/Afghanistan.” Hint: because they were fired, regularly!

    Fired as in kicked completely out of the service, or fired as in relieved of command and pushed into another job?  That makes a difference.

    Realistically, the whole “up or out” model of the military is crazy and just asking for the Peter Principle to rear its head over and over.  Some people should not rise above a certain rank or command a unit above a certain size.  If a demotion and loss of command is not just a prelude to getting the boot, but just a statement that you are not cut out to be a general, it might get used more often.

    In the safety industry, firing people for mistakes tends to result in coverups and deception, as well as reducing innovation.  People become terrified of upsetting the status quo, and won’t report problems until the plant is on fire and workers are dead. 

    • #13
  14. She Reagan
    She
    @She

    Nohaaj (View Comment):

    She, I am more than fascinated and frankly floored by your dedication to knowledge and analysis. What drives you to not only watch an hour long Marine briefing, but then to rewatch, perhaps multiple times, to accurately reflect the content, so you could relay to us plebes?

    Did Boss Mongo come back and infiltrate (in the best possible way) your mind?

    What a sweet comment, and high compliment, thank you.  I was always pleased and proud when Boss liked, or commented positively on, a post I wrote, spitballing about such unwomanly things….

    I don’t know. I suppose I blame my father.  And Mr. She.  My brother didn’t come along until I was 14, and I was the oldest, growing up in a rather insular society (Nigeria in the 1950s), where the few European children that there were, were in a pretty close-knit group.  No-one treated us like children–in the sense of babying us–and it was a very politically-charged environment in which most of the Europeans males (I didn’t know many Americans in that part of my life) were either still active, or ex-military men like Dad, and I absorbed the culture and picked up a range of rather odd (for a young girl) interests. Dad’s suggested reading material for his daughter, like C.S. Forester’s Horatio Hornblower series, or the complete works of Arthur Conan Doyle, probably didn’t help, and certainly cemented a lifelong interest in history and mysteries.  As I grew older, and ventured into the realm of (rather tasteful) bodice-rippers, I always preferred those with a sound historical basis such as Georgette Heyer’s An Infamous Army, a romance about the Battle of Waterloo which was, for decades, on the required reading list for the Officers’ Training Course at Sandhurst (may still be for all I know), because of its incredibly accurate recounting of events, and Bernard Cornwell’s Sharpe series.

    While he was never on active duty himself, Mr. She considered his years in the USMC formative, and kept up an interest in the Corps.  Although I’m not sure of his own connection with it, but it must have had something to do with his experiences in WWII, Dad was always very pro United States Marines–and he and Mr. She developed a close friendship once they finally met (long story).  So I’ve had a soft spot for the USMC and the many Marines I’ve known, all the way back to olden times (wrote a bit about that here).

    If anyone were to even begin to sort out the awful, disgraceful, sorry spectacle of the last several weeks, it would warm the cockles of my heart were it to be the United States Marines.  Wishful thinking, maybe.  But sometimes, that’s what keeps me going.

    PS:  I wouldn’t be caught dead spending hours of my life I’ll never get back listening to Thoroughly Modern Milley.  Or Lloyd Austin.  Or….

    • #14
  15. anstahl Member
    anstahl
    @anstahl

    Hang On (View Comment):

    She (View Comment):

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    Guruforhire (View Comment):

    When I a young soldier in the army, I learned a particularly interesting phrase: Fugitive From Responsibility.

    The problem is that monumental colossal cock ups should cost jobs. There is no meaningful accountability structure in the modern military. The only people who get held to account are the enlisted to protect the phony baloney jobs of toilet paper auditors.

    This guy doesn’t want an accountability culture in the military leadership either, except for 2nd lieutenants whose soldiers misplace a cross tip screw driver.

    If highly ranked officers are always fired after a mistake, how will they learn?

    That’s come up on other threads, and folks have pointed out that, at least through WWII, it was ‘business as usual’ to shuffle those at higher ranks around when they’d messed up–not necessarily to fire them. Getting moved to a less-desirable tour of duty, or busted down a rank or two, wasn’t necessarily a career-killer, and very often, the same people worked their J up again. That’s how they learned.

    Being “relieved of command” isn’t the same thing as being “fired.

    If there are one-year rotations, it doesn’t really matter. They’re always about to be relieved.

