Euphemism of the Year 03.24.2003

Well for those that have been living under a rock for about the past week the United States is invading Iraq. I'd say "war" but you'll note the US government has gone out of its way not to call it that. Which leads me into my rant. I'll save you the tiring debate over if we should or should or shouldn't do it. We are.

But what really bugs me about the whole thing is just how terribly disingenuous we are about the whole thing. Ari Fleischer's (the President's press secretary) official comment immediately after the war started was "The opening stages of the disarmament of the Iraqi regime have begun." Most notable is that this wasn't called a war.

Bush follows the same rhetoric in his speech that he gave on TV 15 minutes later. He only uses the word "war" twice and only to refer to Iraq. "On my orders, coalition forces have begun striking selected targets of military importance to undermine Saddam Hussein's ability to wage war." Later in the speech he says, "In this conflict, America faces an enemy who has no regard for conventions of war or rules of morality." I guess calling it a "conflict" is a little better.

So far I've seen the following euphemisms used for this war:

  • Disarmament
  • Conflict
  • Operation (pointed out by Carla)
  • Military Action
  • Liberation
  • Target (MSNBC pretty much just calls it a Target)

And it's not just the word "war" that people seem to be avoiding. We've been avoiding calling it "bombing." Instead it's been called a "Shock & Awe Campaign" or "A-Day."

The primary reason for all this is to make it easy for the Scarlet O'hara's to avoid having an opinion. It just makes the whole thing far more appealing to the public to accept. Not to mention it avoids reminding everyone that Congress has delegated its power to decleare War (which is given exclusively to Congress by the Constitution).

So just so everyone is clear. We are waging war on Iraq. Credit goes to CNN and some of the rest of the media for actually calling it a War.