Military English exam, reading, level 4 (SLP 4444)

Examination paper – level 4

Today I’m publishing the original examination paper, covering reading part of the exam. It’s level 4 exam, marked SLP4444 according to STANAG 6001. The original paper comes from the exam set published by the PAFSL. It consists of three tasks, an examinee is obliged to do. Below you will also find the answer key to help you validate your performance.

READING – level 4

L4/R/001

Task One

Read each of the texts below and then complete the sentence which comes under the text, using no more than five words to show that you have understood the text.

An example has been provided for you.

Chee Soon Juan, leader of the Singapore Democratic party, pleaded not guilty to the charge of speaking in public without a permit, over a speech made in February. The case highlights the state restrictions on free speech.

In Singapore one has to have a permit/have permission  to speak in public.

1.       ‘A night to remember for a plot that gallops along like a comatose sloth, or for the jokes that come as thick and fast as a geriatric stick insect, or the creaking set that evokes the age of the Busby Berkeley fantasia in the same way as a tugboat evokes The Golden Hind.’

This review is written in a _______________________________tone.

2.       Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe is used to ignoring international vilification. But the domestic outcry that followed police beatings of opposition leaders and the subsequent squashing of grassroots protesters may offer players within his own party a chance to depose the octogenarian autocrat, whose rule has yielded 1,700% inflation, an 80% unemployment rate and average life expectancy of 35, the lowest in the world. Mugabe’s chief rivals include a former army chief and an ex-intelligence chief. Sure, they don’t carry very progressive credentials, but in the eyes of many, anyone but Mugabe will do.

The recent decisions of the Zimbabwean government might turn out to be beneficial for ________________________ .

3.       Ruth Kelly has been given an implicit rebuke by Scotland’s First Minister for criticising the cautioning of a Celtic player who crossed himself during a Rangers match. Jack McConnell said, without mentioning Ms Kelly by name, that politicians should be “very careful” and that Artur Boruc was not cautioned for blessing himself. ‘The action was taken over “alleged gesticulating” said to anger fans,’ he and the Crown official said.

Ruth Kelly thinks Boruc ____________________________________  for crossing himself.

4.       Even before the No Asshole Rule was introduced, being an asshole could get you fired. It happened to Terrell Owens. And to Bobby Knight. Donald Rumsfeld got the U.S. mired in Iraq, but all the talk after his booting was about his sneering intransigence. Rupert Murdoch canned Judith Regan after her much booed O.J. Simpson memoir, but the publishing exec’s rude behaviour apparently sealed the deal. Sutton tells of law firms and Wall Street shops now purging their louts. As more corporations adopt codes of conduct that outlaw uncouthness, we may see managers stapling the broken contract to the pink slip.

One can get fired  ___________________________________ under No Asshole Rule.

5.       Legal hearings for detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, have stalled over a statutory catch. Prisoners found to be “enemy combatants” according to previous rules can’t be tried as “unlawful enemy combatants” under rules enacted last year, two military judges have decided. The Pentagon may win on appeal, but more than semantics is at stake. Potentially hundreds of detainees will be affected, and though they probably won’t go free, Congress may again revamp the troubled system if the military tries to have them redesignated unlawful under the new law.

To proceed with the trial in accordance with the Pentagon’s wishes, ______________________ unlawful.

6.       A consortium of banks led by Royal Bank of Scotland made a formal offer to buy ABN AMRO. RBS valued the proposal at € 71.1 billion ($96 billion), which is slightly less than the figure the consortium had been mooting in April, but still €8.6 billion higher, it said, than an offer from Barclays that ABN has accepted. The competing bids provide different scenarios for the Dutch bank. The RBS consortium would split ABN in three, whereas Barclays would combine with it to create a global giant. RBS’s offer is also contingent on ABN retaining LaSalle, its American subsidiary, which Bank of America has agreed to buy for $21 billion.

If Bank of America buys LaSalle, RBS may ____________________________ to buy ABN AMRO.

7.       This senior moment might have been avoided had Billy Crystal, the host of the 1991 Oscar ceremony, pointed Hal Roach in the right direction. The centenarian, who was being honoured for his silent classics, such as Laurel & Hardy series, made his minutes-long, unamplified speech to a baffled audience. As the old man traipsed off, Crystal quipped that it was “fitting, since Mr Roach started in silent film”.

The audience were confused as they ___________________________________ Mr Roach.

8.       Critics of Iran’s nuclear programme are “bullying” the country, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani have said in response to a report by the UN that opens the way for additional sanctions. The country’s leaders seem to be closing ranks after the International Atomic Energy Agency said Iran has ignored a UN ultimatum to freeze uranium enrichment.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad ________________________________  by Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani after AEA’s statement.

