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How the Pentagon Got Its Shape

CmdrTaco posted more than 7 years ago | from the yay-holiday-weekends dept.

Math 473

Pcol writes "The Washington Post is running a story on the design process for the Pentagon building and why it ended up with its unusual shape. In July 1941 with World War II looming, a small group of army officers met to consider a secret plan to provide a permanent home for War Department headquarters containing 4 million square feet of office space and housing 40,000 people. The building that Brig. Gen. Brehon Burke Somervell, head of the Army's Construction Division, wanted to build was too large to fit within the confines of Washington DC and would have to be located across the Potomac River in Arlington. "We want 500,000 square feet ready in six months, and the whole thing ready in a year," the general said adding that he wanted a design on his desk by Monday morning. The easiest solution, a tall building, was out because of pre-war restrictions on steel usage and the desire not to ruin Washington's skyline. The tract selected had a asymmetrical pentagon shape bound on five sides by roads or other divisions so the building was designed to conform to the tract of land. Then with objections that the new building would block views from Arlington National Cemetery, the location was moved almost one-half mile south. The building would no longer be constructed on the five-sided Arlington Farm site yet the team continued with plans for a pentagon at the new location. In the rush to complete the project, there was simply no time to change the design."

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Pentagon or Pentagram? (0, Flamebait)

nokilli (759129) | more than 7 years ago | (#19299943)

Curious to see them working so hard to explain the shape.

Could it be that they're afraid the policies they're being asked to enact today might cause some of us to believe the building design was inspired by the pentagram as used by the Church of Satan [wikipedia.org] ?

--
Censored by Technorati [blogspot.com]

Re:Pentagon or Pentagram? (5, Interesting)

Kjella (173770) | more than 7 years ago | (#19300017)

Historical trivia on how one of the most known military buildings in the world came to be, I'd say. If they thought the Pentagon was built that way to fit the enormous pentagram in the basement and that the US military is run by devil worshippers, they'd simply do so. Right up there with the flat earth society and those that believe the moon landing was a hoax. Both of which should be put on a one-way rocket to crash into the moon's surface, HHGTTG style so they'd hopefully realize their error along the way, but that's a different story.

Re:Pentagon or Pentagram? (5, Funny)

bobo mahoney (1098593) | more than 7 years ago | (#19300105)

wow an anti-conspiracy theory guy on Slashdot? I didn't think you guys existed.

Re:Pentagon or Pentagram? (0, Offtopic)

nokilli (759129) | more than 7 years ago | (#19300155)

Yeah, but did he ever get to go in the basement and see for himself? He doesn't say.

No conspiracy theory was posited here. He refutes a point that wasn't made, it is the standard for what passes as argument these days.

--
Censored by Technorati [blogspot.com]

Re:Pentagon or Pentagram? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19300251)

Could it be that some of us might think that you, having a blog named "Holocaust Now", which you prominently proclaim is censored by Technorati and blacklisted by search engines, in the last post of which you mention the founder of Technorati being Jewish, are likely to actually give more credence to some of these claims than is actually due?

Now, there was no implication that I think you are a conspiracy nut or an anti-semite here, so if you responded to defend yourself, you'd be responding to an argument that wasn't made. Hypothetical statements are fun!

(I have no wish to debate either conspiracies or Judaism with you. The point of my post was simply to illustrate that statements you make can have implicit meanings as well as explicit(by mentioning the possibility that the Pentagon was inspired by a pentagram except in the context of a joke, you're implying that the theory is not utterly insane, which is probably what a lot of people would think), and it's rather childish to think that you can escape accountability for your statements by making them in implicit form.)

Re:Pentagon or Pentagram? (-1, Troll)

nokilli (759129) | more than 7 years ago | (#19300305)

You're attacking my blog, so that is a different subject altogether.

The comment about Sifry being Jewish makes no sense unless you read this [blogspot.com] and this post [blogspot.com] .

My only intent in the first post is to mock this thing we call Memorial Day. I'm sure the Nazis had their version of Memorial Day as well. I see no reason to celebrate either.

I find it difficult to honor people for committing atrocities. To be sure, America fought wars for freedom but that is once upon a time stuff. Today we are fighting wars for greed, racist hatred, and just because we're really good at it.

I'm not celebrating this shit, and so I think my comments are appropriate.

Wave your flag, just don't do it in my face, OK?

--
Censored by Technorati [blogspot.com]
http://holocaustnow.blogspot.com/2007/01/mad-rip-p art-2.html [blogspot.com]

Re:Pentagon or Pentagram? (4, Funny)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 7 years ago | (#19300351)

wow an anti-conspiracy theory guy on Slashdot? I didn't think you guys existed. - it is, of-course, a conspiracy.

Re:Pentagon or Pentagram? (4, Funny)

Profane MuthaFucka (574406) | more than 7 years ago | (#19300207)

Trivia: the Pentagon was constructed without regard for the curvature of the Earth. That's right, they just flattened the site out without even considering the effects of the curvature of the Earth.

This is proof that the Flat Earth Society was working in league with the Satanists and the Teamsters to create the cold war. Stalin was in on it, and so was Eisenhower and Truman. Pudge knows, but he's not saying. He's avoiding military service, because if he were caught by the terrorists in Iraq and the secret got out, it would be the end of our way of life. I salute you, Pudge, for keeping our secrets safe within the borders of the nation, and away from the terrorists in Iraq. Such a brave man.

