Why grammar is the first casualty of war...
December 19, 2001 3:37 PM   Subscribe

Why grammar is the first casualty of war... "It's hard for abstract nouns to surrender. In fact it's very hard for abstract nouns to do anything at all of their own volition - even trained philologists can't negotiate with them."
posted by campy (4 comments total)
Snippy Brit. His countryman, G. Orwell, noted how war often helps to mangle the language.
Fact is, we in the U.S. and many other nations know that terror cells are alive and well inover 50 countries. To suggest that terrorists exist only in Afghanistan is plain dishonest in order to show the writer's cleverness.
Fact is that our nation and no other nation has till this time been involved in an effort to stamp out terrorist cells wherever they are located. Or, as some one said: the terrorists have no mail address (they are not a country).
Perhaps Mr Peace Writer ought to visit Ground Zero to get a better notion of what is going on.
posted by Postroad at 6:07 PM on December 19, 2001

Terrorism still awaits to be properly defined. As it is now, the definition is miserably arbitrary.
posted by crasspastor at 6:17 PM on December 19, 2001

Jingo bells, Jingo bells.

Postroad..nobody, other than politicians seeking photo ops and celebrities are allowed to visit to ground zero.

Terry Jones actually makes a very valid point. Declaring war on a military strategy was a very dumb idea. Not only is it a poorly defined noun, it is one that can applied to almost anyone. Now the Al Qaida network are an obvious group of nasties and the world is better off without them. Afghanistan may or may not be better off without the Taliban, since the virtues of the Northern Alliance are difficult to discern. Particularly, since they willingly take in entire Taliban militias but that is a different debate..

Who else can be called "terrorists"? Israel had a terrorist wing as a strong part of its founding membership...does the date of the oppression set it apart from the terrorist activities of the Hamas or the Hezzbolah? Is state sponsored oppression & genocide okay and resistance to it bad? Will the U.S. back a crackdown on the Zapatistas in Mexico?

It seems that as the anti-Taliban phase of the campaign is winding down, the non-Western nations of the world all seem to ducking fearfully trying to avoid catching Bush's attention in a twisted game of Pin the Terrorism label on the nation.

So now the U.S. is on a war footing with dim witted politicians calling for a trade off of liberties for imaginary improvement in security against a concept, word, or tactic that can't, in any scenario I can imagine, ever be beaten.

Reality has done George Orwell proud and even one upped him. He at least imagined a war between two sides.
posted by srboisvert at 8:36 PM on December 19, 2001

Postroad said: To suggest that terrorists exist only in Afghanistan is plain dishonest in order to show the writer's cleverness.

In the article, Terry Jones said: But no: the President, Congress, Tony Blair and pretty well the entire House of Commons are convinced that terrorists live in Afghanistan.

Jones wasn't suggesting that terrorists are only in Afghanistan - he was suggesting that this is what the President and the PM and our respective governments (mistakenly) believe.

Postroad, did you actually read the article? You seem to have completely missed what it was about.
posted by RylandDotNet at 9:40 AM on December 20, 2001

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