May 26, 2007

Screwphemisms.

"When you say redploy, you mean withdraw." That's an interesting typo, by Andy McCarthy, over at National Review. "Redploy" ≈ communist plot.

The context:
Senator Obama says: "It is time to end this war so that we can redeploy our forces to focus on the terrorists who attacked us on 9/11 and all those who plan to do us harm."

Senator Obama, are you proposing that we move U.S. troops from Iraq to Afghanistan, where you guys keep saying the "real" War on Terror is?

There is also a very good chance that bin Laden and some al Qaeda hierarchy are in Pakistan. When you say "redeploy," are you suggesting that we invade Pakistan?

Folks, let's not let these guys get away with this. By "redeploy," they don't really mean move the troops to where they say al Qaeda is. They don't want to fight al Qaeda. If they wanted to fight al Qaeda, al Qaeda is in Iraq — that is indisputable. Bin Laden has said repeatedly that Iraq is the central battle. ...

If you really believe al Qaeda is not in Iraq — that the real al Qaeda is only in Afghanistan and its environs — then you're on drugs. But, sure, fine, "redeploy" our troops ... to Afghanistan. But can we please have five seconds of honesty? You guys don't have the slightest intention of doing that. You don't want to go to Afghanistan. You want to go home.

When you say redploy [sic], you mean withdraw.
Quite aside from the Freudian typo -- and isn't it funny that the communist plot reference comes from a guy named McCarthy? -- he's right about this. "Redeploy" is such an obvious euphemism -- like "ethnic cleansing" -- that it has -- or should already have -- lost its power to gloss over what is really being said.

There should be a term for this. Maybe there is, but since I don't know what it is, I'm going to call it a screwphemism. This is a euphemism gone bad. Not only do we see through it and know that you're saying the thing you were hoping to downplay, but we know you were trying to manipulate and deceive. So we know what you're really saying, and we mistrust you for not saying it straight.

38 comments:

Cedarford said...

Wallpapering over the unpleasant word that actually fits the situation. Firing becomes outsourcing, right-sizing, "deciding to spend more quality time with family".

Retreat becomes "redeploy".

Maybe we should have a word for euphemisms that malignantly mask the real thing being done that is too embarassing or evil to say out loud.
Malphemisms??

And yes, none of the anti-war people are talking seriously about "the poor children in uniform about to be saved by their Nannies from Bad 'Ol Mr. Bush" going to Afghanistan. The Dems want a defeat - so they can have the sort of victory they had in America losing in Vietnam - a "significant moral lesson" to show the evil imperialism of America, it's fascist overreach.

Alas, only Pol Pot appreciated it..

You can count on them not sending any to "nation-build" their pet cause of Darfur as surely as they will not invade nuclear Pakistan to get the Moby Dick Binnie they slobber in a deranged manner is the single person behind all Islamic terrorism (which to them, OBL almost as dangerous as the terrible Christians).

Jennifer said...

They actually do use the term "redeploy" to mean coming back from a deployment. Scared the heck out of some of us wives when they started talking "redeployment" the first time around, but apparently that meant coming home.

Sloanasaurus said...

It's an obvious point. If Obama wants to fight Al Qaeda, he should fight them where they are - in Iraq. And we should be thankful that they are in Iraq, because it would be a lot more dfficult to fight them in Afghanistan - the graveyard of armies... where there is no port and the local government has no resources.

Retreat from the enemy when you haven't lost? What kind of strategy is that?

Zeb Quinn said...

"Pro-choice" is a good one.

hdhouse said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
hdhouse said...

are cedarford and sloane the same idiot..sharing a brain...and "abby normal's brain" at that.

SOME al qaeda are in Iraq. GET THAT? Some. Not many. We have no count. It is all a guess and unless you two have been brain dead for 5 years now...a very likely scenario....our intelligence stinks and if we have any idea what is going on, that idiot of idiots in the White House doesn't give a shit about facts anyway.

So there you have it...160,000 troops caught in a civil war of our making trying to find a few insurgents - al qaeda or not....and mostly NOT - while you complete fools, you walking morons, try and put lipstick on this pig.

10:00 AM

Bissage said...

I own it, so when the Democratic Party takes over, I'll get stinking RICH!!!

In the future, there will be no taxes.

But there will be "Patriot Contributions."

Ron said...

I came up with a coinage myself: The accidental jumbling of words in an attempt to deceive -- malapropaganda.

Jacques Cuze said...

"enhanced interrogation techniques" is a fairly decent English translation of the Gestapo euphemism "verschaerfte Vernehmung" which was the code word for torture in the Third Reich. Look it up.

Fen said...

Yes Obama, lets not draw AQ into the sands of Iraq - its much more preferable to fight them in the mountains of Afganistan. Idiot.

Fen said...

McCarthy: They don't want to fight al Qaeda. If they wanted to fight al Qaeda, al Qaeda is in Iraq — that is indisputable. Bin Laden has said repeatedly that Iraq is the central battle.

Thats a good point. Just like with Clinton's intern abuse - Democrats argued for censure instead of impeachment, and would have then argued for a slap on the wrist instead of censure once impeachment was taken off the table.

