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July 13, 2005

Comments

von: you did see the clip of the Fox guy saying that Karl Rove deserves a medal for outing Plame, right?

And I agree with you about 'homicide bombings'. This just might be the funniest example I've seen of someone getting into trouble because of its disingenuousness.

It's not even necessarily disingenuous. . I mean, the bombers are actually commiting homicide.

It's just so absurdly childish. Like they're self-righteously making some kind of important point .

The ludicrosity is sublime.

The first homicide attacks in Europe? Hmmm... You'd have to go back a looong time for that one. Julius Caesar was homicided, wasn't he? (Gaak. It even sounds ugly.)

Julius Caesar was homicided, wasn't he?.

Yeah. I think it was some homicide stabbers. Some of whom eventually became suicide stabbers, more or less.

von: you did see the clip of the Fox guy saying that Karl Rove deserves a medal for outing Plame, right?

Am I right in understanding that this guy is essentially arguing against having a clandestine intelligence service?

oops

Oh, and thanks for posting this, von, that Fox headline is jaw-droppingly stupid.

Go away, silly italics!

Gromit: he says she deserved to be outed because she recommended a peacenik like her husband for the Niger mission.

He also called her 'Little Wifey'. Gag.

Oh, I see it wasn't me. Hmm, see if this works.

Most of the time, when I encounter some wingnuttery (on either side), I can at least understand where it's coming from. In this case, I really don't get it -- in what way does the phrase "suicide bomber" show any kind of sympathy to the terrorist over his victims?

And when the Fox News team gets together for a game of baseball, do you suppose anyone ever tries a "homicide squeeze" play?

Still no dice.

Thanks for the links, Hilzoy. Ted Barlow drives the point home:

John Gibson purports to believe that political operatives deserve medals for exposing covert CIA operatives if their actions could be interpreted as an attempt to influence national policy. But this position is clearly incompatible with having any secret agents at all! Why do we have a CIA if it isn’t to inform and influence policy? Every internal memo, every report, every personnel choice, just about every damn thing the CIA does could be interpreted by some political operative as another filthy attempt to influence policy. If we followed the Gibson Principle, we’d have to publish the internal CIA phonebook tomorrow, starting with Valerie Plame’s bosses who actually made the decision to send Wilson. Why should the buck stop with her?

I hear that in the Fox News cafeteria, they've mandated that the mixture of soda from every tap on the fountain be called a "homicide".

FoxNews should drop "homicide bomber". Dumb, dumb, dumb. "Suicide terrorist" works so much better.

how 'bout TerraBomber ?

"Suicide terrorist" works so much better."

At least CB attempts an alternative. In slight defense of Fox, I remember the monks in Vietnam during the sixties, who, IIRC, were called "self-immolators", in other words, "suicide burners." There should be a phrase that immediately recognizes that our current terrorists' primary or entire purpose is not selfless martyrdom.

Bob, I would say that "suicide bomber" suggests pretty effectively that the perpetrator's intent is not "selfless martyrdom." Bombings, whether effective in their goal of killing people or not, shouldn't really be considered morally neutral acts,* and I think, pace Fox News, that most of us are pretty clear about that. Whether one is to be terrorized or not should perhaps be left up to the reader.

*Unless the bombing involves, you know, rodents or condemned buildings.

I'm not at all clear that "bomber" has ever taken on a neutral connotation. These language games sound an awful lot like those from the '90's, except then the goal seemed to be flattening all the value judgments out of the language, and here the goal seems to be to make them as stark as possible.

I see the long-distance mind-meld between Jackmormon and me is now complete. What number am I thinking of, Jack?

kenB,

In this case, I really don't get it -- in what way does the phrase "suicide bomber" show any kind of sympathy to the terrorist over his victims?

The explanation that I've heard them give on the air, is that they feel that the term "suicide bomber" leaves out the fact that the "suicide bomber" is not merely comitting a suicide by blowing himself up.

Its like secret handshakes or decoder rings -- its language that makes you part of the club.

suicude bomber -- wimp on war on terror

homicide bomber -- a true warrior

Right up there with the canard about police response versus war response regarding terror (since effective counter-terrorism clearly requires huge amounts of what is primarily police work as oppoed to engaging in war).

How many people have committed with explosives without at least intending to take other people with them? And even if Fox wants to pretend there might be some confusion, their alternative terminology should at least make sense.

What number am I thinking of, Jack?

Whether you're conscious of it or not, you are thinking 42.


Yes, yes, let's all gang up on Fox now. Cause, you know, the whole issue of "suicide bomber" vs. "homocide bomber" *is* important.

Poor, poor Fox News. When will they get a break? All they want to do is misinform us. Is that so wrong?

Yes, let's must talk about something important, like cats and how cute they are.

Poor, poor Gromit. So misinformed. All Fox News' fault :((

side,

Sure :)
Here's a photo of my friend's cat that I took last weekend.

http://images9.fotki.com/v189/photos/4/47433/2409603/IMGP2569-vi.jpg

Sidereal: Herearesomekittens.

Here's one in which they use our mascot against us, the cads.

And here is a genuinely cute kitten, who they think has something to do with Ted Barlow.

Stan LS:

the term "suicide bomber" leaves out the fact that the "suicide bomber" is not merely comitting a suicide by blowing himself up.

Well, how many suicide bombers blow themselves up in the middle of an empty field so that they won't harm anyone else? There is no possibility of confusion with the use of the term -- it always implies a vicious homicide.

And how many bombers are not intending to commit a homicide when doing so (yeah -- those occassional crazies who blow up power lines in the desert might qualify)?