Re:Pentagon or Pentagram? (1)

dilbert627 (561671) | more than 7 years ago | (#19300229)

I blame the freemasons.

I hate unreasonable deadlines (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19300423)

Rushed work is crappy work.
Proper planning is expensive, but pays for itself in the long run.
Sometimes you have to rush, but we tend to rush things a lot more than we need to.
It sucks.

Re:Pentagon or Pentagram? (3, Insightful)

PoliTech (998983) | more than 7 years ago | (#19300135)

"In the rush to complete the project, there was simply no time to change the design."

If you are in IT, construction, or just about any other business where one has to deal with stringent project deadlines, you know exactly how true this situation is.

But simple truth is way too mundane when compared to the rich fantasy available with conspiracy theories, Freemason plotting, The New World Order, Zionist global domination, Extraterrestrial influence, etc.etc. ad nauseam!

Re:Pentagon or Pentagram? (0, Troll)

nokilli (759129) | more than 7 years ago | (#19300199)

If you are in IT, construction, or just about any other business where one has to deal with stringent project deadlines, you know exactly how true this situation is.

If you are in the study of genocide, and policies tantamount to same, you know how much bullshit is spent by those complicit in the atrocity to defend these policies.

I never suggested there was a pentagram in the basement of the Pentagon, only that, given what they are asked to do in Afghanistan and Iraq, and soon Iran and Syria, that confusing the Pentagon with the Pentagram is only natural.

Not everybody is stupid.

--
Censored by Technorati [blogspot.com]

Re:Pentagon or Pentagram? (1)

PoliTech (998983) | more than 7 years ago | (#19300319)

Not everybody is stupid.

I'm not trying to imply that you personally are a conspiracy nut, and while I may not agree with your assessment of the US role in global politics, you have a right to your opinion.

It's the whole religious nut aspect where the pentagram is supposed to actually have some evil spiritual meaning (i.e. other than a mere trig concept) that I just can't identify with.

Re:Pentagon or Pentagram? (-1, Troll)

nokilli (759129) | more than 7 years ago | (#19300389)

t's the whole religious nut aspect where the pentagram is supposed to actually have some evil spiritual meaning...

I sympathize, but I wonder, how do you feel about the use of symbols like the Christian cross or the American flag to justify every manner of barbarity.

It isn't just the Pentagon. It's also the star in our flag. And it's what we do around the world.

The symbols are important, only because our population is comprised mainly of poor fools who know how to respond to nothing else.

--
Censored by Technorati [blogspot.com]

Re:Pentagon or Pentagram? (1)

PoliTech (998983) | more than 7 years ago | (#19300509)

I wonder, how do you feel about the use of symbols like the Christian cross or the American flag to justify every manner of barbarity.

I generally post what I Think, not how I Feel. Try it sometime (it requires effort, but you can do it!).

To me religion and it's various symbols (crosses, stars, moons, etc.) seem to be but a mere crutch for those unable, or worse, unwilling to do their own thinking. As far as what the American flag symbolizes, I think you are deliberately portraying extreme negative symbolism represented therein in order to elicit a heated response from your fellow slashdotters, (On Memorial Day no less)

At this point I think you are simply trolling.

Re:Pentagon or Pentagram? (2, Funny)

It doesn't come easy (695416) | more than 7 years ago | (#19300345)

As they say, the Devil is in the details...

One page version rather than five pages ... (3, Informative)

xmas2003 (739875) | more than 7 years ago | (#19299951)

Here is the printable version [washingtonpost.com] ... as noted at the bottom, this this is an excerpt from an upcoming book The Pentagon: a History by Stephan Vogel. Newspapers tend to do these reprints over 3-day weekends since not a lotta news happening - here's something ... uhhhhh ... exciting [watching-paint-dry.com] happening today ... ;-)

Re:One page version rather than five pages ... (0, Offtopic)

malsdavis (542216) | more than 7 years ago | (#19300157)

That website is ace!

It is actually quite interesting atm, there is a guy painting the ceiling. ...and is that a midget painting in the top-left corner?

Loads of scandals being reported on the "paint blog" also!

Re:One page version rather than five pages ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19300231)

I recently had my living room painted the exact same colours!
hmmm, very suspicious.

Re:One page version rather than five pages ... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19300373)

If you don't know what Cmd-Shift-1 and Cmd-Shift-2 are for, GTFO.
If you think Firefox is a decent Mac application, GTFO.
If you're still looking for the "maximize" button, GTFO.
If the name "Clarus" means nothing to you, GTFO.

Bandwagon jumpers are not welcome among real [imageshack.us] Mac [imageshack.us] users [imageshack.us] . Keep your filthy, beige [imageshack.us] PC fingers to yourself.

Re:One page version rather than five pages ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19300397)

The music on that website is a nice touch, really appropriate song, LOL.

Goatse! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19299955)

Goatse! [goatse.cz]

Principia Discordia reference (3, Insightful)

TheCreeep (794716) | more than 7 years ago | (#19299957)

Ever heard of the law of fives ?

