Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Wars and Rumors of War

We have begun our attack on Fallujah, delayed until after the election, in case things go wrong (the cynicism of our government is boundless). Accompanied by attacks by the insurgents and the declaration of martial law by the Iraqi government. Wonderful. (Juan Cole of course is following the story.) One thing though - I'm reading the lead paragraph:

U.S. Army and Marine units thrust into the heart of the insurgent stronghold of Fallujah on Tuesday, fighting fierce street battles and conducting house-to-house searches on the second day of a major assault to retake the city from Islamic militants.

Why are the people we are fighting called "Islamic militants"? This is odd - granted, they are Islamic, and they are obviously militants - but is that an innocent combination? Because Al Qaeda, for example, are clearly "Islamic Militants" - their militancy and their religion are inextricably linked. But the Iraqi insurgents are motivated by other things, aren't they? Nationalism or tribalism or their own desire for power or whatever it is - including some degree of Islamic ideoloty... I don't know. Semantics and war are a dangerous combination, but it seems likely that terms like this carry some pretty strong propaganda implications, that I'm not sure I like.

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