Make love, not kinetic military action

    Our third war is not a war. Not officially, anyway. The Obama White House prefers phrases that should make George Orwell spin in his grave.Perhaps I’m just a stickler for the English language, but when American pilots fly 300 sorties in a foreign land, bombing and strafing a foreign leader’s artillery and armor units, while the off-shore American Navy launches anywhere from 150 to 200 Tomahawk missiles against those same targets…well, that sounds like a war to me.But Obama’s aides deny we are at war. They describe what’s happening in Libya as a “time-limited, scope-limited military action” or “military action limited in both duration and scope” or “limited humanitarian intervention” or “kinetic military action, particularly on the front end.”As the living Orwell lamented 65 years ago, “words and meaning have almost parted company,” and the trend has only gotten worse since. Harry Truman said that Korea was a “police action,” and the two Bush presidents went into Iraq after winning congressional resolutions that mandated “use of military force.” Obama, meanwhile, has his own reasons for eschewing the w word in Libya; while running for president he frequently lamented that “we are fighting two wars,” and he doesn’t want to be blamed for launching a third, which he fears will happen if he brands the Libya war as a war.I happen to question whether a war is not a war if you merely tweak the terminology, but if that’s how the White House wants to play it, well, there are so many ways to euphemize and anaesthetize. In fact, let’s all get into the game, shall we? In future press briefings, the Obama team will undoubtedly want to maximize their talking-point options, regarding synonyms for war. Anyone have any suggestions? Here are mine:circumscribed surgical incursionlimit-scoped conflict prioritizationtime-sensitive armed interactiontime-limited hostility sensitizationkineticized interdictionuse-of-force kineticizationcontingency-precisioned interventionoperationally-militarized contingenizationdefensive assertive operationnecessary-measures interdictionpersonnel-imperiled situationhumanitarian hostilizationscope-limited conflict maximizationmodified limited hangout routeThe last item on the list is actually Richard Nixon’s Orwellian ’73 synonym for his partial confession of Watergate guilt. But since our Libya intervention interdiction incursion could last way longer than the current time-limited scope-limited scenarios, I figure that the White House might want to avail itself of every verbally operative contingency.

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