Re:Principia Discordia reference (4, Insightful)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 7 years ago | (#19299997)

almost 20 years before the founding of discordianism?

impressive.

Re:Principia Discordia reference (1)

boarder (41071) | more than 7 years ago | (#19300411)

That's funny... I'm reading The Illuminatus trilogy right now.

Re:Principia Discordia reference (1)

Goaway (82658) | more than 7 years ago | (#19300511)

The numerology of Discordianism was the most annoyingly inappropriate part of the Illuminatus books. A religion that worships chaos uses the numerology, the ultimate victory of the human tendency to force patterns and order onto chaos over sense?

Cheney's House (4, Funny)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 7 years ago | (#19299971)

That's a pretty good cover story. Really they had to radiation-shield the pentagram that locks down the devil at its center, with lots of authoritarian human bodies to absorb the extremely high frequencies that scorch souls.

Re:Cheney's House (-1, Troll)

nokilli (759129) | more than 7 years ago | (#19299999)

Hey! I had the first pentagram comment! You need to pay me royalties or otherwise Jesus is going to kick your ass!

--
Censored by Technorati [blogspot.com]

Re:Cheney's House (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 7 years ago | (#19300165)

The devil made me do it. And he works for god. Take it up with them.

Really in the Middle of the Basement Was... (2, Informative)

beadfulthings (975812) | more than 7 years ago | (#19300205)

In more innocent days, the center ring, lower level of the Pentagon contained a mini-shopping mall (called the Concourse) with department stores, a bookseller and other shops, restaurants, a Post Office, and businesses such as dry cleaners. It was also a major transfer point for people taking public transportation (at that time it would've been all buses) into and out of Washington, DC.

Re:Cheney's House (1)

FishWithAHammer (957772) | more than 7 years ago | (#19300259)

It was cheaper to build all that than to pay the Devil's consultancy fees.

Permanent home? (1, Troll)

dada21 (163177) | more than 7 years ago | (#19299973)

1941 and they were already considering a permanent home for the "War" department. In a country where the army was not to be a standing army and it was to be all-volunteer? Typical.

Here's a idea to get rid of the Empire quickly: pass a Constitutional amendment that no military troops can be paid or reimbursed, ever. This way, the only reason why men will go to war is a real one -- real fear that their families, friends and properties may see harm.

Good article, by the way.

Re:Permanent home? (5, Insightful)

drsquare (530038) | more than 7 years ago | (#19300039)

Sorry but this isn't the 2nd century BC where all you needed to go to war was to pick up a spear and put a helmet on. Amateur 'pickup' armies don't work, and will be easily destroyed by a full-time professional army.

Re:Permanent home? (1, Offtopic)

k_187 (61692) | more than 7 years ago | (#19300091)

The snide response to that is "why isn't the full-time professional army winning in Iraq?" However, I personally believe that has less to do with the make-ups of the individual forces and more to do with the strategies involved on both sides. So I'm only going to point it out, and not make it.

Re:Permanent home? (1, Offtopic)

Gnight (163400) | more than 7 years ago | (#19300223)

If the full-time professional army was allowed to fight like their enemies in Iraq do, then the situation there would be different.

Re:Permanent home? (5, Insightful)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 7 years ago | (#19300343)

If the full-time professional army was allowed to fight like their enemies in Iraq do, then the situation there would be different.

If we were actually fighting a War of Conquest, as people seem to insist that we are, then the situation would be different. We aren't fighting a War of Conquest though. We are fighting some sort of wet-dream nation-building exercise created by the Neo-Cons that assumed we'd be welcomed as liberators and only planned on being there for six months or so after the war. We are fighting Dubya's war because he had to one-up his Dad and go to Baghdad.

Irregular/guerrilla warfare only works if you assume that the occupying power has to follow certain conventions and rules of war that you (as the guerrilla) don't. If the occupying power is free from any political constraints then the guerrillas are screwed. Guerrilla warfare never worked against Nazi Germany or Stalinist Russia.

It also never really worked against the early Romans. They were only too happy to slaughter entire villages. Kill every male of military age and sell the women and children into slavery. Yeah, it's not pretty, but by the rules of the day it worked quite well. Lay down your arms and you can join the empire, resist us and we will crush you utterly and enslave any survivors.

People who accuse the United States of trying to "conquer" Iraq or Afghanistan don't know what true conquest is.

Re:Permanent home? (1, Informative)

Dolly_Llama (267016) | more than 7 years ago | (#19300563)



Sure it did. The French resistance was very successful in disrupting the operation of the nazi occupation and the vichy french government. In fact, partisans all over Europe pinned down a substantial part of the Nazi army in garrison duty. They weren't so successful in going toe to toe with a standing army, but then neither are the Iraqis.

Not convinced (0)

sheldon (2322) | more than 7 years ago | (#19300601)

It also never really worked against the early Romans. They were only too happy to slaughter entire villages. Kill every male of military age and sell the women and children into slavery. Yeah, it's not pretty, but by the rules of the day it worked quite well. Lay down your arms and you can join the empire, resist us and we will crush you utterly and enslave any survivors.


This worked so effectively for us in Vietnam.

Oh wait...

Re:Permanent home? (1)

sheldon (2322) | more than 7 years ago | (#19300571)

What do you expect to win?

