When does Iraq's "sectarian violence" become "civil war"? When is it just--as the White House likes to say--"a new phase"?
Slate.com blog reporter Christopher Beam reports on this war of words being conducted in the mainstream media and the blogosphere. Some of it is decidedly uncivil, like this snipe by Boston Herald columnist and conservative blogger Jules Crittenden, who, Beam says, "calls the announcement 'essentially meaningless. Like pointing out that the war in Iraq has now lasted longer than World War II. Like making headlines out of the war dead in increments of 500.' He also digs in to the motives behind the phrase: "NBC's unilateral declaration of Iraq as a civil war follows … is intended to support the idea that we don't belong there."
Meanwhile, Beam says, The Huffington Post has a clip from The Daily Show in which Jon Stewart and John Oliver offer alternatives such as "faith-based melee" and "internal sovereignty challenge."
And over at The Borowitz Report, comedian Andy Borowitz delivers a "Euphemism Shocker":
President George W. Bush said today that he would not allow a civil war in Iraq to erupt on his watch, and said that in order to prevent that from happening the United States would aggressively search for new synonyms for the phrase "civil war."
In order to seek out the most sanitized alternatives to that phrase, the president announced that he was launching an ambitious new mission called Operation Noble Euphemism.
Borowitz deadpans that White House spokesman Tony Snow announced that "the United States is committed to finding a lasting euphemism for civil war in Iraq."
And he adds: "Mr. Snow refused to say which if any euphemisms were under consideration, but did say that the White House had already ruled out 'Shiitepalooza."
Hey, nameigos--let's enlist. I'll ante up with:
Differently Abled Peace
A Bit of a Row
More euphemism follies at Slate: Deadline for the latest contest is tomorrow, Nov. 30. The subject this month is what Shakespeare called "making the beast with two backs." In other words, make love, not war. In a manner of speaking.