Task Two

In the text “The Way of The Warrior” there are nine lettered paragraphs. Match the statements below with the paragraphs they refer to. Each statement matches one and only one paragraph. There are two extra paragraphs that do not match any statement. An example has been done for you.
Which paragraph … .
 Example: exhibits the ever-readiness of modern soldiers            Answer: C

9. shows scorn poured at one type of military involvement
10. exemplifies the omnipresence of the favoured moral code
11. stresses the incompatibility of the current approach to ethics with military activity
12. provides evidence that long held principles are not being adhered to    
13. suggests what should be done to improve the current situation in the military
14. affirms soldiers only care for the opinions of a limited group
15. describes the influence of a dubious theory on military practice

 The Way OF The Warrior

 (A)   ‘The moral elements,’ said Clausewitz, ‘are among the most important in war’. This was never more true than it is today. In the decisive battle for hearts and minds, the moral image an army projects is as powerful as, if not more powerful than, the physical force it wields. From this perspective, a new report issued by the US Army mental health advisory team makes for gloomy reading. According to the BBC, the report, based on a survey of 1,700 American soldiers in Iraq, found that ‘less than half the troops in Iraq thought Iraqi civilians should be treated with dignity and respect. More than a third believed that torture was acceptable’. If this is true, the moral battle is close to being lost.

(B)   Much of the problem, I believe, lies in the obsession in US military circles with the ‘warrior ethos’. The US military does not have ‘soldiers’ any more; it has ‘warriors’. Air Force recruits, for instance, finish their basic training with a ‘warrior week’, and cadets at the Naval Academy in Annapolis take a course on ‘the code of the warrior’. The army’s Platoon Leader Development Course is now the ‘Warrior Leader Course’, while the military’s Walter Reed Hospital provides ‘warrior care’, not, of course, to its ‘patients’, but to its ‘wounded warriors’. The army has issued a ‘Warrior Ethos’, which everyone is expected to memorise. Not to be outdone, the US Air Force has recently brought out a similar ethos of its own.

(C)   Warrior status goes beyond mere words; it is a matter of appearance, too. The smarter forms of military dress are now rarely to be seen. Instead, combat uniforms are de rigueur, no matter the place or event. Top generals visit universities and public institutions dressed for digging trenches; soldiers, and even cadets at some university Officer Training Corps, graduate from basic training not in parade best but in baggy camouflage gear; and when the head of the army, General Pace, visited West Point, the entire corps of cadets turned out to meet him in combat uniforms. Everyone needs to be ready for combat at any moment.

(D)   The ‘warrior ethos’ is a manifestation of the determination among US officers in recent years that they would have no more to do with that namby-pamby counter-insurgency stuff, let alone any of those even wimpier ‘Operations Other Than War’ (OOTW), such as peacekeeping. As one former chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff is quoted as saying, ‘Real men don’t do OOTW.’ US soldiers are to be pure war-fighters.

(E)   The problem is that the US armed forces are now thoroughly mired in OOTW, which to some extent require a different set of qualities than conventional war does. Take, for instance, the warrior ethos’s language of close combat with the enemy: fine for conventional war; really not at all suitable for OOTW, which depend on the use of minimum force.

(F)    In addition, the warrior ethos is built on the idea, popularised by Brigadier General S.L.A. Marshall, that soldiers will not fight for abstract theories, such as freedom or democracy, or for larger social corporations, such as the nation, but only for their immediate group of comrades. Hence the importance of never leaving a comrade behind. Marshall claimed to have based his conclusions on interviews with soldiers immediately after battle. The problem is that we have known at least since 1988 that Marshall was, as one historian puts it, ‘a fraud’, his research ‘sloppy, fabricated or simply guesswork’. His famous ‘discovery’ that only a quarter of soldiers fired their weapons in combat was a complete invention. Yet Marshall’s fraudulent concepts have had a remarkably powerful influence on armies throughout the Western world. Following his logic, the focus of much military training after the Second World War became building ‘small group cohesion’ and increasing individuals’ rate of fire.

(G)  The result is that in many Western militaries what anthropologists call the ‘honour group’, those people whose opinion really matters to you, has narrowed dramatically over the past 100 years. Read the letters of American Civil War soldiers, and you find that what counted was what the folks back home thought of them; read the letters of the First World War soldiers, and you find that what they harped on about was their sense of duty towards their country. Now what soldiers are primarily concerned with is fitting in with their mates. This helps to explain the conclusion of the report above that a third of soldiers ‘believed torture was acceptable if it helped save the life of a fellow soldier’. Non-soldiers lie outside the military honour group; as such they are felt to deserve no respect.

