November 29, 2005

When is an insurgency not an insurgency?

When Rummy doesn't like the word, that's when.

Rummy's epiphany

Rummy showing how big his epiphany was.
[Photo: Yuri Gripas/Reuters]

Asked at a Pentagon news conference why he did not think the word insurgency applied to enemy forces in Iraq, [US defense secretary Rumsfeld said he had "an epiphany."

"I've thought about it. And, over the weekend, I thought to myself, you know, that gives them a greater legitimacy than they seem to merit," Rumsfeld said.

Rumsfeld instead referred to the guerrillas in Iraq as "the terrorists" and "the enemies of the government." U.S. military statements also have referred to insurgents as "anti-Iraqi forces."

We don't have the problem with 'insurgency' that Rumsfeld seems to find so vexing. From Merriam-Webster:

in·sur·gen·cy 1 : the quality or state of being insurgent; specifically : a condition of revolt against a government that is less than an organized revolution and that is not recognized as belligerency

No one has, to our knowledge, called what's going on in Iraq a revolution. And the fact that the US won't allow the label 'prisoner of war' to be applied to its captives confirms that Washington [at least] doesn't recognize the armed conflict in Iraq as being a 'legitimate' war. So what's going on in Iraq fits the dictionary description of 'insurgency' quite nicely, we think.

The reason for Rumsfeld's 'epiphany' is obvious in his 'replacement' words — especially in his use of 'the terrorists' instead of 'the insurgents.' Instead of an exercise in using precise language, Rumsfeld's linguistic search is just one more attempt by Washington to equate the war in Iraq with the war on terrorism, and erase the public's conception that there's any difference between the insurgents in Iraq and the terrorists who attacked on 9/11.

Rummy's epiphany would appear to be a rather tired rerun.

Via Reuters.

Posted by Magpie at November 29, 2005 10:25 PM | Propaganda | Technorati links |

I believe you are completely wrong on this on. The term "insurgency" actually gives our puppet government way too much legitimacy than they deserve - the correct term for these guerrillas, would simply be guerrillas or resistance fighters - since they are fighting an occupation, not a legitimate government.

Posted by: Rick at November 30, 2005 08:09 AM, um, er, uh... does this mean we're not at "war" anymore?

Posted by: Darryl Pearce at November 30, 2005 12:50 PM