Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

Sloppy Marines

I’m seeing more and more typos and misspellings in publications these days. I expect that in the Washington Post and such, because the collapse of the journalism industry has forced all sorts of cutbacks, including in high-quality copyediting. But I have to say I was a little surprised to see two references to a General ...

575625_091211_RicksGangsta2.jpg
575625_091211_RicksGangsta2.jpg

I'm seeing more and more typos and misspellings in publications these days. I expect that in the Washington Post and such, because the collapse of the journalism industry has forced all sorts of cutbacks, including in high-quality copyediting. But I have to say I was a little surprised to see two references to a General "Patraeus" in the December issue of the Marine Corps Gazette (pages 56 and 57). The author also adds an "S" to the end of Brig. Gen. H.R. McMaster's surname. All three errors are still there in the online version, too.

It's a good article, and makes a worthwhile point. So maybe I'm just an oversensitive fellow. But to me this is a bit like seeing a Marine carrying an umbrella. What would Dan Daley and Chesty Piller say? Probably what Drill Instructor Sgt. Carey at Parris Island used to shout at erring recruits: that "failure to pay attention to detail is gonna get someone killed in the fleet."

I’m seeing more and more typos and misspellings in publications these days. I expect that in the Washington Post and such, because the collapse of the journalism industry has forced all sorts of cutbacks, including in high-quality copyediting. But I have to say I was a little surprised to see two references to a General “Patraeus” in the December issue of the Marine Corps Gazette (pages 56 and 57). The author also adds an “S” to the end of Brig. Gen. H.R. McMaster’s surname. All three errors are still there in the online version, too.

It’s a good article, and makes a worthwhile point. So maybe I’m just an oversensitive fellow. But to me this is a bit like seeing a Marine carrying an umbrella. What would Dan Daley and Chesty Piller say? Probably what Drill Instructor Sgt. Carey at Parris Island used to shout at erring recruits: that “failure to pay attention to detail is gonna get someone killed in the fleet.”

Mike Burns/Flickr

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1

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