by Geov Parrish
April 5, 2003
As in all military actions (can we really call this one-sided massacre a "war?"), government and media advocacy for the planned US invasion of Iraq has introduced a number of confusing new words and phrases, or new usages of existing ones, to the English language. Since many of these are directly opposite of their intuitive meanings, we present here, for your helpful reference, a guide to some of these new linguistic developments. Keep this guide handy by your TV for the next time Bush, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Franks, or any of their minions appear on your screen!
The Dubya War Glossary:
Allies. n. (sing.) Tony Blair.
Collateral damage. obs. The hapless schmucks that happen to be in the way when the US bombs civilian facilities or residential neighborhoods, When they do it to us, it is called "terrorism." No longer commonly used; such deaths are now ignored entirely. Other obsolete words and phrases include "Osama bin Laden," "Afghanistan," "budget surplus," "economy," "environment," "corporate scandals," "education," "civil liberties," "Constitution," "Guantanamo Bay," and "the end of the war."
Democracy. n. The ideal form of a political system--now used interchangeably with the economic system called "capitalism"--in which a handful of wealthy people with occasional minor policy differences take turns enriching their patrons and being elected by a citizenry that is allowed no other choices. E.g.: "We intend to turn Iraq into a democracy, just like the United States."
Deterrent. n. A category of military weapons that include massive nuclear arsenals, space-based nuclear and laser weapons, and chemical and biological weapons research. Only applies when possessed by the United States. See: Weapons of Mass Destruction.
Disarm. vb. To blow to smithereens. E.g.: "Saddam Hussein's destruction of his missiles is an impediment to US plans to disarm Saddam Hussein."
Due process. n. When George Bush decides a "terrorist" gets the process that he is due. See: unlawful combatant; torture.
Embed. vb. To engage in an act of prostitution. E.g.: "Hundreds of US media outlets have elected to cover the war by having their reporters embedded in an American military unit."
Empire. abbr. A shortened form of the phrase "American empire." A state in which 196 countries are eternally grateful, or should be, for being plundered by the 197th. See: democracy.
Homeland. n. That portion of "empire" which got ignored because the "Department of Defense" is no longer used for defending.
Oil. n. Booty.
Old Europe. n. Formerly "allies." A collection of countries too stuck in the mud, or jealous, to welcome "empire." See also: world.
Peace. n. The mythical state achieved when the United States has a complete global monopoly on the use of military force. Not to be confused with "democracy," "freedom," or "justice." See: empire.
The people of Iraq. n. See: Saddam Hussein.
Precision bombing. n. Replaces "smart bombs." What a morally enlightened country like the United States does. Involves using MOABs, daisy cutters, or up to 3,000 cruise missiles to create firestorms that convert oxygen to carbon monoxide and asphyxiate anyone within range of the miles-wide inferno; and then pretending that the resulting fatalities do not exist. See: civilian casualties.
Preemptive attack. n. Replaces "blitzkrieg." Unprovoked invasion of a country that poses no threat, esp. if that country is defenseless and has extensive reserves of oil.
Proof. n. Sales receipts, usually from before or just after the Gulf War. E.g.: "We have extensive proof for the existence of Iraq's biological and chemical weapons."
Reconstruction. n. The lucrative process undertaken during the occupation of an invaded country, involving replacing destroyed buildings, bridges, and utility systems. There is nothing you can do to rebuild the people; fortunately, they never existed. See: Saddam Hussein; civilian casualties.
Regime change. n. Coup d'etat.
Saddam Hussein. n. The nation of Iraq, pop. 24,002,000 (2002 est.); area 172,476 sq. mi. (slightly larger than California), centered on the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers in Southwest Asia, previously known as Persia and Mesopotamia; one of the oldest continuously civilized regions in the world. "Iraq" and "Saddam Hussein" are generally used interchangeably, e.g.: "We're going to bomb the hell out of Saddam Hussein."
Shock and Awe. n. War crime.
Terrorism. adj. What they do.
Terrorist. n. 1) Anybody who dislikes George Bush's policies. See: unlawful combatant. 2) Seymour Hersh.
Torture. n. 1) A form of "due process," inflicted either by the US or its trained employees in less savory Third World dictatorships. See: unlawful combatant. 2) George Bush giving a press conference.
Unlawful combatant. n. Any opponent of George Bush's policies who the US government would prefer to have held indefinitely without trial. See: Constitution, due process, torture.
War On Terror. n. A comprehensive marketing strategy to ensure the reelection of George Bush in 2004, by embroiling the United States in war for decades to come. Replaces these previous campaigns: "Compassionate conservative," "Fiscally responsible," "Education President," "He's really not as dumb as he looks." Precedes "War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength."
Weapons of Mass Destruction. n. What they have. See: deterrent.
World. n. The collection of nations and peoples which thinks George Bush is out of his fucking mind.
Geov Parrish is a Seattle-based columnist and reporter for the Seattle Weekly, In These Times and Eat the State! This article first appeared in Eat The State!