Thursday, February 20, 2003

Newspeak of the Week

Responding to the below story (which he brought to my attention), my friend John McKay writes:
Why is it that those who are most eager to put American troops in harm's way characterize it as "supporting our troops"? I think that those of us who are reluctant to get our troops killed for the political advantage of a dim-witted rich kid have the best claim to supporting them. Obviously, I just don't get it.

That is, of course, because this is the latest permutation of Newspeak emanating from the right in recent weeks, especially as protests against Bush's so-far inexplicable war mount and his approval and re-elect numbers plummet:

Supporting our troops means willingly sacrificing them for Our Leader's ego.

And its corollary:

Opposing the war means hoping our troops fail.

As always, the purpose of both these iterations is to render meaningless the basic concept of supporting our troops -- that is, of ensuring that their lives are being spent only when absolutely necessary, under unmistakable circumstances, and for a clearly understood and commonly approved purpose (as was, say, Pearl Harbor). This is the meaning most veterans I know would give it. Without that purpose, we have another Vietnam, at least in terms of what it will do to this country internally.

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