Sidelined by Semantics

Another post about the wacky and infuriating world of US politics.

First Barack Obama, then John McCain get themselves into hot water because they use the term "wasted" to characterize the deaths of soldiers in Iraq. Then the retraction - they meant to use the term "sacrificed" instead.

Let's look at the definitions:
  • Waste: to consume, spend, or employ without adequate return
  • Sacrifice:the surrender or destruction of something prized or desirable for the sake of something considered as having a higher or more pressing claim
So which term you use should have more to do with your opinion of the war, not whether or not the term has a negative connotation.

The worst part of the semantic sparring is that it distracts us from having a discussion about the things that matter - what we are doing there, what we should do next, etc. You can spend tons of time arguing about "waste" vs. "sacrifice" or "civil war" vs. "sectarian violence", but nothing is getting done in the meantime.


[Listening to: "L' Incertitude d'Heisenberg" by Télépopmusik]

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