Monday, May 16, 2005

Insurgents or jihadists?

Christopher Hitchens makes a long-winded plea at Slate for media outlets to stop calling Iraqi fighters "insurgents."
In my ears, "insurgent" is a bit like "rebel" or even "revolutionary." There's nothing axiomatically pejorative about it, and some passages of history have made it a term of honor. At a minimum, though, it must mean "rising up." These fascists and hirelings are not rising up, they are stamping back down. It's time for respectable outlets to drop the word, to call things by their right names (Baathist or Bin Ladenist or jihadist would all do in this case), and to stop inventing mysteries where none exist.


At 3:55 PM, May 16, 2005, Blogger Phillip Blanchard said...

I am a great admirer of Christopher Hitchens, but he's gone over the side. I agree that "insurgents" is the wrong term but the battle has been lost. More than any other word, "resistance" fits the bill.

At 5:34 PM, May 16, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Resistance?" Like those who worked underground against the Nazis during World War II?

Yeah, THAT will go over well...

At 6:59 PM, May 16, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The problem with all these descriptors is that they imply a motive where none is known.

Half of these bombings could be score-settling by local criminal gangs, for all we know, but every one is attributed to "insurgents" or some other outfit presumably opposed to the U.S. presence in Iraq.


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