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Using pretty words for nasty deeds

Some people “have affairs,” “stretch the truth,” “smack their kid,” and “neuter their pets.” Another way to put that would be some people betray their mates, lie, beat their children and cut off their dog’s testicles.

The difference is a matter of semantics. Certainly “neutering” sounds better than “de-balling,” but I would guess it feels the same.

Our language is full of euphemisms to describe bad things. It is much easier on the ears to hear the words, “My mother passed away” than “Mum is deader than fried chicken.” On the surface there is nothing wrong with using a less-graphic term for a graphic act. I’d much rather hear, “Bob got so scared he soiled himself,” than the alternative.



The danger is, if we continually put a happy face on a harsh action, the action is softened to the point of losing its true character.

Many people feel we should invade Iraq and dispose of Saddam Hussein. My feeling is we should not. I don’t doubt the good intentions of those most adamant on both sides of the issue. I would guess that both hawks and doves have similar hopes, dreams and needs.



I would also concede many on both sides of the debate know infinitely more of the subject and situation than I ever will. So yes, it is possible my opinions are both knee-jerk and naive.

I’m not going to regurgitate the arguments for restraint in the Middle East. There are more than enough opinions well articulated in the editorial pages and letters to editors. And, just as I often turn a deaf ear to the words of those with whom I don’t agree, my arguments likely will produce the same effect. That being the case, I think it would serve both sides to remove semantics from the discussion.

Let’s change “Invade Iraq and dispose of Saddam Hussein” to “Destroy Iraq, murder Saddam Hussein, ravage the landscape and in the process, kill thousands of innocent men, women and children.”

Perhaps even after using those words, many would hold there are still persuasive reasons for a military solution. I will admit that my perspective is clouded by emotion. I am lacking objectivity because to me, war is killing. Is killing sometimes necessary? Yes. Is it necessary in this instance? I would argue, not yet.

It seems that many Americans support war. Are they ready to say they support killing?

Historically speaking, there have been some necessary wars. But I would remind all that “history is written by the victors,” which might cloud the chronicled objectivity.

The truth is that the debate and discussion might be moot. It is my belief that the current administration has its mind made up. Though I applaud those around the world who have spoken out for peace, I believe that these pleas have fallen on deaf ears. I believe the Bush administration means to go to war against Iraq, regardless of opinion or consequences.

I liked it better when the wars were numbered or simply named: World War I, World War II, the Korean War. These were wars that needed no marketing strategy. After Korea, the hostilities needed selling to the public.

The Vietnam War was called a “conflict” and “police action” as if that made the killing and dying less offensive. Now wars come with patriotic verbiage – Desert Shield, Desert Storm, Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Just Cause. How about “Operation Bomb the Bejesus Out of Those Infidels”?

Anything that needs a catchy name to make it easier to swallow is suspect. Take rocky mountain oysters, for instance.

Though I believe with Bush in office that war is inevitable, open debate is healthy, needed and one of the great freedoms of this country.

Many have died, sacrificed and fought in necessary conflicts so that we are afforded that right. So let’s keep the discussion going. But let’s call a spade a spade and war – killing. I’m not sure it would change anything or any opinions, or maybe it might. Because I think we can all agree a pleasant name doesn’t make a bad experience any less painful. Just ask anyone who has been recently neutered S

Jeffrey Bergeron, under the alias of “Biff America” can be seen on RSN television, heard on KYSL and KOA radio, and read in several mountain publications. He lives in Breckenridge.


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