Entries in mini-essays (2)


Language of War

The rhetoric of war is one way that nationalism tries to make support for war equivalent to patriotism.Soldiers are referred to as "serving their country" or "defending our freedom". But at least for the last half century this has not been true. Soldiers have served the foreign policy of various administrations, but invasions of Vietnam, Grenada, Panama,Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and less visible actions in Iran and Columbia have in no way "served our country".

When soldiers are killed they are referred to as "sacrificing their lives". They certainly risked their lives, but only suicide bombers sacrifice their lives. When soldiers die, this is not success but failure: they are there not to die but to kill.

If indeed the Fort Hood shooting was a  deliberate jihadist act, it was an attack on enemy troops, not terrorism. Or are drone attacks on enemy fighters and civilians terrorism? Or is terrorism a question of who does it?


On bipartisanship: Cross the tracks, not the aisle!