     

    • #15
  16. anstahl Member
    anstahl
    @anstahl

    ASgàaqffcxxfadsddSadfdaDaaSSsSyhdESxdFjFDaczf‡HAWwßaCçfßsadaaẞSsçfßsadaaẞSswfSxdfdadds,vrfvrfsDdzdzsgdFDszfzfssßswass$#’afDdaszvvdfarfsßég

    • #16
  17. Hang On Member
    Hang On
    @HangOn

    Sorry, but it’s hard to take him seriously on what he says about Afghanistan. The reason it was worth it was because some kid got lifted over the razor wire. Seriously? And he isn’t willing to tackle the most important point of the force structure, which is one-year rotations.

    I realize he’s constrained by his position from speaking honestly and candidly on camera. But he’d have to have a split personality to be spewing some of this stuff with a straight face. But we may have our own Kremlin.

    • #17
  18. She Reagan
    She
    @She

    Hang On (View Comment):

    Sorry, but it’s hard to take him seriously on what he says about Afghanistan. The reason it was worth it was because some kid got lifted over the razor wire. Seriously? And he isn’t willing to tackle the most important point of the force structure, which is one-year rotations.

    I realize he’s constrained by his position from speaking honestly and candidly on camera. But he’d have to have a split personality to be spewing some of this stuff with a straight face. But we may have our own Kremlin.

    Yeah.  Wishful thinking, maybe.  Hard to trust the fox at the best of times, and especially when he’s running the investigation as to what went on in the henhouse.  As I learned at a very young age (Jemima Puddleduck, h/t Beatrix Potter), if a thing looks too good to be true, it probably is.  Still, to quote the late Mr. She, “I’m too dumb to be a pessimist,” and so I soldier on, with hope at my side.

    • #18
  19. She Reagan
    She
    @She

    anstahl (View Comment):

    ASgàaqffcxxfadsddSadfdaDaaSSsSyhdESxdFjFDaczf‡HAWwßaCçfßsadaaẞSsçfßsadaaẞSswfSxdfdadds,vrfvrfsDdzdzsgdFDszfzfssßswass$#’afDdaszvvdfarfsßég

    ?

    • #19
  20. She Reagan
    She
    @She

    Hang On (View Comment):
    Sorry, but it’s hard to take him seriously on what he says about Afghanistan. The reason it was worth it was because some kid got lifted over the razor wire. Seriously?

    To be fair, I think that Berger did say that he was limiting his remarks to the recent operation, and not the last 20 years in Afghanistan.  The troops were sent there to get people out and (for better or for worse–and plenty of both, IMHO) they did so.  For their own sakes, I hope they can focus on their role in that  “success,” rather than finding themselves ripped to shreds inside on behalf of those who were left behind.  The reckoning for  that (and I hope there is one) shouldn’t fall on the shoulders of the 6,000 who were sent to do a job and did it as honorably and as well, and–yes–as sucessfully, as they possibly could, in the most awful of circumstances.

    • #20
  21. Old Bathos Moderator
    Old Bathos
    @OldBathos

    Do we need a commission to determine that braindead operational orders lead to bad outcomes? 

    The Marines seem to be thinking ahead–dropping tanks and becoming more of a first-response insertion force and leaving the heavy stuff to the Army if needed down the road in a more protracted fight.  The danger is that the Marines will be so good at that role that future Presidents may be more inclined to use them.

    I don’t have an answer for the fundamental problem–idiots in high places needlessly placing fine young warriors in harm’s way.

     

    • #21
  22. She Reagan
    She
    @She

    Old Bathos (View Comment):

    Do we need a commission to determine that braindead operational orders lead to bad outcomes?

    One would  hope not. If we lived in a world with less projection (of one’s own failings and poor behavior onto the shoulders of others) and more personal responsibility, some of these folks would have stepped up by now and, in the words of LtCol Scheller, said “we messed things up.” And then taken the consequences, starting with their own resignations.  Has any of them done that?  No.  So I guess someone else needs to do it for them.  Not exactly the military ethos, but there it is.

    • #22
  23. Kozak Member
    Kozak
    @Kozak

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):
    If highly ranked officers are always fired after a mistake, how will they learn?

    We did it in WW2. Officers were frequently removed from command.  Didn’t end their career.

    Many learned from it and were able to apply the learning to their next command.

