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Friday, September 14, 2007


Language lessons

A "surge," as in "storm surge," is by definition a temporary phenomenon. Anyone who ever used the term "surge" to describe the escalation of the U.S. military presence in Iraq, which includes not only the Bush Administration but the vast majority of the media as well, is forbidden from using the words "withdrawal" or "reduction of force" to describe what is proposed to happen in Iraq (emphasis on "proposed" because it is no more guaranteed than any of the many other previous predictions about force reductions). I'll accept "the ebbing of the surge" or the "end of the surge."

Al Qaeda, whatever delusions they or the Bush Administration may have, is not "at war" with America, nor did they "attack America" on 9/11 nor is the U.S. fighting in Iraq to prevent them from "attacking America." They committed a terrorist attack in America; that attack was no more a threat to the United States than Hurricane Katrina (actually, it was a lot less of a threat). Even Japan, which was (and is) an actual country with an actual army and navy and air force arguably did not "attack America" in the sense of planning to occupy or seize control of Hawaii (which was a territory at the time), much less the mainland, although they obviously did attack the American military. Al Qaeda and its sympathizers are certainly hoping to commit further terrorist attacks in America or against Americans elsewhere. They are not planning to "attack America."

The other day seven American soldiers were killed in what the U.S. military and the U.S. press insist on describing as a "traffic accident." This is almost certainly not an "accident":

The U.S. command said the accident occurred in the Baghdad suburb of Shula when soldiers from the 1st Infantry Division's 2nd Brigade were in an armored transport truck on their way back from a raid in which they had captured three insurgents suspected of attacks on U.S. and Iraqi soldiers.

"The unit was returning to base after the raid when their vehicle apparently lost control and fell approximately 50 feet from a highway overpass," the military said in a statement.
I'm sorry, the only "accidental" reason you drive off a highway overpass is that you are drunk (not likely in this case) or that your brakes failed (even then, you'd have to be on a curving overpass). Isn't it far more likely that either the truck was driving excessively fast to escape pursuing attackers, or the driver was shot as he was driving, or the truck's steering mechanism was damaged in the firefight which probably accompanied the raid, or some similar "non-accidental" cause? Two things are absolutely certain - none of the seven would be dead had they not been sent to Iraq in the first place, and there wouldn't be any insurgents "suspected of attacks on U.S. soldiers" if there were no U.S. soldiers to attack.

Update: Forgot one - "new." In response to various reporters and anchors I've heard discussing Bush's latest speech, Bush did not present a "new plan" or a "new strategy" or "new tactics" last night - there was nothing "new" about it other than a new catch phrase ("return on success"). The so-called "surge" was arguably a new tactic, and forging alliances with former enemies in al Anbar province was arguably a new strategy. But those "new" things occurred many months ago. Last night was a continued implementation of a strategy already in progress, not anything "new."

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