Anodyne Language?

Look it up in:

April 15, 2016
A Dictionary of Euphemisms for Imperial Decline

by William Astore


Collateral damage

Boots on the ground

Global War on Terror


This is what it says in the blog about the dishonesty of words:

“To what end this concerted assault on the words we use? In George Orwell’s classic 1946 essay “Politics and the English Language,” he noted that his era’s equivalents for “collateral damage” were “needed if one wants to name things without calling up mental pictures of them.” Obviously, not much has changed in the intervening seven decades. And this is, as Orwell intuited, a dangerous way to go. Cloaking violent, even murderous actions in anodyne language might help a few doubting functionaries sleep easier at night, but it should make the rest of us profoundly uneasy.”

” . . . .  the U.S. must be prepared for underhanded tactics and devious weaponry, including ambushes and IEDs (improvised explosive devices, or roadside bombs), as well as a range of other “unconventional” tactics now all too familiar in a world plagued by violent attacks against “soft” targets (aka civilians). . . . ”

” . . . .  The “gray zone” is a fuzzy term used in military circles to describe the perplexing nature of lower-level conflicts, often involving non-state actors, that don’t qualify as full-fledged wars. . . .   the Pentagon’s funding goes to conventional weaponry that’s as subtle as a sledgehammer: big-ticket items like aircraft carriers, nuclear submarines, main battle tanks, strategic bombers, and wildly expensive multi-role aircraft such as the F-35 (now estimated to cost roughly $1.4 trillion through its life cycle). Much of this weaponry is “too big to fail” in the funding wars in Washington, but regularly fails in the field precisely because it’s too big to be used effectively against the latest crop of evasive enemies. Hence, that irresolvable gray zone which plagues America’s defense planners and operatives.”

COIN (Counterinsurgency)

4GW (Fourth-Generation Warfare)


” . . .  .  the proliferation of “surgical strikes” by drones and similarly “surgical” Special Ops raids, both of which you could think of as America’s equivalent of white blood cells in its war on the cancer of terrorism. . . . ”

” . . . .  the proliferation of U.S. military bases around the world (there are now roughly 800), as well as of drone strikes, Special Ops raids, and massive weapons exports might have a cancerous look to them. In other words, what constitutes a “cancer” depends on one’s perspective — and perhaps one’s definition of world “health,” too.”


“enemy noncombatant,” “no-fly zone” (or even worse, “safe zone”), and “surgical strike”




2 thoughts on “Anodyne Language?

  1. Danke liebe Ute auch einen schönen Sonntag für dich ja Terror und Krieg ist schlimm man weiß nicht was daraus alles entsteht.Ich Grüße dich noch lieb von mir Umarmung und Gesundheit Gruß Gislinde

    1. Ja, in diesem Global War on Terror können auch Zivilisten angegriffen werden. Das nennen sie dann “soft targets”.
      Liebe Grüsse zurück, liebe Gislinde. Ich hoffe es geht dir gut. Love Uta 🙂

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