Terms of engagement

In times of turmoil, we all require help in sorting out the nomenclature. To wit, a glossary of important terms and people. Disclosure — some terms that still apply are holdovers from my Afghanistan war glossary:

Al-Jazeera: The Arabic world’s answer to Fox News.

Al Qaeda: Huh?

Al Roker: Network weatherman.

Beers, cold: A remedy for war hysteria.

Beers, Rand: The National Security Council’s top counterterrorism official, who resigned last week. United Press International quoted intelligence sources as saying Beers’ exit “reflects concern that the looming war with Iraq is hurting the fight against terrorism. ‘Hardly a surprise,’ UPI quoted an ex-intelligence official as saying. ‘We have sacrificed a war on terror for a war with Iraq. I don’t blame Randy at all. This just reflects the widespread thought that the war on terror is being set aside for the war with Iraq at the expense of our military and intel resources and the relationships with our allies.’”

bin Laden, Osama: Huh?

Blitzer, Wolf: Still half-canine, half-reindeer.

Brown, John H: A foreign service officer who resigned recently after 22 years, saying, “The president’s disregard for views in other nations, borne out by his neglect of public diplomacy, is giving birth to an anti-American century.”

Cheerleaders: Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, Al-Jazeera. Oh, yeah, and George W. Bush, at Andover. What a wussy-boy.

Collateral damage: Faceless dead people — literally. Headless, legless too.

Democrats: Huh?

Dixie Chicks: An annoying country-pop band whose next big hit should be a remake of Brenda Lee’s “I’m Sorry.”

Coalition of the willing: Afghanistan, Albania, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Colombia, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Georgia, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Mongolia, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Palau, Panama, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Rwanda, Singapore, Slovakia, Solomon Islands, South Korea, Spain, Turkey, Uganda, United Kingdom, United States, Uzbekistan.

Coalition of the willing to be bribed: See above. I sleep much better knowing that Rwanda is with us.

Coalition of the unwilling: Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Austria, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Chile, China, Comoros, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Dominica, Ecuador, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Fiji, Finland, France, Gabon, Gambia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Jamaica, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kiribati, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nauru, Nepal, New Zealand, Niger, Nigeria, North Korea, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Republic of Moldova, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Slovenia, Somalia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Syrian Arab Republic, Tajikistan, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Vietnam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Editorial discretion: When U.S. news channels repeatedly refer to protesters as “anti-war,” while those attending pro-war rallies are not pro-war, but “supporting the troops.”

Elite Republican Guard: William Kristol.

Embedded: Journalists who sleep with soldiers. I actually heard CNN blowhard Walter Rodgers use the term “the dogs of war,” which was completely appropriate, because he was panting.

Fascism: A political philosophy, movement or regime that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition.

Gulf War I: Thirty nations provided troops or military support.

Gulf War II: This time only two nations — Britain and Australia — are committing significant numbers of troops to the U.S.-led effort.

Hussein, Saddam: A man who, if dead, gets around more than Elvis.

France: A nation that in Republicanese now translates to “Freedom.”

Freedom of speech: A casualty at the Oscars ceremony, when Flint’s Michael Moore was cut off during his acceptance speech for Best Documentary, after he blurted: “[W]e live in fictitious times. We live in a time when we have fictitious election results that elect a fictitious president. We live in a time where we have a man sending us to war for fictitious reasons.’’ Is this a great country or what?

Jobs: The United States has lost more than 2 million since last March. That’s the equivalent of putting every man, woman and child in Nebraska out of work. Which would be a shame, because then they couldn’t afford Husker football season tickets.

Kiesling, John Brady: A political officer at the U.S. Embassy in Athens who resigned in February, writing that he no longer believed he was upholding the interests of the American people and the world by supporting President Bush’s policies. “The policies we are now asked to advance are incompatible not only with American values but also with American interests. … Our fervent pursuit of war with Iraq is driving us to squander the international legitimacy that has been America’s most potent weapon of both offense and defense since the days of Woodrow Wilson. We have begun to dismantle the largest and most effective web of international relationships the world has ever known. Our current course will bring instability and danger, not security.”

March Madness: Formerly, a euphemism for the NCAA basketball tournament.

Mesopotamia: What Fox News will probably find when it inspects a chemical weapons plant. See also: Cradle of Civilization.

Moscow Times: A newspaper that commented, “Nowadays, any nation that is not on good terms with the United States should look out: The marines and infantry may be coming.” Silly Rooskies.

Murdoch, Rupert: The most dangerous man on Earth.

One: The number of Congress members who have children in combat. U.S. Sen. Tim Johnson, D-S.D.

Patriotism: The last refuge of scoundrels.

Patriot missile: Oops! Was that a British Tornado jet?

Propagandists: Fox News, MSNBC, CNN, Al-Jazeera. See also: Hermann Göring, who testified during the Nuremberg war crimes trial: “Why of course the people don’t want war ... But after all it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it’s always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship. ... All you have to do is tell them they’re being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger.”

Regime change: An action badly needed in this country. Michael Moore for President!

Resistance: What’s up with that? They’re not supposed to fight back! They were supposed to fold like origami.

Shock and awe: The gratuitous bombardment of often-defenseless targets, primarily intended to get huge ratings for American broadcasters. See also: Weapons of Mass Destruction, Blitzkrieg.

Smart munitions: Bombs that, like, totally aced their SATs.

Turkey: A nation that wants to be just like the United States and invade Iraq. But the United States says that would be wrong.

Wright, Mary A.: The No. 2 official at the U.S. Embassy in Mongolia, who resigned recently. She had spent 15 years in the foreign service and 26 years in the Army and Army Reserves. “I strongly believe that going to war now will make the world more dangerous, not safer,” Wright said in a letter to Secretary of State Colin Powell. “In our press for military action now, we have created deep chasms in the international community and in important international organizations. Our policies have alienated many of our allies and created ill will in much of the world.” She also criticized a “lack of policy on North Korea” and said she disagrees with the administration’s “lack of effort” in resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. She said the United States has “done little” to end the violence and called on the administration to “exert our considerable financial influence” on Israelis and Palestinians alike. “I have served my country for almost 30 years in some of the most isolated and dangerous parts of the world,” concluded Wright, who won a department heroism award in 1997 in Sierra Leone. “I want to continue to serve America. However, I do not believe in the policies of the administration and cannot defend or implement them.”

Xenophobia: An age-old problem that will be eliminated once America bombs the entire world into submission and the entire world starts wearing blue jeans and listening to Eminem.

Jeremy Voas is the editor of Metro Times. E-mail [email protected]
Scroll to read more Metro Detroit News articles


Join Detroit Metro Times Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.