A Rose by Any Other Name
Secretary Donald Rumsfeld had an “epiphany” over the weekend. He thinks the enemy in Iraq shouldn’t be called “insurgents.” Read the article here.
“This is a group of people who don’t merit the word ‘insurgency,’ I think,” Rumsfeld said at a Pentagon news conference today.
The Wikipedia defines an insurgency as:
“…An organized rebellion that engages in deliberate actions to cause the downfall of a governmental authority, through destruction and armed actions… primarily focuses on armed activities of irregular forces ….”
He also didn’t send out a memo to the rest of his staff.
Gen. Peter Pace, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who stood beside Rumsfeld, found it impossible to describe the fighting in Iraq without twice using the term “insurgent.”
After the word slipped out the first time, Pace looked sheepishly at Rumsfeld and quipped apologetically, “I have to use the word ‘insurgent’ because I can’t think of a better word right now.”
Without missing a beat, Rumsfeld replied with a wide grin: “Enemies of the legitimate Iraqi government. How’s that?”
That hardly fits in a headline.
No matter your political stripe, this sudden edict to change terminology seldom works with the public.
Sometimes it does, like after Katrina when refugees quickly became evacuees after Jesse Jackson and most of the African American population complained, but that was more of a tipping point in public opinion.
This is just the musing of one guy who seems to be talking out loud – a guy that doesn’t have a dictionary.
At least “refugee” critics had the dictionary on their side.