Re:Permanent home? (1, Offtopic)

DougWebb (178910) | more than 7 years ago | (#19300261)

The easy answer is that in Iraq, you've got civilians, trained and untrained soldiers on two sides, and the soldiers from the US and its allies. The problem is that the first three groups all blend in together when they're not actively fighting, and the US and its allies are trying not to hurt the civilians.

If we were really at war with Iraq as a whole, we'd do much better. This was the case early on, when we were fighting Saddam's army. We still tried to minimize hurting civilians; we could have won even quicker if we didn't.

Yes, I said won. We won that first war, then got stuck in a no-win situation in the follow-on war to decide how to fill the power-vacuum we created. Bush's biggest crime here was starting the first war without a viable plan for winning or avoiding the second one.

Re:Permanent home? (1)

AaronLawrence (600990) | more than 7 years ago | (#19300461)

I agree, but I don't see any reason to assume there is ANY viable plan which can "win or avoid" the second situation. The US is too disliked, the people too poor, the neighbours too aggressive. Which is one reason why most other countries were saying "don't go".

Re:Permanent home? (1)

drgonzo59 (747139) | more than 7 years ago | (#19300273)

Well it takes one stupid commander to order the "full-time professional army" to jump off of a cliff and you don't have a "full-time professional army" anymore. It's just like saying, "Yu have the latest and fastest CPU. So =hHow come the software you write is so slow and full of bugs!?"

Re:Permanent home? (1)

Dun Malg (230075) | more than 7 years ago | (#19300313)

The snide response to that is "why isn't the full-time professional army winning in Iraq?"
The response to comments like that is "it is winning, just not quickly, overwhelmingly, or cheaply".

Re:Permanent home? (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 7 years ago | (#19300363)

When the full-time proffessional army is not allowed to use its full potential for killing and all of the destruction methods that exist in its arsenal (including biological, chemical and nuclear weapons,) because bleeding-heart liberal-minded tree-hugging society doesn't want to see 'those images' on their TV sets, then the full-time professional army gets stuck in a civil war, which cannot be won ever until every single person is dead. But those are not the realities that people want to face.

Face it, to win wars like Iraq you have to kill every single person willing to fight.

Re:Permanent home? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19300381)

Face it, to win wars like Iraq you have to kill every single person willing to fight.
On which side?

Re:Permanent home? (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 7 years ago | (#19300453)

On all sides that are fighting. So those, who completely wipe out the opposite side first, win.

Re:Permanent home? (1)

AaronLawrence (600990) | more than 7 years ago | (#19300475)

This would be the war to "liberate" Iraq, that you want to win by using every possible weapon indiscriminately?
Any amount of civilian casualties are OK, so long as all the "bad guys" get killed and there are "some" civilians left?

Re:Permanent home? (1)

drgonzo59 (747139) | more than 7 years ago | (#19300249)

Besides, since Vietnam we already have a problem with sadistic sickos who join just to kill, and if you stop paying soldiers you'll be left with perhaps one half honest patriots and another good half of crazy people who love to blow up anything that moves. Look at Abu Ghraib, I think those people would have joined just to have a chance to torture someone, the pay was just 'extra' for them.

Re:Permanent home? (3, Interesting)

the_ed_dawg (596318) | more than 7 years ago | (#19300537)

The Zimbardo Prison Experiment [prisonexp.org] at Stanford in 1971 illustrated that normal people can become exceptionally cruel under circumstances where one group dominates another. These were just random students. By the end of it, even Professor Zimbardo had joined in. It took an outside colleague to end the experiment.

The guards were given no specific training on how to be guards. Instead they were free, within limits, to do whatever they thought was necessary to maintain law and order in the prison and to command the respect of the prisoners.

The guards broke into each cell, stripped the prisoners naked, took the beds out, forced the ringleaders of the prisoner rebellion into solitary confinement, and generally began to harass and intimidate the prisoners.

The guards again escalated very noticeably their level of harassment, increasing the humiliation they made the prisoners suffer, forcing them to do menial, repetitive work such as cleaning out toilet bowls with their bare hands. The guards had prisoners do push-ups, jumping jacks, whatever the guards could think up, and they increased the length of the counts to several hours each.

There were three types of guards. First, there were tough but fair guards who followed prison rules. Second, there were "good guys" who did little favors for the prisoners and never punished them. And finally, about a third of the guards were hostile, arbitrary, and inventive in their forms of prisoner humiliation. These guards appeared to thoroughly enjoy the power they wielded, yet none of our preliminary personality tests were able to predict this behavior. The only link between personality and prison behavior was a finding that prisoners with a high degree of authoritarianism endured our authoritarian prison environment longer than did other prisoners.

I ended the study prematurely for two reasons. First, we had learned through videotapes that the guards were escalating their abuse of prisoners in the middle of the night when they thought no researchers were watching and the experiment was "off." Their boredom had driven them to ever more pornographic and degrading abuse of the prisoners.

Second, Christina Maslach, a recent Stanford Ph.D. brought in to conduct interviews with the guards and prisoners, strongly objected when she saw our prisoners being marched on a toilet run, bags over their heads, legs chained together, hands on each other's shoulders. Filled with outrage, she said, "It's terrible what you are doing to these boys!" Out of 50 or more outsiders who had seen our prison, she was the only one who ever questioned its morality. Once she countered the power of the situation, however, it became clear that the study should be ended.