(H)  The inevitable conclusion is that military training needs to change its emphasis to incorporate a more cosmopolitan ethic. Armed forces might also consider revisiting the lists of official ‘values’ that they all like to produce. It is noticeable that, while these lists reflect great concern with the requirements of the traditional ‘warrior’ (generally including virtues such as courage, loyalty, discipline and obedience), they rarely show any concern for anyone outside the military circle. The Israel Defense Forces is unique in including in its list of values ‘respect for human life’ and ‘respect for human dignity’. Nothing even closely resembling these appears in the lists of any European or North American country. Can we be surprised if organisations that officially list loyalty but not respect for human dignity as primary institutional virtues discover that their members are willing to use torture?

(I)     It is soldiers that the Western world needs right now, not warriors. The warrior is a savage, anarchic and disordered; the soldier is a professional, disciplined and restrained. The warrior ethos is the path to defeat.

Task Three

You are going to read a newspaper article. For questions 16 – 20, choose answer A, B, C or D.

 POKING STICKS AT LIONS

 Tony Blair, more than any other prime minister in recent times, seemed instinctively to comprehend the ways journalists think, with an unerring knack for finding words to provoke the most propitious coverage. In ten years at the top, despite exposure in the press of some horribly uncomfortable secrets, including alleged cash for honours and kickbacks to Saudi princes, he scarcely ever made a gaffe, lost his composure or misjudged the mood – even in the dark days of the Iraq war. So his characterisation on June 12th of the media as a feral beast that hunts in pack was more than just piercing to journalists. It felt to many like an act of infidelity.

In one of his last speeches on June 27th, Mr. Blair argued that fragmentation of the media, heightened competition among different outlets and the introduction of rolling 24-hour news channels had contributed to a whole host of journalistic shortcomings: the mingling of fact and opinion; a failure to reflect ambiguity and to provide balanced criticism; the elevation of sensation and controversy above straight reporting. Above all, though, he reproached the media for a widespread cynicism about politics and public life that he believes is sapping the country’s confidence and self-belief, undermining its assessment of itself and its institutions.

For a prime minister who has treated every public appearance like a theatre performance and whose administration will always be synonymous with spin, to impugn the system he has so often exploited seems a bit rich. And the fact that the only newspaper he specifically criticised was ‘The Independent’ left many wondering whether he had singled it out because of its consistent remonstrance against the war in Iraq, or because it is just the smallest of the national daily papers.

Yet, despite editors’ desire to shoot the messenger, Mr. Blair has a point when he identifies this age of journalism as one of mass impact. Many newspaper and television producers have discovered that people have short attention spans and an urge for scandal, gossip and disgust. They feed them accordingly, often ignominiously, by bugging telephones and badgering celebrities (or merely those unlucky enough to have dated them). Mr. Blair’s team has had its part in it. It moved politics from Parliament to the television studio, and rewarded or chastised journalists by granting or withholding access to people in power.

Yet for all their failings, these clamorous media also generate some even-handed reporting and opinion. And they have often been a more tenacious check on the government of the day than the official opposition. That journalists who once feted Mr. Blair have now turned on him says more about how he has squandered his once considerable authority and the public’s trust than it does about the current state of British journalism.

16.  Blair’s 12th June speech …

A.  came as no surprise to anyone
B.  was seen as disloyalty by media
C.  was prejudicial towards media
D.  contained shocking information

17.  In Blair’s opinion the media should be mainly blamed for …

A.  focusing on sensation too much
B.  conveying opinions instead of facts
C.  affecting the standing of the state
D.  a cynical presentation of his policy

18.  In the third paragraph the author thinks that Blair’s recent criticism of the media …

A.  results from its opposition to the Iraqi war
B.  may be perceived as an unreasonable step
C.  is nothing unusual for his administration
D.  appears to have some hidden intentions

19.  Saying that “Mr. Blair’s team has had its part” the author suggests that they…

A.  made use of media to promote politics
B.  were constantly spied on by journalists
C.  were aware of the public expectations
D.  censored what papers wrote about them

20.  The relation between the media and Tony Blair shows …

A.  how the UK media are functioning nowadays
B.  that he has tried to rebuild his lost authority
C.  that the media have become his opposition
D.  how much impact he has lost as a statesman

Answer key:

Task One

  1. sarcastic
  2. people from his own party
  3. shouldn’t have been cautioned
  4. for being rude
  5. detainees have to be designated
  6. withdraw its offer
  7. did not hear
  8. was supported

Task Two

9) D 10) B 11)E 12) A 13) H 14) G 15) F

Task Three

16) B 17) C 18) B 19) C 20) D