Tuesday, March 07, 2006
A recent article in a European news source identified Osama Bin Laden as “A Saudi Dissident”. The New York Times has called the arch murderer Zarqawi “A Jordanian Fighter”. The BBC, Reuters, a large number of American and European newspapers, and other news services refuse to use the “terrorist” designations for anyone, lest they offend the sensibilities of murderers. London news services refered to the four men identified with the first London bombings as “bombers”. Frankly, this wimpy way of describing killers has put me over the edge. The recent arrest in Iraq of a man who admittedly has beheaded over one hundred helpless captives was profiled as an “insurgent”, by those few news services that bothered to report the story. According to a European wire service, an attack in Gaza was carried out by an Islamic Jihad “Field Operative”.
Language can be a very powerful instrument in shaping thought or opinion. When used properly, language can inspire, inform, educate, comfort and even amuse. However, when used to advance an agenda, language can confuse, mislead, propagandize, obfuscate and disguise outright fabrications. The words we use in communicating ideas, events, observations and information can affect the perceptions of those who read our words. In both North America and Europe, the use of politically correct adjectives and identifiers has often disguised or ignored potentially important information.
That being said, I have been irritated for some time by the use of the words “Insurgency” and “Insurgents”, as well as “Militants” and “Fighters” in describing the horrific actions of those persons the American, Iraqi and Coalition forces are opposing in Iraq. My dictionary defines insurgent as one who is rising in revolt against a political or governmental authority, or a member of a political party in opposition thereof. I don’t think this is accurate in the case of the Iraqi violence against the military, as well as the targeting of Iraqi civilian men, women and especially children. I think some other words can better describe the perpetrators of this violence, based on who they are, and their motivation.
Thugs/Gangsters – Those Iraqis who are committing acts of violence against indiscriminate and often innocent targets for money. A fair number of those involved are simply doing it for profit. They are paid to kill.
Psychopaths/Sociopaths – These are at least some of the bombers, assassins and beheaders. They are involved because they enjoy killing and torturing.
Religious Fanatics – Those committed Jihadists who are driven by their version of religion to kill any Infidel, as well as those Muslims who work with or associate with Infidels.
International Terrorists – Those non-Iraqis who are there to kill in order to advance their own political or social agendas. Their target is not important, only that more chaos is created.
International Criminals – Those who were involved in the former Baath Regime, and are guilty of crimes against humanity. They fear facing the justice that a stable government operating under a rule of law may impose.
I am not aware of anyone killed or captured thus far who meets the less inflammatory definition of Insurgent. Political Correctness has become a disease which is not only infecting the media, but many governmental leaders, who are now using the PC phrases to describe those defective individuals who are killing their fellow humans at an alarming rate. While I use the Iraqi situation as an example, I am aware that this trend to use misleading descriptions of violent acts is not limited to one country, or one event. The inability of the average person in the West to understand fully the nature of the challenges they face is at least partially due to the inaccuracies of media coverage.
I would like to see more accurate descriptions of the people involved in these acts of murder and indiscriminate violence, so that we can better understand both their motivations, and the nature of the enemies we all face. We should demand the media show some courage by calling these people what they are, rather than the sanitized language now in use.
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