Likewise in the war terror - Democrats argue to wage war in Afganistan instead of Iraq, and will later argue for "redeployment" to Okinawa instead of Afganistan once Iraq is taken off the table.

Luckyoldson said...

And don't forget "democratize"...when we really mean..."invade and occupy."

SteveR said...

Quoting Jerry,"here we go."

Murtha said South Korea.

The "e" on my keyboard doesn't always work, Andy must have kids.

Doyle said...

we mistrust you for not saying it straight.

How do you feel about the (slow-ramping, permanent) "Surge"? I suppose that's just shrewd marketing.

Doyle said...

Also, Ann, the greater mistrust of Democrats is not that they want to "redeploy" or "retreat" or whatever term you use for getting our guys the f--- out of there.

It's that they haven't done so already! Just remember that next time you use the royal "we", you kook.

David53 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Zeb Quinn said...

And don't forget "democratize"...when we really mean..."invade and occupy."

What we have here is Exhibit "A" for why the Democrat party is out of favor with the normal folks in America, and why they need an influx of 12 million+ uneducated and illiterate illegals to pander to for support.

Jeff said...

screwphemism = NewSpeak = PC euphemism

ShadyCharacter said...

I've discovered a much more enjoyable way of reading these comments. Read every comment, except when you see a "Doyle" or a "hdhouse" either in blue as the poster or in the first sentence of a real comment, simply blur your vision and continue down the page. It's almost like a comment board not overrun with trolls.

If more good people would take this tack instead of beating their heads against the brick wall of trying to reason with the willful ignorance and bile of a cretin like Doyle we could actually have a pretty good comment section here on Althouse again.

Of course you have to blur quite a bit because the Doyles of the world like to cut and paste 500 word entries from other blogs and post 5 posts in a row...

AJD said...

Not only do we see through it and know that you're saying the thing you were hoping to downplay, but we know you were trying to manipulate and deceive. So we know what you're really saying, and we mistrust you for not saying it straight.

Ah, there's already a name for this, professor. It's Althouse.

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

Bush's opinion on this is as follows:

"al Qaeda is going to fight us wherever we are."

In that case, shouldn't we redeploy our troops to someplace like Greenland? Then we won't have to worry about either collateral damage or terrorists finding safe haven among the locals. Just think of the strategic advantage we would have fighting al Qaeda in that environment.

Since Bush assures us that al Qaeda will follow our troops wherever they go, the idea that al Qaeda will stay in Iraq after we leave is obviously wrong.

I wish all of you would pay better attention to the lessons President Bush is learnin' us.

Robert said...

"What we have here is Exhibit "A" for why the Democrat party is out of favor with the normal folks in America..

So 50% of Americans (plus maybe a little change) are "abnormal." Who knew?!

I swear, reading the endless stream of self-congratulatory comments by conservatives on these posts is pushing this centrist Dem even further Left. Hey, can we get a few more railings against socialism or some accusations of appeasement or maybe a dire forewarning of the coming Caliphatate? I need my fix.

Zeb Quinn said...

So 50% of Americans (plus maybe a little change) are "abnormal." Who knew?!

So in your little parallel universe "50% of Americans (plus maybe a little change)" are foursquare onboard the nutroot meme that the US invaded Iraq just so it could occupy it, and not to try to establish a democracy there, eh? Not just "abnormal." A place with tangerine trees, marmalade skies, and lots and lots of thorazine, I'm betting.

Tim said...

The ironies of this, of course, are that the smarter-than-us Democrats (you don't even have to ask them - they can't help but tell you!) can't find the words to mask their real intentions, and that they even have to disguise their intentions in the first place.

It's as if they know plain speaking about their intentions - surrendering the battlefield to an enemy who has not defeated our troops - will get them in trouble - yet they still can't help themselves. It's kind of like Clinton's sham wedding vows.

John Stodder said...

Hey, can we get a few more railings against socialism or some accusations of appeasement or maybe a dire forewarning of the coming Caliphatate?(sic)

This is another good example of a linguistic device that needs a name. The 'centrist Democrat' who left this comment mixes two valid points with an invalid one. Yes, it's tedious and retrograde to hear railings against socialism and appeasement. They are right-wing slurs -- verbal tics from that crowd.

But then he throws onto his list of discredited threats a completely live and current threat, "a dire forewarning of the coming Caliphate."

The return of the Caliphate is nothing less than the objective of our current enemies, you know, the ones who are shooting at us and plotting terrorist acts. It might seem like a ridiculous overreach on their part, but you have to factor in the ruthlessness with which they are pursuing this goal. They'll kill anybody, including themselves, to achieve a world where the infidels (that means us) are either dead or meekly submissive.

Do I think a caliphate will be restored on earth in my lifetime. Unlikely. But do I think they're willing to kill millions in the attempt? Clearly, the answer is yes.

Don't be so quick to equate this threat to "commies under the bed" or other right-wing bugaboos. You look like you're not paying attention.

Finn Kristiansen said...

