Saturday, May 19, 2007

The daily dose of Doublespeak

One aspect of the current administration that constantly amazes me is the skilled and precise manner in which they have perfected Orwellian Doublespeak, and the methods they display of using language to condition the American public. A recent news report of the violence in Iraq underscored this ability and what appears to be our complete disinterest in studying the effects of Doublespeak. Words have indeed changed their meaning under President Bush and it goes beyond the jingoism that has been a component of American politics for many decades.

The use, meaning and variations of the word insurgent is one of the most clear-cut examples I can think of. The words insurgent and insurgency have been overused in frequency and as an all-encompassing description for describing attacks in Iraq and the words have taken on a new meaning. Late this past week a group of more than 50 “insurgents” attacked a US base in Baqouba, a Sunni stronghold, which required US forces to call in reinforcements. Officials state that only six of the attackers were killed.

When you think of the words insurgent and insurgency what do you think they mean? As time has passed and the use of those words has grown to describe attacks and attackers that range from a single sniper or suicide bomber up to a large, organized group of individuals it seems that the White House, Pentagon, CIA and our press have given the words a whole new meaning. The usage has brought to mind a loose and rag-tag group of individuals, with no strategy other than the use of single attacks and death-by-a-thousand-cuts type of approach to their goals. Small and large attacks are lumped together and over time the real meaning of those words has diluted.

Attacks like the one in Baqouba are not rare, they have now become common and this has fallen almost off the consciousness of the American public. We focus more on the IED and suicide bomber attacks than large-scale operations such as the one in Baqouba. The large-scale attacks are a sign of organization, training and intelligence gathering within the Sunni and Shiite factions and a transformation in theater. My belief is that this is the result of work by the CIA and paramilitary groups such as Blackwater, but this is the subject of a future posting. The subject today is Doublespeak.

Support the troops is another gem from the President and the Republican Party. The recent disclosure that the White House is not backing a small increase in pay for members of the military, as well as an increase in benefit pay to the families and survivors of service members is telling. The pay increases that the White House is against would result in an increase of only $7 per week for a typical E-3 enlisted person (Navy Seaman, Air Force Airman 1st Class, Army PFC or Marine Corp LCPL), but that has been shot down by the administration. They believe their current proposal is “sufficient” for the military. With the scandals that have erupted over treatment of wounded veterans, the constant and deliberate gutting of the Department of Veterans Affairs and the absolute disregard for the well being of our military is all the proof you need to see that “Support the troops” is nothing more than a hollow, insincere attempt to illicit Pavlovian style conditioning from the American public.

The insurgents have now formed militias and their skills grow with each day. Our troops are not being supported by the current Presidential administration regardless of what they claim. These are just two examples of the Doublespeak we must sift through on a daily basis in America. Take the time to think about the other examples you can easily find on the evening news and in your local newspaper.

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