Like most people, I'm disgusted by the actions of those guards at Abu Ghraib. However, the suggestion that the guards at Abu Ghraib would have signed up anyway is contrary to experimental data. The prison environment converted normal Stanford undergraduates into abusive prisoners and a well-established professor into a vindictive superintendent.

Re:Permanent home? (3, Insightful)

smitty_one_each (243267) | more than 7 years ago | (#19300079)

Here's a idea to get rid of the Empire quickly: pass a Constitutional amendment that no military troops can be paid or reimbursed, ever.
While I have no clue concerning this "Empire" of yours, one thing that would put actual teeth in the anti-war movement would be a repeal of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_Powers_Act [wikipedia.org] , such that the US would actually have to declare war to wage it. For those keeping track, WWII saw the last proper declarations of war.
One could take the cynical route, and say that the Congress is as anti-war as it is anti-corruption. A more realistic read might be that the niceties of actual states carrying out "diplomacy by other means" using uniformed organizations along civilized lines is simply OBE.

Re:Permanent home? (4)

db32 (862117) | more than 7 years ago | (#19300137)

You are aware of what was happening in 1941 right? I mean, I know ignorant opinionated drivel like yours can be lazy, but I would assume you have at least been through the basic history of the whole WWI/WWII/Cold War progression.

Beyond that, you are yet another one of those fools that blames the military for any of this crap. The military does what it is told to do by civilian authority, just like the constitution says. The civilians say they can't do something, and that means they can't do it. You want to fix this, quit bitching and trying to screw over the men that serve their nation, and go fix the men that serve themselves (politicians). Further, while not paying politicians sounds very attractive, it would just further the whole lobbyist problem. When the military DOESN'T do what the civilians tell them, you have a military coop, and I am reasonably certain you would rather have the military continue to follow bullshit directives from idiot civilians that you can replace democratically than have to deal with a military coop (which by the way would probably rather quick once you opted to quit paying them).

The idea that you could fight and win in modern warfare just by grabbing a bunch of untrained people and not paying them is just unbelievably ignorant of what the military does. Beyond that, I seriously doubt you are aware of or give a damn about what the military does that ISN'T part of our idiot politicians agendas. The US military is usually one of the first responders to natural disasters globally, and other humanitarian things. Here [state.gov] , this is why we should definitely quit paying them.

Re:Permanent home? (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 7 years ago | (#19300147)

In the real world war is a fact of life. Ignore that and you will be conquered in no time flat.

And it looks like, generations later, our army is still volunteer based. Ite nice that they still have a place to call home. As long as people want to stand up and fight for their country there will be an "army". And there needs to be a centralized permanent command structure to count on.

Oh, and just try being effective with the worry your family wont have a house to live in, or food to eat while you are away. Not being compensated is ludicrous.

Re:Permanent home? (-1, Flamebait)

Tuna_Shooter (591794) | more than 7 years ago | (#19300197)

You my friend are a naive SAP. Are you canadian by any chance???

Re:Permanent home? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19300477)

Holy shit! For once I actually agree with dada21! I find it pathetic that so many of our troops (aka, government employees) sit there espousing their disdain for the government, but have no problems collecting a paycheck, housing, and healthcare from it, all while denying the right for others to do the same.

Re:Permanent home? (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 7 years ago | (#19300501)

Yes, because we all know how well a bunch of guys with rifles stand up to a modern army. Even in the close quarters of a city, they stand no chance at all to hold territory. Guerilla warfare in the cities hiding among civilians isn't exactly glorious, but that's what you'd end up with. Most people tend to think you should deal out a case of military whoop-ass before they get anywhere near your women and children. You don't do that by sending out Minutemen to form line in the forest anymore, sorry. Trained personnel are required to operate fighter jets and tanks and warships and all the other machinery integral to the defense as well as the offense, and trained personnel needs to get paid for their time and effort.

And once you control the civilans, there are ways to break the resistance. Not that are available to the US since they're playing the good guys, but if you look at Nazi Germany's occupation of Europe, the Soviet Unions military presence in Eastern Europe, you'll know what I mean. Threats against the civilain population, giving them a little leash when they're being good puppets, yanking their chain when they're not. "Real fear" of their families, friends and properties is a two-way street because they can also be held hostage to force you into surrender. Despite all international courts, UN resolutions and the Geneva convention it's rarely more than an aftermath where only high-profile losers are punished.

War is ugly, reslly ugly. If you think 9/11 was ugly, you should try being invaded and occupied for several years. Chances are you'd be a great fan of a War department, to keep the enemies of the nation away. Now, how much you should use it on the offensive is a different question, since there are ways to strike back that don't play by military rules. But every country should defend itself. Which is why I'm more than a little scared of my government here in Norway, Russia is slipping away from democracy while we're building down our defenses. NATO has been threatening to remove their stockpiles because we can't hold on long enough to make use of them, and I don't blame them.

