The Corner

Irreducible Element of Chaos

Military readers are e-mailing in numbers to confirm that military life is

indeed exceptionally rich in synonyms for what I called “the irreducible

element of chaos in all human affairs.” I had forgotten about the utterly

unprintable one known by its initals as “Charlie Foxtrot”–though I had

heard it as “Mongolian C.F.” Another term, this one from the British army,

is “Chinese fire drill”–not very PC, I suppose, but then there are not many

Chinese people in the British Army. FUBAR, by the way, for the reader who

asked, stands for “fouled up beyond all recognition.” Or something like

that.

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