Saturday, October 01, 2005

Words Matter

On July 7th, after the bombings in London, I wrote the following:
After today, I expect that any vestigial use of the word "insurgents" regarding Iraq will be completely phased out in favor of "terrorists." That process was well underway already, and today's events will hasten it. And with that you can count on perpetual mission creep and an ever-diminishing focus and understanding of who, what and why we are fighting---and our loss of blood and treasure in Iraq will reflect this.
President Bush, tragically, has not disappointed me. In his weekly radio address today about Iraq, here's the word count:

Use of the word "terrorists": 21

Use of the word "insurgents": 1

Read it here. Then ask yourself when centuries of religious and ethnic conflict in Iraq will end, and when our occupation will no longer face a resistance---sorry, "terrorists"---and you'll know when the troops will begin to come home.

30 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

TCR,
Check out
http://www.tpmcafe.com/story/2005/9/30/1572/17788

Oddly, this post has no comments, but I think the author's idea could be spot on, at least in terms of explaining how the administration views the Iraq war.
In brief, he argues that the goal of the Iraq war was to get Al Qaeda to fight muslims rather than Westerners, and in this they have succeeded brilliantly.
Now, I think this is horrible strategy, but it does make sense.

Any comments?

10/01/2005 6:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Iraq was always about oil and payback because Saddam caused bushies daddy to loose his reelection.
Bush does not give a damm about democracy, freedom or the Iraqis. He does care only about money, money and more money.
I will bet you that as long as Bushie is pres. the army will be in Iraq, unless the Congress grows a backbone, which is as likely as no more hurricanes hitting the usa in the next 10 years.

10/01/2005 7:36 PM  
Blogger George said...

Anonymous said: Check out
http://www.tpmcafe.com/story/2005/9/30/1572/17788

[...] In brief, he argues that the goal of the Iraq war was to get Al Qaeda to fight muslims rather than Westerners, and in this they have succeeded brilliantly.
Now, I think this is horrible strategy, but it does make sense.

Any comments?

I agree that it is a horrible strategy. However, I think it's nonsense. There are two general categories of combatants in Iraq: 1)Insurgents (roughly 90% Iraqis) hitting Americans. 2)Sunnis hitting Shiites (and vice versa). Where does al Qaida even fit in here? Take away the insurgency and the civil war, and I don't think much is left. The other evidence that it is wrong is that it requires the gang that couldn't shoot straight to have come up with and executed a "brilliant plan". There were much easier ways to deal with al Qaida.

10/01/2005 9:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

George,
I'm the one who posted the TPM story.
You are right in pointing out the hole in this scenario, which is that it's not clear how much Al Qaeda is operating in Iraq in the first place, or that they are necessary for the conflict there (clearly not).
However, I don't think it's so outlandish that the neocons wanted to create a situation where Muslims are fighting Muslims as a distraction from attacking the US. Again, I'm not endorsing such strategy.
It IS analagous to what happened in the 1980's, however, with the US arming both sides of the Iran-Iraq war, with a goal of making the conflict last as long as possible without either side winning.

10/02/2005 12:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

words matter all right. the more they are heard or used, the more little pathways in the brain are formed. like seeing the ones you want to destroy in a trumped up war as less than human and thus ok to torture.

or like "and the world is safer...!"

they have emotional impact and leave tracks in the psyche and soul. most folks are so lazy they don't bother to look at the words they use of the ones used on them. they don't botther use these tools to discern what is hidden in the meanings set out in the air.

you can tell alot by what a person says or does. the nation was fed a line and swallowed it whole because they were told that they had the right to anger and retribution.

sad really, how easy it is to see, and to hear, and yet so hard to show the willfully base and blind they are being used.

folks supposedly wanted this idiot for a leader. enjoy.

feral

10/02/2005 1:09 AM  
Blogger RonL said...

Welcome to spin. People always use words that benifit their arguement.

Of course, you know that there are mutiple groups fighting in Iraq.
There are Ba'athist insurgents, who are supported by Syria.
There are Shi'ite Islamist who seak to conquer the country (or at least tie the US down until their paymasters in Tehran go nuclear).
There are indigenous Sunni Islamist insurgents, supported by foreigners from the Al Qaeda and Gamat Al-Islamya networks.

At times, all of these groups commit terrorist attacks by targetting civilians.
Merely citing "insurgents" is to commit propoganda just as those claiming the fight is against "terrorists" are.

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