You cannot wholly dismiss the idea that Al Queda is in Iraq precisely because we are there. They were not there in any significant force before we arrived. So usually when Democrats are referring to focusing the fight on Al Queda, they don't include places where our presence has drawn them. (Though, oddly, they are quite happy with the idea of HUssein and sons in that Iraq had we not acted).

It's not absurd to argue that we need to focus on fighting Al Queda, and not include Iraq in that equation.

As to whether they really want to "redeploy" and fight Al Queda or similar groups in the places they may be based (Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran) remains to be seen. It's like when those on the left mention that Iran and North Korea are greater threats and you stand there looking back at them, eyebrow raised, thinking, "Do you really want to fight that bloodbath of a battle?".

You sort of know it's a red herring and that if Bush were to say, "I am redeploying troops to Afghanistan, invading Iran, and North Korea is on the drawing board" the complaints would continue.

But still, when conservatives say, "Al Queda IS in Iraq" it can be equally annoying, because Queda is there NOW in real numbers after the fact of our invasion, and thrives by our presence.

In any case, redeploying, real or imagined, is not the answer. Training Iraqi forces is the answer. To the extent we can do that, the situation becomes stabilized and we can change our roll (toward reconstruction).

Adrian said...

i don't know. when i hear 'screwphemism,' i think more along the lines of 'studying for finals together, if you know what i mean,' wink, wink, nudge nudge. though that's probably just me.

Torn ligament said...

If more good people would take this tack instead of beating their heads against the brick wall of trying to reason with the willful ignorance and bile of a cretin like Doyle we could actually have a pretty good comment section here on Althouse again.

Bull. Who would you bitch about if the people you call trolls didn't post here. Most of your posts to this blog are to the very people you dismiss with the same bunk every day.

The Althouse comments section has sucked for months now as the interesting people gradually drifted away. When posts are designed to provoke partisan snipes a blog gets old very quickly.

Luckyoldson said...

Look what these "cut and run" bastards are considering now...

The White House is reportedly working on what officials describe as several "concepts" for reducing the number of US combat troops in Iraq by as much as 50 percent next year.

If this goes through, we'll have Al-Qaeda on our doorstep within hours.

*And do you think it'll be by the November elections?

Duh.

Luckyoldson said...

torn ligament describes Doyle as "a cretin"...when what he really means is...

...someone who disagrees with what torn already believes to be so or wants to believe.

Torn ligament said...

'torn ligament describes Doyle as "a cretin"...when what he really means is...'

I did no such thing. Stick to your own lies, no need to drag me into your fantasy.

blake said...

There are, of course, "dysphemism" and "cacophemism" but that's more accurately applied to things that sound worse than they are.

I think the correct term for the false redefinition of words is NewSpeak.

Mike said...

I'm old enough to remember when used cars were called used cars. When I first heard the phrase previously owned my immediate reaction was "they think they're fooling us? They think we're that stupid?" I had deja vu moment when I first heard the term redeploy.

Luckyoldson said...

torn ligamnt...are you saying this isn't YOUR posting...at 3:15??

Torn ligament said...

"If more good people would take this tack instead of beating their heads against the brick wall of trying to reason with the willful ignorance and bile of a cretin like Doyle we could actually have a pretty good comment section here on Althouse again."

Luckyoldson said...

torn,
If you DIDN'T say it...you should probably consider indicating who did?

Ya think...??

Eric said...

Two points:

1. "Redeploy" is annoying just for being jargon, regardless of its euphemistic undertones.

2. The Wikipedia entry for Euphemism is very interesting, and names several terms for "euphemisms gone bad."

It also mentions Stephen Pinker's "Euphemism Treadmill," a process by which euphemisms evolve into taboo words, or "dysphemisms."

Excerpt from the entry:

"For example, the term 'concentration camp,' to describe camps used to house civilian prisoners, was used by the British during the Second Boer War, primarily because it sounded bland and inoffensive. However, after the Third Reich used the expression to describe its death camps, the term gained enormous negative connotation."

When's the last time you heard someone describe another person as "special," and mean it in a nice way?

Fen said...

Robert: So 50% of Americans (plus maybe a little change) are "abnormal." Who knew?!

Percentage of registered Democrats is approx 37%, not 50...

Of that 37%, more than two-thirds believe Bush had advance knowledge of 9-ll [39%] and let it happen on purpose [LIHOP] or aren't sure [26%]. "Abnormal" doesn't begin to describe them.

http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/22_believe_bush_knew_about_9_11_attacks_in_advance

"Democrats in America are evenly divided on the question of whether George W. Bush knew about the 9/11 terrorist attacks in advance. Thirty-five percent (35%) of Democrats believe he did know, 39% say he did not know, and 26% are not sure."

fanofalthouse said...

Are we going to also start using the word "escalation" instead of "surge?"

Anyone looking for broad ignorance on Iraq need look no further than the 65% of Republicans who say Saddam Hussein was connected to 9/11. http://www.zogby.com/News/ReadNews.dbm?ID=1169

Although it is silly to believe that Bush (or his administration) knew 9/11 was coming, it makes more sense to believe than the above, because Bush's administration was and is loaded with PNAC types and they were explicit about what would lead to an Iraq war.