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…
Suicide attempts by prisoners are now “self-injurious behaviour incidents”:
When three men hanged themselves in their cells [at Guantanamo Bay], the camp commander, Rear Admiral Harry Harris, went so far as to say that the suicides were â€œan act of asymmetrical warfareâ€ against the American military.
Yes, that’s right. A prisoner killing himself is an attack on America.
And prisoners held in military jails shouldn’t have access to the courts because:
According to Bushâ€™s lawyers, the courts should not â€œsecond-guessâ€ the presidentâ€™s â€œbattlefieldâ€ decisions… But when the government attorneys were pressed about their definition of the term â€œbattlefield,â€ they said they considered the entire world to be the battlefield, including every inch of US territory… That is a profoundly disturbing claim because there are no legal rights whatsoever on the battlefield. Military commanders simply exercise raw power.
Thanks to Bruce Schneier for the pointer.