I don't think the threat of nuclear holocaust is enough to stop WWIII. Let's say Russia a few decades down the road, after doing a Hitleresque buildup of the military and a desired to reestablish itself as the worlds other superpower rolls into Europe. The Amercians say "Stop, or we'll nuke" and the Russians reply "Do that, and we nuke back". Would they be willing to launch first strike, or would they pull a Chamberlain on us? I don't know. But I do know I'm in favor of a real military, though it won't stand up to Russia on its own, which says that we will defend this country with all the military force we can muster.

How the Pentagon Got Its Shape (3, Funny)

SpaghettiPattern (609814) | more than 7 years ago | (#19300019)

How the Pentagon Got Its Shape... (It's pentagonal.)
This vividly reminds me of "the time when the milkman was 47 minutes late" [wikipedia.org]

Re:How the Pentagon Got Its Shape (5, Funny)

trolltalk.com (1108067) | more than 7 years ago | (#19300053)

Next up - "what part of George's anatomy inspired the Washington Monument".

In typical government fashion (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19300051)

The Pentagon was actually overbuilt as a enormous circle.

After construction was complete, a WPA project directed another set of contractors to shave off the excess parts at a cost of 3.2 billion dollars.

Get Your Priorities Straight (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19300065)

from the yay-holiday-weekends dept.

Apparently, Taco can cheer for a long weekend, but he completely neglects the reason for it. Today is Memorial Day, where we pay tribute and honor those that gave their lives for their country, so that we can continue to live in freedom.

God Bless Our Troops, and God Bless America.

Re:Get Your Priorities Straight (-1, Troll)

nokilli (759129) | more than 7 years ago | (#19300129)

No, I'm sorry, our troops today are engaged in atrocities around the world.

While they are not responsible for the policies they are being asked to enact, it hardly seems fitting to honor them for their sacrifice when we're looking at over a million dead Muslims by their hand.

This Memorial Day, I'm remembering those who we have killed for no reason whatsoever.

And praying that we end this madness.

--
Censored by Technorati [blogspot.com]

Re:Get Your Priorities Straight (1)

PoliTech (998983) | more than 7 years ago | (#19300213)

Excellent flaimebait! Especially on Memorial Day.

/Trolling Slashdot are you?

Re:Get Your Priorities Straight (1, Offtopic)

nokilli (759129) | more than 7 years ago | (#19300255)

It isn't flamebait if it is the truth.

--
Censored by Technorati [blogspot.com]

Re:Get Your Priorities Straight (3, Interesting)

trolltalk.com (1108067) | more than 7 years ago | (#19300303)

At the risk of being way off-topic, the truth is the best flame-bait. Different people have different versions of the truth - try talking sense to anyone who believes in "Intelligent Design". Or who thinks Iraq isn't another Viet-Nam. Or who thinks Windows is the only "legal" operating system.

Re:Get Your Priorities Straight (1, Offtopic)

nokilli (759129) | more than 7 years ago | (#19300347)

I take your point.

Under a different username, I once got modded -1, Insightful for speaking the truth, and it trashed my account (I went from excellent karma to, um, terrible or awful or whatever it's called, in just one post.)

As my fake sig might suggest, I have little patience for words used to justify my speech being deleted/censored/moderated/whatever.

--
Censored by Technorati [blogspot.com]

Re:Get Your Priorities Straight (1)

JackieBrown (987087) | more than 7 years ago | (#19300553)

Was that your first post?

Today you have been modded down and your karma is still good.

Re:Get Your Priorities Straight (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19300407)

Oh, so million dead Muslims by their hand is the truth?

Got any credible source for that?

I didn't think so. I just OWNED YOU. I win, you lose.

Re:Get Your Priorities Straight (2, Informative)

nokilli (759129) | more than 7 years ago | (#19300529)

Perhaps if you stopped watching Fox News or drinking out of the toilet you'd know this already.

Lancet had Iraqi casualties at 655,000 [guardian.co.uk] and that was over a half year ago and doesn't count military.

And of course, that doesn't count what we did in Afghanistan, where we spent months bombing civilian targets that lay along the pipeline routes, bombings that took place long before we went after Tora Bora and bin Laden. And missed.

Add the sanctions under Clinton responsible for at least a half-million Iraqi dead. Add the millions dead from the Iran-Iraq war, which we clearly instigated. Or the Gulf War, which we probably manufactured (see April Glaspie [wikipedia.org] ). The depleted uranium getting into everything, including the mothers breast.

Most of the Bush White coming out of Afghanistan since the invasion is destined for Iraq as well, so we need to consider that too.

It is genocide and in truth the number is way over a million, it's in the many millions.

Your saying otherwise is no different than the "good" Germans denying the "Holocaust".

Please, have the heart to become human again, and stand against this atrocity.

--
Censored by Technorati [blogspot.com]

Re:Get Your Priorities Straight (1)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | more than 7 years ago | (#19300339)

While they are not responsible for the policies they are being asked to enact, it hardly seems fitting to honor them for their sacrifice when we're looking at over a million dead Muslims by their hand.

A million? Why not use seven million in your delusion, then you'll be able to accuse the U.S. of killing more than the Jewish Holocaust.

Re:Get Your Priorities Straight (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19300433)

Because claiming we've killed seven million would be untrue, unless you count the number of people of Islamic heritage being killed in Africa as well - but that is not by our soldiers hands, but by the inaction of the hands of American leaders. Then again, tens of thousands of palestinians have been killed by Israeli hands with American weapons as well - they really are "middle easterners", so does this count toward the body count?
 
