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December 31, 2003


Couldn't agree more.

"Please, friends, it's thinking like this that gets us nonsense like 'freedom fries' and 'freedom wine....'"

I just pointed out to Matt Welch the other day that he was visiting the country of Freedom during the holidays. Mmm, Freedom cheese and Freedom wine! Those Freedom folk sure do make some great food.

Seems like I'd heard this one on Fox in reference to a bombing in the occupied territories last summer or fall. Must not have caught then, so they're trying it again now.

Not sure which one is quicker to make me lapse into involuntary eye-rolling: "homicide bombers" or Bush's "suiciders."

I suppose at least Fox News isn't trying to make up new words...

I always thought the horror of the term "suicide bomber" was that the bomber was violating two societal taboos at once -- taking his own life and taking the lives of others. Has that horror diminished?

Yes. Thanks. Ugh.

I agree on "homicide bomber." I can't tell from that term if the bomber killed himself, or if I have to worry about him coming back to "homicide bomb" again.

The word "homicide" doesn't make the act sound any more vile. In fact, a homicide is not necessarily a crime at all. Homicide is the taking of a human life, which can happen in self-defense, in war, in capital punishment, accidentally, and criminally, too.

I've got issues with the whole thing. Heck, I've got issues with the word "issues."

A suicide bombing, by comparison, is a bombing in which the perpetrator commits the additional sin of killing him- or herself.

"Additional sin?" That's not a bug -- it's a feature! Would that all murderers would kill themselves in the act as well.


The wrinkle about suicide bombers is that since they've already decided to destroy themselves, the fact that there is a latent threat by the police or military or whatever to kill you if you try to blow someone up no longer holds any deterring influence.

Well, I suppose there's something to be said for a term that points out that a crime that usually ends the lives of one or more innocent people also does a public service by removing a useless waste of protoplasm from the gene pool; however, there might also be something to be said for denying said waste any recognition for their despicable and cowardly act. YMMV.

"Additional sin?"

Yes, it is still a sin to kill oneself. The thinking behind it being that only God can give and take life.

however, there might also be something to be said for denying said waste any recognition for their despicable and cowardly act.

I don't know how you give the "waste" recognition by noting that he or she died in the attack. That's being accurate, not laudatory.

Not sure how describe it, but the bombing at the Iraqi restaurant should include the words suicide, terrorist, attack, bombing (STAB). Or maybe Suicide Terrorist Attack By Bombing (STABB). If soldiers are specifically targeted, then maybe it's Suicide Guerilla Attack by Bombing (SGABB).

The thing is, people know exactly what you mean when you say "suicide bombing." They don't think it's an act of protest where no innocents were harmed, like a hunger strike or Jan Palach or something; they know it's quite the opposite. It's a commonly accepted, relatively neutral way of conveying useful information. You could find fault with it, but you could find fault with most political terms.

"Homicide bombing" is a misguided use of language to make a political point, which obscures more than it illuminates.

You can always disagree with the names we give things. IIRC some of our leading Holocaust scholars aren't so crazy about calling it the "Holocaust"--I think it was Elie Wiesel who preferred "Shoah". And I have a personal pet peeve about referring to the former World Trade Center as "Ground Zero" and to "nine eleven" rather than "September eleventh" and I don't do it myself. But those are the words the world has given it and at a certain point it's better to accept that than argue over it.

Totally with you on the entire post, von. Good stuff. Especially: "regardless of your political views, Iraq has become a battle that we cannot afford to lose".

Or maybe a whole other set of words, like orcs and urukai.

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