For some fine examples of how language is being manipulated in the War on Terror, try the Cato Institute briefing paper Doublespeak and the War on Terrorism. This 16-page report is very readable, and somewhat disturbing. Read on for some of my favourites…
Royal Navy’s first ever gay sex
According to that ever-reliable journal, The Sun, fitness instructor Sam Connell is the Royal Navy‘s first ever male trainer to be accused of a sexual liaison with a male recruit. That’s right, the very first. Ever.
Now it just so happens that Mr Connell is a finalist in Mr Gay UK. And while the prize money is only Â£5000, it strikes me that having his photo in The Sun won’t harm his post-RN career path. A hunky “I was a sailor” fitness instructor should do quite nicely.
And thank you to Richard Watts for keeping his eye on the tabloids. It’s a tough job, but someone’s got to do it.
The Compulsory 9/11 Post
Until now I’ve avoided adding to the 11 September outpourings. It’s important, yes, but it takes time to reflect. And I don’t really remember it anyway. Garth Kidd‘s phone call woke me. A plane had crashed into the World Trade Centre, he said. I told him it wasn’t my fault, I couldn’t do anything about it â€” and went back to sleep.
Five years on, I’m not mourning. I didn’t know anyone there. There’s only subdued anger. I’m angry that the deaths of 2749 human beings (plus 19 terrorists) have since been used for questionable political ends. Angry that Australia seems to have gone along with everything that’s come out of it, like a faithful little lap-dog. (However even the most cowardly little lap-dog will bark when he’s asked to do something wrong.) And angry that America’s worst ever terrorist attack has such a stupid name.
The Red Cross Ambulance Incident
On 23 July 2006, an Israeli aircraft intentionally fired missiles at two Lebanese Red Cross ambulances performing rescue operations, injuring everyone inside. So says the global media, including Time magazine, The Guardian, the New York Times and outlets around the world including The Age.
The incident would have been an indefensible violation of the Geneva Convention, and would constitute a war crime committed by Israel. But it never happened.