Posted: Mar 24, 2011 2:29 PM
Listening to the Obama administration discuss its "Libya policy" (such as it is), one might note the fine distinctions being made: It's not a war, people, it's a "kinetic military action."

The approach mirrors other, earlier euphemisms trotted out; remember, it's not terrorism, it's a "man-caused disaster."  And are we fighting a "war on terror against Islamic radicals"?  Absolutely not!  C'mon, we're just "countering violent extremism."

Put it all together, and what have you got?  Well, America is now engaged in a "kinetic military action" in Libya, hoping -- at the very least -- that it won't have an adverse impact on our efforts to "counter violent extremism" in the cause of avoiding any other "man-caused disasters."

Superficially, the deployment of such windy euphemisms is amusing -- seemingly a stigmata of faculty-room-speak.  But there's an ugly truth underlying it: Euphemisms are most helpful to those who are either incapable of speaking plainly or unwilling to confront the hard facts that plain talking exposes.  

And as any cursory perusal of an academic journal will demonstrate, use of unnecessarily complicated terms is often nothing but a smokescreen for fuzzy, illogical (or non-existent) thinking.  And that's a scary, scary notion to contemplate when Americans' lives are at stake.