One million Muslims in Iraq? Wrong. Deluding yourself into thinking that this body count - regardless of what the number is - should be ignored so that we can celebrate the killers? Wrong.
 
Look, before you launch into something about how they're fighting for our freedoms I'd like to ask you this - what freedoms are they fighting to protect? The only freedom I see being protected by this war is the freedom for war profiteers to use the bodies of non-christians to increase the size of their bank account. The freedom for politicians to reduce and limit our rights as citizens in this country. (Tell me again why my bottle of water is a terrorist threat?) And ask the average Iraqi citizen if they have more or less freedom under the Occupiers as opposed to under Saddam - you might be surprised.

Because only NOW counts? (2, Insightful)

Ahnteis (746045) | more than 7 years ago | (#19300425)

So we shouldn't bother honoring the persons killed in past wars in defense of our nation because we disagree (however strongly) with the war going on today?

Good solid thinking.

Re:Get Your Priorities Straight (1)

qortra (591818) | more than 7 years ago | (#19300451)

Point taken: we should all take time out to remember. However, maybe you're being hard on Taco? I mean, that's not even a headline; it's the fun tag that is usually ignored by most. And, to be fair, this is an article about a U.S. Military building, so not entirely orthogonal to the spirit of the day. Plus, he still has many hours left in the day to post articles about or mention things more relevant to Memorial day.

So be a little less prickly today. And don't forget to perhaps thank a serviceman who is still living; it isn't the expressed purpose of the day, but I'm sure they would be grateful anyway.

The "War Department" (3, Funny)

jimijon (608416) | more than 7 years ago | (#19300081)

At least they were honest back then. Now it is called the "Defense Department"?! HA!

Re:The "War Department" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19300331)

At least they were honest back then. [in 1941] Now it is called the "Defense Department"?! [as it has been since 1945-1947, actually] HA! [Um, yeah.]

Re:The "War Department" (1)

AchilleTalon (540925) | more than 7 years ago | (#19300573)

Knowing the best defense is attack, they are in fact still honest.

this reminds me (1)

rubberbandball (1076739) | more than 7 years ago | (#19300083)

of a post 9/11 Daily Show comment calling it "the quadragon". but no one really knows how that happened.

Re:this reminds me (4, Informative)

phillymjs (234426) | more than 7 years ago | (#19300219)

Actually, that was from a headline from the first post-9/11 issue of the Onion.

More correctly, it was a headline they thought went a little too far, and was not actually used. If memory serves it was something like "America Stronger Than Ever, Say Quadragon Officials."

~Philly

why math (1)

iONiUM (530420) | more than 7 years ago | (#19300093)

I kind of expected the definition of the origin of the math pentagon: "After 4 sides, a square, became so useful we had to think for years about how to top it.. and then it came to us: FIVE sides".

Re:why math (1)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 7 years ago | (#19300267)

"Well, why eleven?" "It's one louder, isn't it? I mean, you're on ten here, you're on ten on your guitar, where can you go from there? Nowhere, exactly! So when we need that little extra kick, we turn it up to eleven." "Why don't you just only have ten, and make that louder?" ".......this one goes to eleven."

the names of the chief alternative designs (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19300103)

..."Rectangle", "Quadrilateral", and "Square", tested poorly in focus groups.

Re:the names of the chief alternative designs (4, Funny)

gardyloo (512791) | more than 7 years ago | (#19300593)

And the public thought that "Moebius Strip", though it sounded fun at first, hinted too much at something German.

What!? (3, Funny)

lawpoop (604919) | more than 7 years ago | (#19300117)

You mean all those conspiracy web sites that claim that the shape of the pentagon and capitol hill are giant satanic drawings are bullshit!?

War readiness should be our top priority (1)

m0llusk (789903) | more than 7 years ago | (#19300139)

All this talk of technology and free software is a distraction. What really matters is our preparations and readiness for war.

why fight it? (1)

suzerain (245705) | more than 7 years ago | (#19300175)

Pretty much everything we do just conforms to the limitations of our environment. It's all we can really do, after all. That the Pentagon's shape happened because of an artificial "environment" (the shape of a plot of land) is irrelevant. And then, the shape wasn't changed when it was moved because of a lack of time...well, this is also pretty common, I think.

I'm not trying to pooh-pooh the article, but it's just kind of...well...you know, my shoe is shaped kind of oblong and rounded because, well, that's how feet are shaped. Isn't that amazing?

I guess what I'm getting at is...erm...why is this interesting? I guess the only news here is the bit about how it was shaped to fit one site, then moved. Riveting stuff, that.

Re:why fight it? (1)

Rhaban (987410) | more than 7 years ago | (#19300297)

my shoe is shaped kind of oblong and rounded because, well, that's how feet are shaped. Isn't that amazing?
I believe my feet are shaped this way because I put them inside oblong and rounded shoes every day. If I was to wear pentagonal shoes for a while, my feet would adapt and get pentagram-shaped.

Re:why fight it? (1)

kiracatgirl (791797) | more than 7 years ago | (#19300325)

It's only here so that the people on slashdot can make repeated references to Satanism in the Government, really.

