by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Bloomberg.com offers a great headline this morning:
Some critics say the U.S. has shamed itself by not intervening aggressively on behalf of Syria’s rebels and dissidents.
They’re wrong. The Obama administration hasn’t helped to arm the rebels, nor has it created safe havens for persecuted dissidents. But it has done something far more important: It has provided the Syrian opposition with very strong language to describe Assad’s various atrocities.
The administration’s unprecedented verbal and written sorties against the Assad regime have included some of the most powerful adjectives, adjectival intensifiers and adverbs ever aimed at an American foe. This campaign has helped Syrians understand, among other things, that the English language contains many synonyms for “repulsive.”
But Goldberg senses danger ahead.
But a crisis is fast approaching: America’s stockpile of vivid adjectives is being depleted rapidly. Some linguists of the realist camp are now arguing for restraint in the use of condemnatory word combinations. They note that the administration, in its effort to shock and awe the Assad regime with the power of its official statements and the stridency of its State Department briefings, has prematurely stripped bare its thesaurus, leaving the U.S. powerless to come to the symbolic aid of the Syrian people.