As I write, the UK Parliament is debating government proposals to send troops to bomb Syria. There’s a great deal of jargon about, so I thought I might offer a public service by attempting to decode some of it.
Firstly, there are all those words about defence and security. Here are some definitions.
Defence: War and preparations for war
Security: War and preparations for war
Defence spending: Money for war
Defence industry: Arms industry
Security measures: Restrictions on civil liberties
Keeping us safe: Killing people whose relatives will then want to kill us
The national interest: The interests of the UK establishment
There are other words that concern the process of going to war:
Intervention: Military intervention, i.e. going to war
Doing nothing: Doing something that does not involve war
Bombing ISIS: Bombing areas controlled by ISIS, full of innocent civilians
Finally, there are some terms that describe groups of people:
Terrorists: Vicious killers that the UK establishment does not like (e.g. ISIS)
Allies and trading partners: Vicious killers that the UK establishment does like (e.g. Saudi Arabian regime)
Terrorist sympathisers: Those who oppose a proposal that will result in the deaths of innocent people
It’s often said that truth is the first casualty of war. Perhaps language is the second.