    • #23
  24. Kozak Member
    Kozak
    @Kozak

    She (View Comment):

    anstahl (View Comment):

    ASgàaqffcxxfadsddSadfdaDaaSSsSyhdESxdFjFDaczf‡HAWwßaCçfßsadaaẞSsçfßsadaaẞSswfSxdfdadds,vrfvrfsDdzdzsgdFDszfzfssßswass$#’afDdaszvvdfarfsßég

    ?

    What he said.

    • #24
  25. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    Kozak (View Comment):

    She (View Comment):

    anstahl (View Comment):

    ASgàaqffcxxfadsddSadfdaDaaSSsSyhdESxdFjFDaczf‡HAWwßaCçfßsadaaẞSsçfßsadaaẞSswfSxdfdadds,vrfvrfsDdzdzsgdFDszfzfssßswass$#’afDdaszvvdfarfsßég

    ?

    What he said.

    Sure.  But what’d he say?

    • #25
  26. She Reagan
    She
    @She

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Kozak (View Comment):

    She (View Comment):

    anstahl (View Comment):

    ASgàaqffcxxfadsddSadfdaDaaSSsSyhdESxdFjFDaczf‡HAWwßaCçfßsadaaẞSsçfßsadaaẞSswfSxdfdadds,vrfvrfsDdzdzsgdFDszfzfssßswass$#’afDdaszvvdfarfsßég

    ?

    What he said.

    Sure. But what’d he say?

    Dunno.  But there are a heck of a lot of eszetts. I haven’t quite ascertained whether they’re all used in accordance with the correct rules of grammar (there are many), but its use after a voiceless labiodental fricative is troubling.  Although if it’s used there in the sense of “what the fricative?” I could probably forgive the solecism.

    • #26
  27. She Reagan
    She
    @She

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    She, thank you for this. I plan to listen to it in full, when I get a chance. It strikes close to home, as my oldest son is a Marine.

    Thanks for this comment.  I don’t always see eye-to-eye with you, on a number of matters, but you’re pretty good at bringing the data (sometimes, LOL).  All the best to you, and particularly to your son.

    • #27
  28. DaveSchmidt Coolidge
    DaveSchmidt
    @DaveSchmidt

    anstahl (View Comment):

    ASgàaqffcxxfadsddSadfdaDaaSSsSyhdESxdFjFDaczf‡HAWwßaCçfßsadaaẞSsçfßsadaaẞSswfSxdfdadds,vrfvrfsDdzdzsgdFDszfzfssßswass$#’afDdaszvvdfarfsßég

    I see your point.  I expect your appointment to Biden’s speechwriting staff to be approved soon.  

    • #28
  29. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    She (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Kozak (View Comment):

    She (View Comment):

    anstahl (View Comment):

    ASgàaqffcxxfadsddSadfdaDaaSSsSyhdESxdFjFDaczf‡HAWwßaCçfßsadaaẞSsçfßsadaaẞSswfSxdfdadds,vrfvrfsDdzdzsgdFDszfzfssßswass$#’afDdaszvvdfarfsßég

    ?

    What he said.

    Sure. But what’d he say?

    Dunno. But there are a heck of a lot of eszetts. I haven’t quite ascertained whether they’re all used in accordance with the correct rules of grammar (there are many), but its use after a voiceless labiodental fricative is troubling. Although if it’s used there in the sense of “what the fricative?” I could probably forgive the solecism.

    I don’t see the fricative.

    • #29
  30. She Reagan
    She
    @She

    Flicker (View Comment):

    She (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Kozak (View Comment):

    She (View Comment):

    anstahl (View Comment):

    ASgàaqffcxxfadsddSadfdaDaaSSsSyhdESxdFjFDaczf‡HAWwßaCçfßsadaaẞSsçfßsadaaẞSswfSxdfdadds,vrfvrfsDdzdzsgdFDszfzfssßswass$#’afDdaszvvdfarfsßég

    ?

    What he said.

    Sure. But what’d he say?

    Dunno. But there are a heck of a lot of eszetts. I haven’t quite ascertained whether they’re all used in accordance with the correct rules of grammar (there are many), but its use after a voiceless labiodental fricative is troubling. Although if it’s used there in the sense of “what the fricative?” I could probably forgive the solecism.

    I don’t see the fricative.

    After the “f”

    • #30