Claude Cartaginese

If You’re Afraid to Name Your Enemy, How Can You Fight Him?

Posted on September 2 2009 1:20 am
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Don’t you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? In the end we shall make thought crime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it.George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four

It all started earlier this year, when the Director of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, told a German Magazine during an interview:

I presume there is always a threat from terrorism. In my speech, although I did not use the word ‘terrorism,’ I referred to ‘man-caused’ disasters. That is perhaps only a nuance, but it demonstrates that we want to move away from the politics of fear toward a policy of being prepared for all risks that can occur.

Next, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton joined the fray. After some initial confusion caused by Napolitano’s interview, Clinton set the record straight by announcing that the administration of President Barack Obama would no longer be talking about a “War on Terror”:

I haven’t gotten any directive about using it or not using it. It’s just not being used, the administration has stopped using the phrase and I think that speaks for itself.

Thus, in an effort to rhetorically distance itself from former President George Bush (who had coined the “global war on terror” phrase after the September 11th attacks), the Obama administration made it clear that the appellations “terrorism” and “war on terror” were officially dead. In their place were substituted weird Orwellian Newspeak-type terms such as “overseas contingency operation” and the afore-mentioned “man-caused disaster.”  Linking “Islam” and “terrorism” in the same sentence seemed to rise to the level of thought crime.

A funny thing happened, however. The terrorists never got the memo.

They just went on doing what terrorists do. So, while the Obama administration was focused on semantics, those bent on our destruction went right on building bombs and attacking innocents.

And now, according to a Fox News report, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, while assailing Bush during a news conference for having “under-resourced Afghanistan for the better part of a decade,” declared Afghanistan to be “the most important part of our war on terror.” Oops.

OK, he said it.

Can we now go back to speaking Standard English and fighting terrorism?

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