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Facing Defeat In War Of Words In Iraq, U. S. Launces Operation Thesaurus
The U. S., admitting is has been losing the war of words in Iraq, has launched a new offensive, dubbed Operation Thesaurus. It is aimed at rooting out the euphemistic resources of the enemy, wherever they may be lurking.
Clearly stung by the aptitude of Iraqi malcontents and foreign interlopers to present themselves as defenders of Iraqi sovereignty and Muslim religiosity, the administration has vowed to turn the linguistic tables on them.
In a hastily arranged press conference, President Bush announced, “I’m launching Operation Thesaurus on the advice of some new advisors, who have a knock-your-socks-off grasp of the obvious.”
He went on to explain, “I now realize that the tricky verbal tactics of ‘these insidious new oppressors of the Iraqi people,’ as my new advisors call them, have allowed them to redefine the American liberation of Iraq as ‘the occupation,’ and to misname coalition forces, not as liberators, but as ‘occupiers.’ This verbal ‘slight of tongue’ is only one instance of how this ruthless enemy has infiltrated the English language.
It pains me to acknowledge that they have somehow managed to permeate the media with their verbal chicanery and occasionally – I admit it – my own speech has been susceptible to the invasion.
But now I get it, and, once I get it, I got it. I now see that the entire American effort, as well as my approval rating – which, as you know, I hardly ever think about – is threatened by these evil word deceptions. As a result, I have ordered the military to retake the verbal high-ground.”
Responding with his usual dutiful clarity, Donald Rumsfeld has vowed to weed out linguistic lapses in the military, even in his own generally guarded vocabulary. He stated, with unaccustomed candor, “I regret to say that widespread linguistic lapses in the military – even some made by yours truly – in verbal security have only served to encourage the euphemistic advantages the enemy seeks to achieve. As part of Operation Thesaurus, I myself will never again refer to these ruthless killers as ‘jihadists’ and to their counterproductive cause as ‘jihad.’ I now know understand that these two seemingly innocent denotations actually confer the legitimacy of recognized nomenclature on their bloody activities.”
He has also vowed to eliminate any use by the military of the word “insurgents,” as well as the oft-employed variant, “the insurgency.” He contends that the suspect terms inadvertently lend these bombers and assassins “a regrettable whiff of inappropriate patriotic zeal.” He concluded by saying, “Here are these blatant malefactors, trying to present themselves as defenders of Iraqi sovereignty and the Muslim religion, when all they want to do is establish a Talibanesque tyranny. Why, to justify their irreligious atrocities, they’ve even misinterpreted a religion that does, to some extent, lend itself to misinterpretation, but whose very name stands for ‘peace.’”
Dick Cheney, attending a convention of amateur quail hunters at a hospital in Wyoming, said, “The secondary thrust of Operation Thesaurus will be to communicate to the Iraqi people and dissenters worldwide that, had not the so-called but, we now realize, misnamed insurgency taken place, they would have by now occupied a peaceful land and be well along the road to a new prosperity. We’ve finally got our act together now and, I promise you, we’re going to use the complete resources of the English language to tell the Iraqi people that their current suffering is due solely to the activities of the thugs who have deceitfully attempted to co-opt the term 'liberators' for themselves.”
He went on to say, “For example, my friends and fellow quail shooters, if the oil pipelines had not been repeatedly blown up, oil would have long ago been flowing freely to the Iraqi people, who now, despite their copious reserves, suffer oil shortages, and it would have been flowing out to the world as the ready source of new wealth the nation desperately needs to rebuild itself. The streets would have been peaceful, permitting everyday social activities and the secure conduct of business. The various factions that make up the society would not be, though the calculated murder of members of their various segments, at virtual civil war. Finally, and most tellingly, the thousands of coalition forces and Iraqi citizens who have died after the fall of Saddam Hussein would still be alive. It is, as the President says, time to ‘retake the verbal high ground.’”
Meanwhile, Mr. Rumsfeld, ever the thoroughgoing manager, has ordered that every member of the military be equipped with a personal, Kevlar-reinforced thesaurus. He has also rummaged through his own oft-referenced synonym finder and suggested acceptable alternates for the usual nomenclature of the war. He states, “They will help bring the enemy to its knees in the decisive war of words.”
We were able to obtain a copy from a staffer who has proved to be an unusually reliable source of leaks. Mr. Rumsfeld’s recommendations are included here merely for reference.
Donald Rumsfeld's suggested synonyms for the word “jihadist”: murderer, killer, slayer, manslayer, man-killer, cutthroat, thug, poisoner, stranger, impaler, assassin, liquidator, gunman, knifer, hired guy, hit man, triggerman, hatchet man, executioner, decapitator, headsman, beheader, lyncher, hangman, garrotter, butcher, slaughterer, ripper, mass killer, mass-slayer, exterminator, annihilator, destroyer, blood-spiller, blood-shedder, and blood-letter.
His suggested synonyms for “jihad”: see above, along with homicide, fratricide, infanticide, patricide, matricide, self-impoverishment, self-annihilation, and plain counterproductive activity.
Rumsfeld’s suggested synonyms for the word “insurgents”: see above, along with villains, knaves, scoundrels, rogues, good-for-nothings, monsters, demons, devils, hellhounds, fiends, rascals, mischief-makers, traitors, conspirators, snakes in the grass, back-stabbers, gangsters, mobsters, desperados, terrorists, thuds, muggers, ruffians, hoodlums, hooligans, felons, larcenists, lawbreakers, transgressors, offenders, culprits, wrongdoers, evildoers, malefactors, and, in religious condemnation, sinners, heretics, schismatics, apostates, renegades, unbelievers, heathens, and, of course, infidels (British variant: bloody infidels).
His suggested synonyms for “the insurgency”: sedition, subversion, treason, riot, civil disorder, mob-law, street-fighting, turmoil, chaos, waywardness, disobedience, insubordination, noncompliance, lawlessness, and inconceivably stupid, self-defeating behavior.
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