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Born at the Crest of the Empire

Monday, January 04, 2010

"Us vs Them"

It's funny how we're no longer hearing about "the terrorists" anymore.

This linguistic change represents a pretty fundamental shift in the presentation. "The terrorists" was always an oversimplified misrepresentation.

It was very politically useful for the Bushies as it catered to the ignorance of their base, couching the conflict in the very simplest "us vs. them" terms, but its simplicity also spread misunderstanding of the conflict. (...not that that was unintentional. We wouldn't have invaded Iraq if people had really understood the broader conflict.)

In the Bush war on language, people frequently cite "enhanced interrogation" and the like, but I think the oversimplifying invocation of "the terrorists" may have been their worst linguistic sin as it intentionally fostered ignorance and racism.


  • He tried calling it a crusade at first. That didn't fly. But the point wasn't lost on many muslims.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:07 AM  

  • Yes. The talk is about al Qaeda or the Taliban. Not some vague phantom called 'terrorist'.

    I've also noticed the official message always emphasizes the coordination with local governments rather than as a unilateral American action.

    By Blogger -epm, at 10:06 AM  

  • It was just such an evil ploy.

    And, EPM, that's a good point the way the Obama folks are trying to "spread the blame" for US actions to include the host countries.

    By Blogger mikevotes, at 11:10 AM  

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