When the bureaucracy worked (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19300209)

WW2 was a special time in the history of the public service. Projects were approved and built at a pace that embarrasses us today. Sure, the military had a bureaucracy but there was a war to be won. Everyone focused on being effective. Petty bureaucrats with petty bureaucratic concerns were swept aside.

The lessons were learned in WW1. When that war started, the British officer corps was incompetent. They were in charge of the empire's troops and there were massacres of Canadian, Australian, Newfoundland etc. troops. The colonies weren't about to put up with that. In fact there is a story that the Canadian prime minister hauled the British prime minister out of his chair by his lapels and made it very clear that, if there was another such massacre, the Canadians were going home. The incompetent British officers were replaced by competent colonials. By the time the Americans arrived, they had some very good models of military efficiency to copy. (You could also make the argument that they weren't that stupid in the first place.) In any event, when WW2 came along, the lessons learned in WW1 were still living memory.

Sadly, given enough peace time, the fat bloated bureaucracy rears its ugly head again. The meritocracy is suppressed. If we had to build another Pentagon today, it would cost too much and take too long, and some company close to certain politicians would get rich. In fact, looking at the corruption and waste of money in Iraq, I'm feeling very depressed.

Re:When the bureaucracy worked (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19300387)

Jerry Pournelle's Iron Law of Bureaucracy states, basically, that any bureaucracy will always tend to become more bureaucratic.

The only exception he notes is of the military during wartime.

Lessons Learned, and Forgotten (3, Interesting)

Detritus (11846) | more than 7 years ago | (#19300449)

One area where the Brits and Americans had to relearn the lessons of World War I was anti-submarine warfare. Only after many ships were sunk, and lives lost, did they reinstitute the convoy system that had proved so successful in the previous war. It was if the allied navies had suffered a collective attack of memory loss and were determined to repeat all of their previous mistakes. In contrast, the Germans had developed and practiced new tactics to make more effective use of their modernized submarine fleet. The damage to the allies was only limited by the relatively small size of the German submarine fleet and design deficiencies in their torpedoes.

I doubt it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19300469)

I suspect much of the dirty details of WW II have become myth. I doubt there was a single time in history where the shades of grey were really black and white.

I believe it would be more accurate to say that bureaucracy was ignored or routed around more during WW II. Bureaucracy never works.

One side for each.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19300243)

of the final five cylons.

A new one based on a cirlce? (1)

iknownuttin (1099999) | more than 7 years ago | (#19300271)

Have a new defense department in a building shaped like a circle. The theme of the building being what goes around, comes around.

Kafka-esque (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19300283)

English-born poet W. H. Auden worked on an Army commission in the 40s and mentioned once, having been to a meeting in the Pentagon, wandering the halls for what seemed like forever. Finally spotting a guard he walked up and said "Excuse me, but how do I get out?" to which the guard replied "You are out."

Prison of Yog-Sothoth (2)

kherr (602366) | more than 7 years ago | (#19300371)

They're using this fictional history as a way to cover up that Yog-Sothoth is imprisoned in the center. Certainly the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon was an attempt to free Yog-Sothoth [necronomi.com] (see the "Elder Sign" section).

Sounds vaguely familiar (2, Funny)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 7 years ago | (#19300417)

In the rush to complete the project, there was simply no time to change the design."
I know I've heard something like this before. Where could it have been? Where could it have been?
Ah, never mind, I'm sure they'll get it right in rev 2.

The least sophisticated way of relating is killing (-1, Troll)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | more than 7 years ago | (#19300445)

The biggest shared project of U.S. citizens and the U.S. government, by far, is killing other people. Every U.S. citizen works an extra two months a year so that he or she can contribute to the killing.

The least sophisticated way of relating to other people is killing them. The blowback from that is obvious on any street in the United States. People are unhappy because they have been killing other people. They react to their unhappiness, increasingly, by eating too much. The U.S. is now the most obese nation on earth, in the history of the world. The ugliness of what U.S. citizens do is now apparent even just looking at their bodies.

I've tried to document some of the killing, but it is far, far too big a job for one person working without pay just for the love of his country: History surrounding the U.S. wars with Iraq: Four short stories [futurepower.org] .

The U.S. government has killed directly or indirectly about 11 million people since the end of the second world war. Most of them were killed for profit, but many of them were killed because there are people in government who like to kill, especially because someone else pays. A lot of government killing happens for the same reason that people like to play violent video games: They don't know any better way to handle the anger they have because they received bad parenting.

The U.S. government has become much more corrupt, and there is a danger the U.S. will become a (hidden) dictatorship: George W. Bush comedy and tragedy [futurepower.org] .

OFFTOPIC!!!! MOD THIS FAGGOT COCKSUCKER DOWN (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19300519)

What the fuck does your comment have to do with the construction of the Pentagon? I'll tell you: it's completely offtopic, but par for the course for you. You use any opportunity to post your hippy-dippy lefty bullshit at any anytime. I'm surprised these idiot moderators still fall for it every time. Maybe it's because they're also dirty, smelly hippies who have no lives like you.

Re:The least sophisticated way of relating is kill (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19300565)

cry me a river, everybody kills something directly or indirectly

Hell's Bottom (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19300547)

He he he...

Does that make the Pentagon Hell's anus? It's the right shape.
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