An Insurgency by Any Other Name

"Our military commanders and political leaders must be careful that in using language to deceive the enemy, to propagandize or to persuade, they do not obscure their own thinking," warns Michael Keane. "Before the coalition's recent attack on enemy forces in Fallouja, the American commander there changed the rules of engagement from 'capture or kill' to 'kill or capture.' ... And there are the changing names for the enemy in Iraq. U.S. military spokesmen first referred to them as 'dead-enders' or 'Baathist holdouts.' When the insurgency turned out to be undeniably widespread and well organized, its members were 'former regime loyalists.' Then, when it was pointed out that 'loyalty' generally has a positive connotation, the term mutated to 'former regime elements.'"