The Locker Room

Re: Mastering the subleties of language

Posted by Jeff A. Taylor at 12:43 PM

I'm gonna hafta assume that Prof. Lawrence simply misspoke and actually meant infiltrators and not insurgents. (Even though Iraq has had some infils too.)

Otherwise he sounds completely unhinged. Here's that noted mouthpiece of the White House, the Guardian on violence in Iraq:

"Insurgents also fired mortar bombs at a police academy in eastern Baghdad today, but there were no reports of any casualties. ...

... Militants waging an insurgency against Iraq's US-backed interim government have launched many attacks against Iraq's fledgling security forces in a bid to destabilise the country ahead of elections scheduled for January."

Perfectly descriptive of events it seems to me. And this CNN report uses insurgent and quotes a Coalition release which uses the "anti-Iraqi forces" tag that the U.S. military prefers.

Perhaps a thought experiment will clear this up. I could reasonably be termed a dissident in that I dissent from several, OK lots of, policies undertaken by my government. I think the invasion of Iraq was a bad idea and I want the FCC abolished by 12-noon tomorrow, for example.

But I have not taken up arms against the government or seek to overthrow it. I am not an insurgent in the field committing acts of violence against public order.

But were I to do such things, the existing government would be perfectly justified in describing me as representing "anti-American forces" as I would be warring against the established government of the Republic.

Would Prof. Lawrence think otherwise? More to the point, does dissident accurately describe Tim McVeigh?

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