Monday, August 21, 2006

It's only words: Cut out the "Cut and run".

Words can be pesky little things. They can express love, hate, and anything in-between. A single word can cause, in certain circumstances, death, or worse. And words can tell a story, not just in the presence of a narrative, but by their very use.

From Kevin Drum, I found this piece by Spencer Ackerman at TNR:
I spent the last week in Dearborn, Michigan, home of the largest and oldest Muslim community in the United States, and I have a news flash: President Bush's recent formulation of the enemy in the war on terrorism as "Islamic Fascism," or, as it's more often known, "Islamofascism," is extremely offensive here.

"Islamofascism" merely strokes an erogenous zone of the right wing, which gains pleasure from a juvenile reductio ad Hitlerum with the enemies of the U.S.

And Kevin has some advice for GWBush:
. . . you should probably avoid any phrase that's used primarily in the fever swamps of the hawkish blogosphere. Following their lead will merely dig you into an even deeper hole than you've already dug all by yourself.

I'd like to add to this, and ban another word, well, phrase: Cut and run.

As Wikipedia says:
Cut and Run is also a phrase used by politicians to describe a total withdrawl from a war. The phrase is mainly used by politicians who support a certain war. Cut and Run has most notably been used to refer the total withdrawl of American soldiers from Iraq.

No kidding. No one serious about a non-partisan solution to the crisis that is Iraq will use that phrase. It is not an accurate description of any position by any responsible Progressive or Democrat.

Rather it is a pejorative, designed to create an emotional response, to accuse someone who never expressed the idea (Straw Man, table for one?) of being a craven coward, disloyal. It is the modern political equal of "Have you stopped beating your wife yet?" It is used by thugs, or right-wing partisan pundits, or the simply ignorant. It is the phrase of Karl Rove, Ken Mehlman, Bay Buchanan, Rush Limbaugh, and GWBush.

When confronted with the phrase, you may correct the speaker if you have the time, ignore it as if not heard, or simply shake your head and say "There you go again." But to respond to it as if it was a legitimate idea is enabling the opposition, and a victory for malicious framing.

Just say no to "Cut and run".

3 comments:

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