Suicide bomber accurately describes a subset of bombers -- those who do so while blowing themselves up in the process. It is the more accurate term.

dmb,

I am just conveying what I've heard. I don't really care about labels.

Stan LS: Poor, poor Gromit. So misinformed. All Fox News' fault :((

Actually don't cry for me, I don't have cable to start with.

Well, you may cry if you like. This means I have to wait for Battlestar Galactica Season 1 to show up on NTSC DVD. My wife tortured me by watching a bit of the Season 2 sneak preview on NBC. I could hear it in the other room and everything -- it was horrible!

Ack! DVD. I refuse to watch movies unless they are in HD :)

I think the answer to Fox's problems is to hire Dan Rather,failing that maybe Eason Jordon will do.

Nice!

We don't have any of our cats, but here are our three rats, one holding the other two.

Nice! What do you feed them? ;)

Stan LS:

I agree. Ultimately its a form of pc that Fox employs when it uses this type of language. It makes no sense but also hardly matters.

I believe Fox picked up the term from Bush. It was after he used it, saying something like "These people aren't suicide bombers, they're more like homocide bombers" or something like that, that Fox started using it.

And (if my memory is correct) it's probably also why they are so adamant about sticking to it, no matter how many people tell them how stupid it is.

Does Fox use "misunderestimated", too?

As dmb pointed out, suicide bombers rarely simply take themselves out of the picture. Similarly, jumpers rarely whip out an automatic weapon and massacre the inevitable crowd before (or while) taking the leap. Hence the wish to distinguish their objective from the objectives of those who simply cannot take life on earth anymore.

That said, "homicide bomber" needs to go in the same dustbin of ill-chosen phrases such as "Department of Homeland Security" begs for.

If Cain had used plastique to do his evil deed would he be termed a "fratricide bomber"?

That one should have gone into the aforementioned dustbin before first use, Jeremy.

Hence the wish to distinguish their objective from the objectives of those who simply cannot take life on earth anymore.

sui-homicide
homisuicide (sounds japanese)

my favorite: homsu bomma

Does Fox use "misunderestimated", too?

Not that I am aware of.

I've not watched the channel in a good while, but for a time they were using "terra" and "nukular" ;)

jes, not that I've heard, but I hear that CNN anchor women have stains on their dresses...

Given that the BBC apparently feels that referring to the vermin who blew themselves and far too many innocents up in London as "terrorists" would be an Icky No-No, I find it rather hard to get worked up over FOX News' fondness for "homicide bomber," though I wouldn't use it if I were running the place. However, any reporter who submitted a story to me that listed the suicide bomber as one of the victims would be fired five minutes later and escorted out of the building by security--with a suggestion that he look to the friends of that "victim" for further employment.

I find it rather hard to get worked up over FOX News' fondness for "homicide bomber,"

I don't think anyone's "worked up" about it, it's just good for a laugh and a fleeting sense of superiority.

Given that the BBC apparently feels that referring to the vermin who blew themselves and far too many innocents up in London as "terrorists" would be an Icky No-No,

Surely, you have a cite for this. And, just out of curiousity, what are they referring to them as? Because a quick glance at the BBC site sees them referred to as "bombers," "suicide bombers," and "extremists," and makes reference to one of them previously being sought by an "anti-terrorist task force," a statement which comes perilously close to rendering your statement a lie. So, tell me, aside from indulging your tendency for falling back to tu quoque when you can't think of anything useful to say, what, exactly and specifically, would the use of the word "terrorist" in print achieve that the other words do not?

However, any reporter who submitted a story to me that listed the suicide bomber as one of the victims . . .

Is this just a counterfactual designed to indulge your secret wish to Stick It To The Lefties, or did this actually happen someplace?


Surely, you have a cite for this.

Sure, why not? I'm in a good mood. Here you go. Of course, they're trying to have it both ways--editing the words out, then claiming that there's no policy against their use--at a time when the British public might well react with intense revulsion to such despicable behavior.

Is this just a counterfactual designed to indulge your secret wish to Stick It To The Lefties, or did this actually happen someplace?

Actually, it's a more general complaint--I've noticed over the years that stories about massacres, whether committed by terrorists or not--often list the dead perpetrators among the toll of victims (IIRC, Colombine was the first time I really noticed this). It doesn't really apply to this case, as far as I know--but anyone who wrote a story that way shouldn't have a job as a journalist. And yes, I would enjoy that particular exercise of power, only regretting that the SOB in question would probably get another job somewhere rather than being reduced to selling his blood for sustenance, as would be more just.

Given that there was (and continues to be?) a real threat of violence in Leeds and other areas against Muslims, don't you think it is better to be safe rather than sorry?

I'm wondering if anyone has a link to the Runnymede Trust report on Islamaphobia that was issued in 1997. I believe it identified the potential problems of disaffected Muslim youth in the UK.

Phil, there's a long discussion (or at least a long list of comments, some of which are discussing) about the BBC's nonuse of the word "terrorism" at Crooked Timber.

You know, I'll take that bait. Is there a difference between a terrorist and a bomber? I would say that you'd have very substantial but not total overlap. When would a bomber not be a terrorist? When his motives are not the creation of terror. It might therefore be literally correct, when the exact motives of the bomber are not known (and the authenticity of the statement claiming responsibility in question) to use a term that purely describes the activity, without adding the guesses about motivation inherent in the other term. Now, if I owned a media company I wouldn't make this choice. Still, it's hardly the apocalypse when one does.

Perhaps martyrs is the most appropriate word. That is their understanding of what they are doing, and using the correct terminology will help people understand their motivations.

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