The great thing about getting older is you tend to say what is on your mind without worrying about what others think. So, here is a little of what is on my mind, or at least what is left of it.

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Sunday, June 26, 2005

Insurgent vs. Freedom Fighter

Karl Rove and company are very good at coming up with catch phrases that belie the truth and make it easy to deceive. One of their best is the use of the world insurgent. Now the more straight forward term would be rebel or revolutionary, which is in fact what an "insurgent" is.

This country was founded by revolutionaries, as in the Revolutionary War, and these were people who lived in America and were fighting to throw of the yoke of an oppressive superpower, namely Great Britain. However, by using the word "insurgent" it is much easier to give the impression of an outside force that is fighting against the true will of the people, which is exactly what this administration wants.

They have tried, very successfully I might add, to twist the image of the fighting in Iraq as fighting against foreign fighters, most specifically Al Qaeda. In truth, our troops are caught an Iraqi conflict between the Sunni and Shia factions, and including a good number of Iraqis of either faction that just want us out. Are their foreign fighters in Iraq? Yes, but they are in the minority and even those that identify themselves as Al Qaeda allied themselves with that group after the invasion.

I wonder if the American people would view this conflict differently if instead of calling the people fighting against the United States "insurgents" we were to call them Freedom Fighters instead? Iraqi "freedom fighters" attacked an American outpost yesterday killing ten members of the American occupying force. Sounds a lot different, doesn't it, and if I am not mistaken, that is exactly how we portrayed Osama Bin Laden when he was fighting against the Russians. A lot turns on a few well chosen words.


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